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Polling disasters: Who is really going to win the US election (Part 3)

by Frank Schnittger Tue Jan 8th, 2008 at 10:17:48 PM EST

To a European observer the most striking thing about the US party nominee elections is how volatile they are.  In many European elections a 5% swing is regarded as very significant when it takes place over the course of an entire campaign and opinion polls are often accurate to well within their stated +- 3% points  margin of error.  In the US elections, however, opinion polls published on the same day by different companies can often differ by much more than this.

In the New Hampshire primary the final polls looked like this:

RealClearPolitics - Election 2008

New Hampshire Democratic Primary
Tuesday, January 8 | Delegates at Stake: 22
PollDateSampleObamaClintonEdwardsRichardsonSpread
RCP
Average
01/05
to
01/07
-38.330.018.35.7Obama
+8.3
Suffolk/
WHDH
01/06
-
01/07
500 LV3934154Obama
+5.0
American
Research
Group
01/06
-
01/07
600 LV4031204Obama
+9.0
Reuters/
C-Span/
Zogby
01/05
-
01/07
862 LV4229175Obama
+13.0
Rasmus-
sen
01/05
-
01/07
1774 LV3730198Obama
+7.0
CNN/
WMUR/
UNH
01/05
-
01/06
599 LV3930167Obama
+9.0
Marist01/05
-
01/06
636 LV3628227Obama
+8.0
CBS News01/05
-
01/06
323 LV3528195Obama
+7.0
See More New Hampshire Democratic Primary Polls | Chart


To help overcome the variation between polls I have been using the average of all available polls but even that didn't seem to reduce the margin of error.

Iowa         Final Actual          New Hampshire
                 Polls Result         Polls     Result (with 96% [UPDATE} of precincts reporting)
Clinton           29    29            30       39
Obama           31    38            38       36
Edwards         26    30            18       17
Biden               5     1
Richardson        5      2             6       5
--
Huckabee       30    34            12       11
Romney          27    25            28       32
Thompson       12    13              2       1
McCain           12    13            32      37
Paul                7     10             8        8
Guilliani            6      4              9       9

In Iowa both the Obama, Edwards and Huckabee results were significantly outside the alleged 3% margin of error for a single poll, never mind the average of a whole number of them.  In New Hampshire the Clinton and McCain surges were entirely unanticipated.

Pollsters will often try to explain this away by saying that any poll is only a snapshot of opinion on a given day and that a lot can change in 24 hours.  If that is the case, why bother polling at all?  It is hard to escape the conclusion that the polls are not really about trying to predict outcomes at all. They are there too try and influence the outcome, and to give the media something quasi scientific to talk about.

The other major factor influencing voter is of course the bandwagon or bounce effect.  The Iowa result had a major impact on voter perceptions in New Hampshire and resulted in a Clinton lead of 7% in the polls prior to Iowa being turned into an Obama lead of up to 13% in polls taken after the Iowa result.

Even here the polls asking ET readers to predict the next POTUS changed dramatically after the Iowa result.

                Before  Before
                 Iowa    New Hampshire

Clinton       47%        22%
Obama       11%        48%
Edwards     29%        7%
Giulliani         0%        3%
Huckabee     5%        14%
Romney        5%        0%
McCain        0%        3%
. n=            17          27

Oh what a fickle bunch you are!

I said in my first Diary on European Tribune - Who is really going to win the US Election?

CONCLUSION: Its early days and all to play for, but my money (based on looking at the trends to date) is on a Clinton Huckabee contest with Clinton winning by a narrow majority.  It's a bit like trying to predict the future by looking in the rear view mirror and we all know that big money and powerful vested interests are in the driving seat.

I made that very early and tentative prediction not because I was confident of calling the Iowa and New Hampshire results, but because Clinton had a 20% lead nationally which gave her a lot of downside resilience in the event of some early setbacks.   That 20% lead in the National Polls went down to 8% after Iowa, so it was clear that another defeat in New Hampshire could have erased it altogether.

Obama and Edwards needed to to win in either Iowa or New Hampshire to have a chance, which Obama duly did in Iowa in very impressive fashion.  Edwards is in now deep trouble and South Carolina is his last chance.

Giulliani's 3% lead in the national polls has evaporated and he is now behind both Huckabee and McCain by 3 and 2% respectively even before the New Hampshire vote.  Huckabee and McCain needed to win either Iowa or New Hampshire, and having done so they will now move significantly ahead.  Romney and Giulliani now badly need to win in Michigan and Nevada to stay in the race.  

I don't want to give people here the heebee jeebees as we say in Ireland, but the national head to head polls indicate that a Clinton McCain national contest is the one combination of candidates that the Republicans would actually win! OK Class, one more time...

Poll
My PREDICTION, (not my preference) for the POTUS is:
. Clinton 57%
. Obama 21%
. Edwards 7%
. Giulliani 0%
. Huckabee 14%
. Romney 0%
. McCain 0%
. None of the above 0%

Votes: 14
Results | Other Polls
Display:
European Tribune - Comments - Polling disasters: Who is really doing to win the US election (Part 3)
I don't want to give people here the heebee jeebees as we say in Ireland, but the national head to head polls indicate that a Clinton McCain national contest is the one combination of candidates that the Republicans would actually win!

