Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Don't believe the polls, v2.0

Stolen Thunder is a must-read for anyone who wants to actually understand what the heck is going on with the polls. It's no surprise that the MSM scorecard is (ahem) pretty weak tea:
Says Gallup; “Early voting ranges from 14% of voters 55 and older (in aggregated data from Friday through Wednesday) to 5% of those under age 35. Plus, another 22% of voters aged 55 and up say they plan to vote early, meaning that by Election Day, over a third of voters in this older age group may already have cast their ballots.”

The last two statements are very good news for McCain and bad news for Obama. This is because it demonstrates that enthusiasm to actually vote by republicans is equal to enthusiasm to vote by democrats. This runs directly against claims made in polling up to now, demonstrating that participation in polls is not directly related to voting this year. Second, the higher participation by senior voters and weaker participation by younger voters is directly in line with historical norms, again running against the poll expectations that this year would see a wave of young people voting but seniors staying at home.
I've said before that I flat out don't believe the polls, because the numbers look funny when you look at them. There seem to be some assumptions that run completely counter to historical norms. We're now seeing actual results (early voting) that suggests that the historical norms are right, and the new weightings are wrong.

Watch the polls over the weekend - you very well may see a "surge" for McCain as the pollsters realize that their current trajectory would be a Truman-Dewey scale miss, and correct their internals.

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