Fortunately

European Tribune - Comments - Polling disasters: Who is really doing to win the US election (Part 3)

To a European observer the most striking thing about the US party nominee elections is how volatile they are.  In many European elections a 5% swing is regarded as very significant when it takes place over the course of an entire campaign and opinion polls are often accurate to well within their stated +- 3% points  margin of error.  In the US elections, however, opinion polls published on the same day by different companies can often differ by much more than this.

looks like polling companies would be about as effective as the Romans disemboweling chickens and reading their entrails.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Jan 8th, 2008 at 10:54:58 PM EST
From my past as sociologist I think these pollsters give quite good results, and surprising Clinton victory is in margin of allowed mistake - 10% may have not decided yet at the time of opinion poll, and made their choice at the last moment. That is why all wait for official results, not merely opinion polls.
by FarEasterner on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 12:11:29 AM EST
Which reinforces my other point: European Tribune - Polling disasters: Who is really doing to win the US election (Part 3)
To a European observer the most striking thing about the US party nominee elections is how volatile they are

It doesn't however explain the huge variation between polls carried out on the same day.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 05:25:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sampling biases.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 05:30:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The sampling methodology is SUPPOSED to reduce that to +/- 3%

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 05:38:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you look at the polls, the sample size includes "LV" for "likely voter". Given that the turnout exceeded expectations by a lot, a substantial fraction of the actual voters were not sampled.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 05:55:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
also possible. Look, in India pollsters usually are always wrong (they get it right in less than 1 poll from 10) because they could not give fair representation of rural, impoverisghed and often illiterate voters. In New Hampshire as I see the main problem lied with independents - the pattern of their electoral behaviour was unclear till the last moment.
by FarEasterner on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 05:40:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EXCUSES, EXCUSES!!!

In a properly constructed poll methodology those sampling biases are supposed to be contained within the +/-3% by ensuring that proportionate numbers of FarEasterner:

rural, impoverisghed and often illiterate voters
are included in the sample.  

The problem with most US polls, as far as I can see, is that they are exclusively TELEPHONE polls, and only therefore sample those with telephones and who happen to be available to answer them at the time of the poll.  Polls in other countries often still use at least some "face to face" polling to overcome this bias.

Independents may indeed be much more "floating" in their behaviour, but that is the same in any country unless you accept my other point about the apparently extraordinary volatility of the US electorate.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 05:59:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Stop screaming, Frank. The "margin of error" is a misleading statistic valid only for polling with a yes/no question expected to be split 50/50. The proper parameter to give is the sample size, and they do that. They should also describe the sampling technique, and they don't do that.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 06:07:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How am I supposed to start an argument if I don't shout just a little bit!!!  All I am trying to do is point out that there is a pseudo scientific mythology around the polls and that they are as much about influencing as predicting voter behaviour (see my long comment on Beer market research below).

The margin of error is quoted as being +/- 3.3% no less.  To one decimal place!!!  And no mention of your caveats that it only applies to yes/no questions with an expect 50/50 split.  When was the last time those conditions were valid for a poll?  If the poll is that close the margin of error makes it almost useless in any case.

The sample sizes are also generally too small.  1000 is the accepted minimum in Europe for any reasonably large and diverse population.  And finally the problems with telephone sampling introducing systematic non random biases are well known.

I do think that the impact of such unreliable polling methodologies on media and public discourse is a reasonable topic for critical debate given the critical impact they could have on outcomes.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 06:40:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The margin of error at 95% confidence level equals 1.96 * sqrt(1/4N) where N is the sample size.

But this is only a valid formula when you're testing whether a coin is fair and N is the number of coin tosses.

The margin of error for a 40/60 split (expected Obama result) would be be 1.96 * sqrt(.24 N) or 0.98 times the quoted margin of error.

The margin of error for a 30/70 split (expected Clinton result) would be 1.96 * sqrt(.21 N) or 0.92 times the quoted margin of error.

The margin of error for a 20/80 split (expected Edwards result) would be 1.96 * sqrt(.16 N) or 0.8 times the quoted margin of error.

The margin of error for a 6/94 split (expected Richardson result) would be 1.96 * sqrt (.06 N) or 0.48 times the quoted margin of error. So with a 3.3% quoted margin of error the expected Richardwon result is not 6% +- 3.3% but 6% +- 1.57%

But for, say, a 40/30/30 split (Obama/Clinton/Other) I am not quite sure what the proper confidence region would be at 95%. And that I can plot in 2D, but for 40/30/20/10 (Obama, Clinton, Edwards, Other) I need to plot the region in 3D.

Not that you would expect a pollster to say any of this, or a journalist or pundit to now what "margin of error" means. But at least sometimes they have the decency of giving the sample size.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 08:07:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So what your stats are telling us is that the statistical margin of error should be even less than 3.3% for marginal candidates like (say) Ron Paul in Iowa whose 10% vote in Iowa is then also outside the margin of error of his 7% polling numbers.  This makes the actual accuracy of the polls look even worse, not better.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 08:41:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, in addition, when you use "stratified sampling" to make sure you sample small subpopulations properly so you oversample the small subgroups and undersample the large subgroups (so, say, oversample the rural areas and undersample the urban areas) the whole "margin of error" thing gets hazier and hazier (and larger for any subgroup than reported).

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 08:21:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not to mention interviewer bias...  One market research company employee I know always starts by interviewing her friends and acquaintances as its a good opportunity to catch up on other gossip!  Presumably the telephone polling companies have better controls to ensure the randomness of the interviewee selection process within the stratified sample design methodology you mention above.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 09:16:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's unfait to call Iowa a polling disaster, since in the poll you are asked who you'd vote for, while in a caucus you may be influenced by people present, and, more importantly, you may end up going with your second choice because the first one was below 15%.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 05:29:54 AM EST
Fair point, although in the real time TV coverage of one particular Iowa Caucus I was watching, I didn't see all that much discussion between attendees in various camps until after the first round of voting.

I also haven't seen any analysis of the "Second round effect" of what impact the elimination of non-viable candidates had on the final figures.  Anybody got a source for that?

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 05:46:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I suppose the bigger point I am trying to make here is that if the US electorate IS so volatile, and so many people make up their minds at the last moment, then it is critical, from an analytical and campaigning point of view, to understand what factors influence those final decision making moments the most.

Many years ago I did some market research for a rather famous brand of Irish beer.  The company was interested in finding out why there was so much variability in their share of the total beer sales from pub to pub.  So we analyse those factors which influed drinkers in their choice of Brand AT THE POINT OF ENTERING A PUB AND PLACING THEIR ORDER.

The results where very  very interesting and had a major impact on Company strategy.  The most important factors where:

  1. Is it a traditional or a modern pub in terms of decor (traditional favoured Guinness, modern favoured lager)

  2. What were most people in the pub drinking (no experienced draught beer drinker wants to be the first to drink a particular brand on a particular day, becuse that beer may have been sitting in the pipeline all night and may have oxidised slightly or been stored in warmer conditions.

  3. Hot weather favoured lagers

  4. The most important factor was if the Barman made some kind of prompt - e.g. its a great day for a Guinness, or Guiness would go great with that meal you just ordered etc.

The research led directly to the company to setting up "The Irish Pub" marketing strategy whereby bar owners where offered a complete service in furnishing their premises with themes traditional Irish furniture, knick knacks and other visual cues.

It also led to a huge emphasis on point of sale materials, advertising on Menus, and the training of bar staff to assist customers in their choice of drink.

All of this goes a long way to explain the huge importance of having your supporters and branding materials strategically located outside polling stations.  It also explains the huge importance of media and opinion poll created perceptions of "surges" for particular candidates.

In my (long distance and uniformed view) a critical factor may have been Hilary's alleged "breakdown" and its treatment by the hostile media.  To most people she was just showing she was human and it was the first time many might have warmed to her.  But that is just my guess.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 06:26:50 AM EST
I think you were comparing apples and oranges when talking of volatility.

These polls are on primaries. That's vote for individuals within a party, not parties or party representatives. Thus primary voters can be generally assumed to not have strongly different affections for the different candidates.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 10:00:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes and no.  Agreed that many Dems seem to think that any of Clinton, Obama, Edwards would make an acceptable candidate and may therefor be quite open to switching between them  depending on the perceived circumstances (although less so with Clinton according to Iowa second preferences)).

No in the sense that some European elections (Including Ireland) involve choices between candidates of the same party  

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 10:18:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I wouldn't compare preference voting to one aiming at getting a single candidate chosen.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 10:49:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well... there has been a lot of volatility in some European countries.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 10:23:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The best example may be that caused by Aznar's reaction to the Madrid bombing? But I would have thought huge swings within 24 hours are relatively rare.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 10:38:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am not sure about that one.

What seems certain is that 3M left voters who stayed at home in 2000 voted in 2004. Whether that decision to come out and vote was taken the day before the election or not, I don't know.

The list of reasons to vote the PP out in 2004 was long indeed, anyway.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 10:44:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How big was the swing anyway?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 10:51:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have done this comparison in the past.

199620002004
Population404600553985265142717064
Eligible Voters325318333396964034571831
Turnout251720582333947426155436
PP9716006103211789763144
PSOE9425678791875211026163


We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 11:07:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Spanish Elections    1996    2000    2004
Population    40460055    39852651    42717064
Eligible Voters    32531833    33969640    34571831
Turnout    25172058    23339474    26155436
PP    9716006    10321178    9763144
PSOE    9425678    7918752    11026163
% Turnout    77%    69%    76%
PP share of turnout    39%    44%    37%
PSOE share of turnout    37%    34%    42%

Overall turnout was certainly back to 1996 levels, but there was a marked swing within that turnout as well

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 11:23:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not on the PP vote, was there? The main effect between 1996 and 2004 is PSOE voters coming in and out of abstention.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 11:40:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well we can't tell from those figures what the turnout amongst self identifying PP voters was compared to the PSOE ones.  Do you have the breakdown of self-identifying PP and PSOE supporters from which we can calculate the differential turnout?

PS how do you keep your columns so nicely aligned?

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 11:45:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For that you'd have to look at CIS polling, I think.

PS I use HTML table code

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 11:48:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, I mean the virtual swing compared to the last pre-Madrid-bombing polls.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 11:51:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't remember, to be honest.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 12:00:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I found this on the Spanish Wiki, but I don't know the pollsters' political biases. (Nor can I read the accompanying text.)

All I see is that PSOS-ECO was pretty close and predicted a PSOE win, and SIGMA-DOS's dead-even prediction was not that far off either, while Instituto Opina and Demoscopia predicted comfortable PP wins. I also note the over-estimation of IU by all pollsters -- i.e. PSOE got some last-minute swing within the Catalonian Left rather than from right to left or non-voter to left.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 12:20:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
IU is national left, not Catalan left, which includes ERC.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 12:58:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My bad. But what does the Spanish Wiki say (if it is not right-zinger spin), and what are the pollsters' allegiances?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 01:01:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Elecciones generales españolas de 2004 - Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre Spanish General Election, 2004 - Spanish Wikipedia
Una semana antes de los atentados del 11-M los sondeos daban al PP una ligera ventaja en las elecciones, aunque se daba por poco probable que repitiera su mayoría absoluta de 2000, en donde consiguió 183 escaños. A week before the March 11 attacks, polls gave the PP a slight advantage, but it was considered unlikely that it would renew its absolute majority from 2000, when it obteined 183 seats [of 350].
A lo largo de la campaña electoral, el PSOE había ido recortando distancia con el PP, según los sondeos que se fueron realizando. Una semana antes de las elecciones, debido a la ley electoral que lo prohíbe, se dejaron de publicar sondeos electorales; en ese momento, con un elevado porcentaje de encuestados que se declaraban "indecisos" (en torno al 40%), algunos hablaban de un empate técnico. Throughout the electoral campaign the PSOE had been catching up with the PP as successive polls were made. A week prior to the election, due to a law forbidding it, polls ceased to be published; at that time, with a large proportion of those polled declaring themselves "undecided" (around 40%), some spoke of a technical tie.
La campaña estuvo muy marcada por el pacto de gobierno tripartito en Cataluña, y por la reunión entre Josep-Lluís Carod-Rovira y dirigentes de ETA. José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero prometió no formar gobierno a menos que su partido fuese el más votado. Mariano Rajoy pidió una mayoría cómoda, para no tener que depender de pactos. The campaign was dominated by the three-way governing coalition in Catalonia and by the meeting between Josep-Lluís Carod-Rovira [ERC leader] and ETA leaders. José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero promised not to form a government unless his party was the one with the most votes. Mariano Rajoy asked for a comfortable majority to avoid having to depend on alliances.
As for the political leanings of the pollsters, you can see that from the media that commissioned the polls, below the table:
Ipsos-Eco Consulting (TVE), Sigma Dos (Antena 3), Instituto Opina (SER) (7 marzo 2004) [1], Demoscopia (Telecinco)
TVE is the national TV under PP political control. SER is the flagship radio station of PSOE-friendly group PRISA.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 01:28:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Heh. So the PP-close poll got it most right, and the PSOE-close poll least right?...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 01:47:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My reading of the polls is that they all got all the regional parties right to within one seat, they all overestimated the PP seat count (by at least two, but up to 21 seats), underestimated the PSOE count (by at least five seats, but up to 24 seats) and overestimated the IU count by anything from one vote to seven. Opina and (for PSOE-friendly Cadena SER) and Demoscopia (for Tele5) were totally off.

Assuming the IPSOS-ECO poll for the National TV (at the time politically controlled by the PP) was accurate at the time it was done, the final result requires that IU lose half its seats and the PP another 10 or so to the PSOE.

Now, I don't know whether that can be explained simply by mobilizing a couple million PSOE voters from abstention and leaving the other parties' vote counts unchanged. The seat count is a highly nonlinear function of vote count at the margin.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 01:55:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Assuming the IPSOS-ECO poll for the National TV (at the time politically controlled by the PP) was accurate at the time it was done, the final result requires that IU lose half its seats and the PP another 10 or so to the PSOE.

10? More like 2-4.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 02:01:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oops, yes.

Notice that the given confidence intervals make it rather tricky to get all the numbers to add up to 350.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 02:04:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
By the way, most of the polls in my region (from Germany to Hungary) also give a turnout projection/likely voters percentage with every poll data. I find it strange that US and many Western European polls are regularly published without it.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 02:04:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I will bow to your greater knowledge here, mig, but my recollection was that the PP were ahead in the polls until after Aznar's controversial attempt to blame the bombing on ETA?  Thus the "many good reasons" to vote out the PP didn't of themselves explain the sudden swing in preference/differential turnout?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 10:54:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The point might be that the polls mis-assumed voter turnout in their weighting of raw data.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 10:55:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd go for the differential turnout.  Which, by the way, might not be there this time around either.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 10:57:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
24 hour swings this big are not common, but the final news cycle on the day before the election and the day of the election itself have become more influential. An old poster here, Ritter, used to boast that he knocked off a 0.4 percentage points from the CDU's lead in the past German elections, by getting a story about Merkel's stolen speeches into the final news cycle.

You do see that an ever larger part of the electorate is drifting, basically undecided or very quick to change its support from election to election. This has been especially the case in the Netherlands over the past four national elections (e.g. since 2000). A lot of these people can still change their minds on the last day, or worse, only make up their mind on the last day.

This makes the news cycle ever more important, and thereby makes control over the news cycle ever more important -- leading to the postmodern politics we see in the US and now also in France.

So I'm going to claim some prescience despite getting the results hugely wrong, for this comment ;-)

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 01:34:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wonder how things would have turned out in Germany after 2002, had there not been a blow-up in the media on the 'anti-American' scandal with Hertha Däubler-Gmelin.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 01:52:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
First time I heard of that story...

Yes. The question is if it helped or hurted the SPD. I think it must have hurt them.

Adding: I'm basically against the concept of historical responsibility, but there are just some things you do not say as the daughter of an NS politician.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 04:25:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Such as? I note the precise wording and circumstances are disputed, having been spoken at a closed meeting of some 30 people. It was certainly something blown out of proportion.

It is no question whether it helped the SPD: it did the opposite, the SPD fell some 2-4% in the polls, and just recovered to clinch a very narrow victory. What I meant was not a chancellor Stoiber, but a chancellor Schröder 'with a mandate', i.e. a clearer victory.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 04:47:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Correction after checking: the very last official polls showed SPD ahead by on average 2%, so did later disclosed polls during the last week (even Allensback showed SPD ahead), then it was the exit polls that showed CDU ahead, and the final result was SPD ahead by a couple of votes.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 04:55:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Such as using the H-word to criticise people. Even when the comparison bears some slight merit within the context of the argument being made.

But I'm going by the German Wikipedia article, so I don't know this scandal in-depth.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 05:28:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Däubler-Gmelin meets 30 local union/Betriebsrat bosses. Word gets out to a local paper Schwäbisches Tagblatt that Bush and Hitler was mentioned. The result was this article. The CDU immediately jumps on it, "Däubler-Gmelin equated Bush and Hitler" in the headlines, internationally. (It was a big hit with the US warmongers on the web, held against anti-war Germany even in March 2003.) Schröder feels forced to write a letter to excuse himself. To Däubler-Gmelin, he first expresses support after she denies having said so, later she is forced into a kind-of-apology herself, and Schröder indicates she won't be part of the next government.

Meanwhile, Däubler-Gmelin started a war of words with the newspaper. She claims spin, she claims there was ongoing discussion about the Iraq War being motivated by US domestic issues, in which she started her own take with "We know that from our history, with Adolf Nazi", and she claims she continued by explaining how Bush is not like Hitler (rather than reacting to negative reactions as in the article). The newspaper in turn claimed they checked the story with eyewitnesses, including herself.

To be honest, I didn't follow up the development of this conflict in the weeks after the election. I only remember that Däubler-Gmelin was fuming and kept to her version even months later.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 05:53:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for the run-down.

Curiously, this reminds me of how the German press handled the Eva Herman scandal.

In Herman's case, the press moving in for the kill could not have happened to a more deserving person. But she was definitely widely and grossly misrepresented.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 06:34:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Now that was something I missed, thanks. From reading up, indeed she was grossly mis-represented.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Jan 10th, 2008 at 04:09:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
On Booman there is further speculation of Diebold error in NH.  Given previous voting fraud in 2004, and the US history of voting fraud, i can't dismiss it.  Would explain the polling discrepancy.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 06:51:07 AM EST
Mig and I are hopefully going to dig a bit deeper into that.  I, too, am growing increasingly suspicious, and good on Soros at Daily Kos for raising this issue.

I could be wrong, but, given 2004, if you ask me something happened in New Hampshire last night.  A few questions I have:

(1) Why was the polling dead-on for everybody -- Obama, Edwards, Richardson, Kucinich, and the Republicans -- but Hillary?
(2) Hillary would've needed to take a huge chunk of the late-breakers to secure that win.  But the exit polling showed late-breakers, albeit by a fairly narrow margin, going to Obama.  Why the discrepancy?

We need, per Mig, exit polls segregated by vote-counting method, and we need to control for socioeconomics.

I'm glad BooMan is paying attention.  Everybody in the press kept commenting last night, "This is an historic victory unlike anything we've ever seen."

I wonder why.  And I'm a little sick of these things not being investigated by the authorities, particularly when, as in 2004, we have expert after expert saying that the result was not what it seemed.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 08:04:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hillary would've needed to take a huge chunk

And I mean a massive chunk.  Her own internals had Obama winning this thing by 11%.  Obama's internals had 14%.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 08:06:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Irish Government spent c. €50M on electronic voting machines which had to be abandoned because of public concerns that they could be rigged and the lack of a paper trail to enable the results to be audited.

In Ireland the multi-seat single transferable voting system creates a much more complex voting system often requiring the same votes to be counted and reallocated 10 times or more based on their lower preferences.  Counts often take days to complete.   The case for computerising that process is far stronger because of the complexity and yet we persist in the old system because it is part of the drama and theater of the occasion, and because there is a high degree of public confidence in it despite occasional small discrepancies.

The question of vote rigging creates an entirely different issue - who benefits - apart from Hilary?  The polls to date show her to be the most beatable of the three leading Dem contenders from a republican point of view.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 08:26:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I HATE conspiracy theories, but...

Last night's votes make no sense.  It is statistically very unlikely that last week's polls were THAT wrong.  Meanwhile, the two biggest warmongers of either party pull out "surprising" wins.

And Diebold counted the votes.  With the most hack-able machines on earth.

Sure. Ya Betcha

"Remember the I35W bridge--who needs terrorists when there are Republicans"

by techno (reply@elegant-technology.com) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 10:00:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Look downthread for a pretty plausible explanation.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 10:05:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Very plausible.  The difference between the Diebold machines and the hand counts is still striking, though.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 10:11:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What was the distribution of Diebod and paper ballot sites? Maybe it was not random?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 10:14:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I had a list of towns that used Diebold machines, but the BlackBox site is misbehaving on me.  Most votes were counted on them.  I believe only about 25% were counted by hand.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 10:27:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You showed me this page set up by a Ron Paul supporter.2008 New Hampshire State Primary Results - A Closer Look At The Count
Table Comparing Machine vs Hand Counts
The ballots were counted by machine vs. hand by a factor of 4:1

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 10:40:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Compare the machine/hand-counted data to the small to large towns data. I think we see a reflection of that.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 10:47:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thus the working hypothesis is that Hilary did better in the Machine counts because they are located in more populous areas and she has higher urban support???

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 10:58:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Precisely. If you check the vote counts and technology used for each precint listed, you'll see that almost all above 1,000 votes used Diebold and most below used hand counting. Seeing this, I got second thoughts, and wonder if similar analysis has been done in Ohio.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 11:00:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well I am torn.  On one hand, I hate conspiracy theories.  On the other, I got very good grades in the statistic courses I took in college and last night's vote count just pegged my bullshit detector.  But this is my last post on the subject because there are PLENTY of people who have more interest and expertise in this subject than I.

"Remember the I35W bridge--who needs terrorists when there are Republicans"
by techno (reply@elegant-technology.com) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 11:13:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Forgot to add: the urban voters for Clinton trend continues from medium-sized to large towns, that is in effect, also within Diebold precints only.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 11:52:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What worries me is your suggestion that diarying this on DKos would get us banned under Kos' "no conspiracy theories" rule.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 08:12:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, raising the issue probably wouldn't get us banned.  Shouted down, maybe.  But Markos was, as i remember it, pretty militant about slapping down Ohio-related diaries in 2004.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 08:26:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why is it a conspiracy theory if there is a demonstrated and statistically significant discrepancy between projected and actual voting behaviours for one candidate and not for others?  Can there be any OTHER explanation in the absence of audit trails and independent verification processes - eg. test ballots on the same machines conducted before and after the formal poll?

The test of any scientific method is that it's conclusions are independently verifiable.  

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 08:33:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't ask me, it's not my rule.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 08:46:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Anecdote from BlackBoxVoting.org last night:

I just went briefly through the results from wards that went for clinton and obama. It's more than strange that 90% of the Optical scan wards went to Hillary and the Hand ballots were split 60-40 in favor of obama. I need to really hone in on the stats but most of the hand counts went 40-50 per cent for Obama and the Optical scan vots were consistently in the 20's to low 30's. This thing smells to high heaven especially given the polling pre-primary.


Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 08:47:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Can I see some pre-primary polling broken down by vote-counting method, please? As well as number of people polled who were "unlikely voters" and "likely voters" who were "undecided"?

Maybe Soros can get Zogby to retrospectively release these data for all New Hampshire tracking polls??

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 08:53:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd be surprised if the sample was stratified by vote-counting method unless that can be correlated to the precinct in which the interviewee was registered to vote.    Do the polling companies publish their questionnaires and sample stratification methods?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 09:20:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
At this point I'm leaning towards forgetting about pre-election polls and concentrating on exit polls, which would have individual responses linked to specific precincts.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 09:28:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oops, obviously right, because at that point the voter has made up their mind and knows how they voted.  This eliminates all the "likely/unlikely voter" noise and the only distorting factors are that not all people leaving a polling station will give time to a pollster or be truthful in their answers.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 09:33:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You'd be hard-pressed to explain why people would lie in one direction or another depending on the vote-counting method used in their precinct.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 09:38:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That isn't my point.  People are not always truthful with pollsters full stop.  In particular,  exit polls can be biased by:

  1. somewhat non-randomly selected interviewees in that some are more "approachable" than others, some will be rushing off, some  resent talking to pollsters, some resent having the secrecy of their action in the polling booth queried - all depending on cultural and individul circumstances.

  2. The truthfulness of interviewees can also often not be taken for granted.  Interviewers are usually middle class, and many interviewees like to be agreeable...  In Ireland this can result in people who voted for Sinn Fein or extremist candidates claiming they voted for "respectable" parties.  Polls typically systematically overestimate the votes of some parties and under estimate those of other parties (by up to 3/4 %) and experienced pollsters correct for this based on past experience.

Would you tell a nice attractive young lady interviewing you with a Madrid accent that you had voted for the local ETA candidate?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 09:50:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, in the Basque country you might find different biases in San Sebastián than you would in Vitoria. So, if Vitoria had voting machines and San Sebastián didn't, the bias would show up in the difference between polls and exit polls when separated by vote counting method. Same thing, actually, between San Sebastián and the rural areas around it.

That's why, even if the effect could be shown to be there after taking into account the exit poll data by precinct, it would still have to be controlled for socioeconomic factors.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 09:56:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There's a diary on this by dataguy, on BooTrib.

Basically, the exit polls don't look to be off by too much.

If that's really the case, I'm going with the Feiler Faster Thesis for this one.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 09:56:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Dataguy has a point.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 09:59:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Methinks the gender imbalance he points at conclusively proves that the polls erred in their assumptions about likely voters, which may very well have been a last-minute effect.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 10:04:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, if that's the case, then it makes sense, and there was simply a surge in female voters.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 10:04:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
could that be because of this?
Frank Schnittger:
I think the critical factor may have been the hostile media treatment of her alleged "breakdown" which to me was a carefully staged show of emotion to show her human side.  Bill regularly emoted far more, but being a man that just showed his compassion.  For Hilary, being a women, it was supposed to show weakness.  When she doesn't, she is a cold hearted machine.  Perhaps the public saw through the sexist media spin.

That sort sexism could have revitalised Hilary's female support

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 10:35:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One way or another, I'm certain that played a role in helping her.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 10:37:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One thing to remember is these are primaries.

In Europe, don't the party elite put candidates forward in a general election?

There's a degree of familiarity and limitedness there (party affiliation) that is not available in a primary, where party affiliation means nada.

People are in the process of making their decisions. National polls are almost useless.

John Kerry was polling 3% of the vote right before the primaries last time. A combo of factors brought him back from the dead despite the polling.

by Upstate NY on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 09:47:21 AM EST
Upstate NY:
People are in the process of making their decisions. National polls are almost useless.

Fair comment, and that probably explains a lot of the underlying volatility.  But the issue here is why the polls are so inconsistent with each other and with the actual results just one or two days later.  Polls should be able to capture the national mood swings even if they do change quite a lot over time.  They are almost useless as predictive tools if they cannot.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 11:11:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think there's clearly conflict in voters' minds, though, on how to go about accomplishing what they want to accomplish.  We know what they want:  Change.  They want an end to the war, universal health care, etc.  But Clinton, Edwards and Obama are all selling themselves as bringers of that big-picture goal in different ways.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 11:27:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Precisely my point.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 11:53:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, polling does help answer this question.

People who were undecided the last two days broke almost unanimously for Clinton.

That was a chunk of the electorate.

Events on the ground also swung to Clinton for a variety of reasons. Obama backers started taking very dirty shots at her, and she defended herself.

The charges of Clinton's racism in referring to a MLK-JFK-LBJ dynamic did not endear Obama to a lot of people (to be clear, Obama didn't make those comments, his surrogates did) and then Obama himself let everyone know that he likes Clinton ("well enough.") This region of small states has been noted in the past for making contrarian decisions when it seems the poll leader is locking things up. Paul Tsongas and Jerry Brown, for instance, have both won New England states in the last 4 rounds. Yankees are known for doing the opposite, and in this case, they were not ready to crown the king quite yet.

We're talking about very few people here actually. It's a door to door handshake kind of state.

by Upstate NY on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 11:32:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
John Zogby: Polling the New Hampshire Primaries: What Happened? - Politics on The Huffington Post

There was no shortage of polls going into the New Hampshire primary in 2008 and it looks like we all missed the mark on the Democratic side. This will require a lot of scrutiny in the coming days and weeks, but here are some initial thoughts on what has been happening:

1. According to the exit polls, 18% of the voters said that they made up their minds on primary day. That is just an unprecedented number. I have polled many races, especially close ones, where 4% to 8% have said they finally decided on their vote the day of the election and that can wreak havoc on those of us who are in the business of capturing pre-election movements and trends. But nearly one in five this time?

2. It looks like the always feisty voters in both Iowa and New Hampshire have rejected pre-election coronations. In the case of Iowa, Democratic voters said that Mrs. Clinton is not inevitable, while in New Hampshire they were not ready to endorse the Obama train without checking the engine.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 11:09:25 AM EST
An 18% figure for last-minute deciders is, indeed, pretty amazing.

Certainly there's not going to be a coronation this go-round.  Clinton could take Nevada, despite Obama getting the SEIU and Culinary Workers' endorsements.  Nevada is also a caucus state with a strong Latino population, I think, so there's no telling what's going to happen.  We haven't seen any numbers out of there in more than a month, so there's no real feeling on where it stands, especially given the Ali-vs-Frasier battle that's developing.  South Carolina probably still goes to Obama, but after last night I wouldn't discount Clinton making inroads with black female voters.

Although, it's becoming Ali vs Frasier thanks in large part to what is undeniably the press completely ignoring Edwards.  The first day or two after Iowa had him on television a good deal, but they completely dropped him after that.

It'll be interesting.  Iowa might have been Clinton's one big scare, not unlike Junior's 2000 loss to McCain in NH.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 11:23:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe that correlates with the 14% difference between the number of men and women respondents in the exit polls?

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 11:30:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Possibly.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 11:40:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, I see.  It was the voters fault.  How very inconsiderate of them trying to make life hard for the pollsters. And they only decided the Obama train needed his engine checked at the last minute as he was pulling into the station.  Couldn't possibly be anything to do with poor polling methodologies.  

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 11:40:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why i was the only one predicting a clinton close lose (or win)? .. because I know my stuff.. and I know that most of this polls have serious problem.

First and foremost... the fact that youc an even poll is based on a very complex sicience.. called statistics.. whioo has a very clear set of preconditions... sometimes if you do not follow those preconditions you more or less can get to the same results as iuf you don't.. but in other cases... you skip a precondition whcih should be fulfilled and all it goes to the bin..

Margin of errors have only meaning if the samples is unbiased, if the numbe ro f variables to make a decision is high, if they are u nccorrelated, if .. if.. if..

Some of thsoe if can be overcome other can be made it so by the polling (what sociolists call real good poll), and anotehr just can not be..

If you want really get useful sociological data you need an anthropologichal approach to polling.. face to face.. living and double-checking the data...

Any other poll is wrong.. in the sense that error bars are maningless... and in POLLS BY PHONE eror bars are meaningless.... you'd better use tea leafs.

In other words, sampling error can be addressed but never diminished by a proper poll whciha ccoutns for all the double and triple checks to eb sure that it all makes sense... adn even then.. there is the so-called kitchen where you jsut change the data so as to fix to another model.

In other words.. enver never never trust political polls... they are done to make poeople repeat what the polling people want to hear... For real polls in sociology you should go to serious journals where serious studies and ahrdcore data about population classification are obtained.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 11:36:19 AM EST
I am not a statistician & I do not know precisely how to account for the polls.  And I have no factual evidence to back up any theories to explain the discrepancies between the polls and the elections results.

Personally, were I living in New Hampshire, I would have gone from NFC to Hillary in the last day.  

NFC because -and I think most non-blogosphere hardcore activist type Democrats and Independents feel this way- any one of the top 3 or 4 Dem. candidates would be a huge improvement, all have something remarkable to offer and all have their weaknesses and faults.  We in the wonk-o-sphere can detail the ways their positions differ, but the fact is they are more alike than different, and their main differences are matters of style, symbolism, and other intangibles.

Hillary because I was really impressed with her debate performance, because this idea the Obama and Edwards represent some new, clean, idealistic, pure politics whereas Hillary represents the old, corrupt, cut-throat, machine politics was pretty much blown out of the water when we saw Obama and Edwards tag teaming at the debates and moreover, the just rotten response from their supposedly angelic supporters, attacking her on personal grounds and being just as slimy as the politicians they are supposed to be an alternative to, and most importantly, because I don't want this race decided by Iowa.  I want a real Primary that lasts long enough for people to get past the star-stuck frenzy over Obama and really get down to the issues.  She's right.  This isn't a game.  This isn't American Idol.

So it's not incomprehensible to me that as a reaction to the media practically crowning Obama after Iowa and to the ugly personal attacks on her after the "tears" moment, people switched gears or people who would have stayed home were motivated to go out and vote in support of her.  Plus, NH is notorious for not wanting to be taken for granted.  

Voter fraud?  The problem with Bush stealing elections is that now the validity of all elections are called into question.  It's possible.  Hell, I wouldn't put anything past Terry McAuliffe.  

I'm delighted she won.  I still don't know who the best candidate is.  But I'm glad that decision hasn't already been made for me before I get a chance to go to the polls.  And I think it can only help Obama to be knocked a few rungs down the latter.  Some humility could not possibly hurt his campaign, which seemed to be buying into the very inevitability theme they slammed Clinton for running on.  


"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 11:56:03 AM EST
Also, on the topic, I went to re-register to vote last night (change of address).  It was the last day to register to vote in the primaries, and the county office was open until midnight to register people.  I asked one registrar if she really expected people to be filing in at 11:50 pm to register to vote in the primaries, and she was vehement that yes, this would happen.  The place was packed, hopping.  She said it was because there was a woman and a black man on the ballot, that this brought "people out of the woodwork" who normally didn't vote.  There was a lot of excitement in the room, everyone all glowing with a (false?) sense of empowerment.  I'm not sure Democracy is our Saviour, but it sure is an adrenaline rush.  

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 12:26:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, despite much back and forth between Mig and I on GMail Talk this morning, the discrepancies were very well explained when CNN posted its exit poll.  It predicted the results almost perfectly.

Overall, I agree.  It's good for this to turn into a genuine race.  And, like Obama's win in Iowa, I think there's a great historic moment in New Hampshire selecting a woman.  And, again, I think the people on the ground for Clinton deserve major props for pulling it out.

Obama and Clinton have each scored a solid blow to the head on each other now.  Clinton is no longer inevitable, and Obama is no longer some kind of untouchable phenomenon.

The shameful thing is that Edwards will now be completely ignored, as he has been for the last few days, unless he pulls out a miracle pretty soon.  But then again, with union-heavy Nevada coming, and the way things are going...well, after last night, who the hell knows?

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 01:05:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, major props due only if positive policy changes are there.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 01:49:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You don't understand, DoDo.  This is America.  And we Dems need to figure out who gets the right to squander our advantage against the GOP in November.  Policy is for the French.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 02:51:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Very true up  untill very recently.  Now the Sarkozy celebrity culture rules and policy is for the birds,, ehem..I meant for the girls.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 02:54:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think a lot of tactical voting may be taking place.  If Clinton is way ahead in the polls, the voters say, hey not so fast.  Ditto for Obama.  It suits everyone concerned for the outcome to be in suspense for as long as possible.  Once one race becomes a foregone conclusion, all the media attention, money, and public interest will switch to the other race.  The party bases have to be mobilised, and that won't happen if the race is all but over.  We can expect quite a few more twists and turns before the majority have settled on their choice and the minority give up the chase.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 01:41:20 PM EST
ABC News: N.H. Turned the Tables - Ballots at Fault?
Without a doubt, a big source of the discrepancy between the pre-election surveys and the election outcome in New Hampshire is the order of candidates' names on the ballot and in the surveys.

Our analysis of all recent primaries in New Hampshire showed that there was always a big primacy effect -- big-name, big-vote-getting candidates got 3 percent or more votes more when listed first on the ballot than when listed last.

Until this year, New Hampshire rotated candidate name order from precinct to precinct, which allowed us to do that analysis.

This year, the secretary of state changed the procedure so the names were alphabetical starting with a randomly selected letter, in all precincts.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 01:41:31 PM EST
Can I draw peoples attention back to the Poll in the Diary asking for your prediction as to who the next POTUS will be?  I am particularly surprised that no one has yet predicted that McCain will win, given that there are some votes for Huckabee and given that McCain polls better than Huckabee in all the head to head contests with any of the top three Democratic contenders.  

If McCain continues to beat Romney and Giulliani and unites all the non-Christian right behind him, does that not mean he wins the GOP nomination and has a good shot at the Presidency?

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 02:21:09 PM EST
Do you think the non-Christian Right is more numerous than the Christian one?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 02:38:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As far as I can recall evangelicals make up 40% of the GOP voter base but can be relied to turn out in huge numbers for an evangelical candidate.  Thus if McCain fails to unite and mobilise the non-evangelical right Huckabee wins.  

I also think McCain may be able to pick up some of the non-evangelical populist anti-establishment vote that Edwards also attracts.  He is by no means a hard right financial conservative ideologue or a Washington/bib business insider, which is what scares the business wing of the GOP.

McCain has a very short time to demolish Romney and Giulliani before a Huckabee victory becomes inevitable by default.  If he fails to do so and the non-evangelical vote remains split, then Huckabee only needs the evangelicals to win.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 02:51:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Frank Schnittger:
I also think McCain may be able to pick up some of the non-evangelical populist anti-establishment vote that Edwards also attracts

 oops - meant Huckabee

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 02:56:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd more put them at 55% of the potential voter base (with all reps 45% of all voters, and the Religious Reich 25% of all, and even that only due to lower voter turnout among the crazies), though these categories are vague. Do you havesome polls or studies?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 03:26:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No - would have to go googling.  But if you are right then Huckabee has the GOP nomination sown up and the Dems have a great chance of winning against him whoever they nominate.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 03:35:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly . COVER STORY . Republicans and Religion . August 27, 2004 | PBS
LAWTON: According to exit polls from the 2000 elections, 60 percent of all people who attend religious services more than once a week voted for Bush. And the more often people worshipped, the more likely they were to vote Republican. Forty percent of Bush's total vote came from evangelicals.

That 40% is not only of Republicans, and epublicans decreased since. Now looking at Iowa:

Former Ark. Gov. Mike Huckabee Takes Republican Caucus in Iowa | TheLedger.com

...Republicans interviewed before they cast their votes ... included nearly 60 percent who identified themselves as evangelical Christians,

...but I forgot about Democrats among the evangelicals when citing the 25% figure:

"When Would Jesus Bolt?" by Amy Sullivan

In the last election, evangelicals made up 26 percent of the electorate, and 78 percent of them voted for Bush.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 03:44:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A Dem would have to be well ahead in polls for me to be confident he would win because evangelicals will vote near 100% for one of them.  Bush was never truly one of them - Huckabee might be closer to their hearts

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 at 04:58:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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