Wednesday, October 22, 2008

AP Poll: Race Now Tied

Hope you didn't put too much stock into the media's take on the third debate. They marched in lock step, saying Obama won the debate. Too bad the voters thought otherwise. The latest AP pool (among likely voters) show that McCain made up significant ground since the debate, closing the gap to 43% vs. 42%. The media is trying their hardest to get Obama elected, but it might not be enough.

I subscribe to Newsweek, for reasons that are often unclear to me. The last four issues have been non-stop Obama cheer leading and McCain/Palin bashing. I don't recall a single article in the last four issues supporting a McCain presidency. One cover called Obama "Mr. Cool", contrasting him with McCain as "Mr. Hot" (Obama is so cool and collected, as opposed to that maniac, John McCain). Another with Sarah Palin proclaimed "She's One of the Folks (and that's the problem)." Another Palin cover dug up an unflattering, six year old photo of her holding a shotgun (she's one of those gun nuts!).

This will be a close election. The pollsters want to influence the election (and discourage Republicans), but they also want to be right. The closer we get to Nov. 4, the closer the polls will get to the true feelings of likely voters.


Tom said...

Jon-you're entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts. The race is not tied. Real Clear Politics (right-leaning website) has Obama +7.0. Today they list 11 national polls, featuring Obama up 9, 6, 10, 5, 8, 5, 11, 4, 1, 2, and 5. So please don't cherry pick the closest of these 11 as evidence the race is tied. It's not. I don't think Obama is up 10 or 11, but I also don't think he's only up 1 or 2. That's where examining all of the available information comes into play.

And McCain isn't making headway in the electoral college anyways, which is really what matters.

Rudi said...

I value polls almost zero. There's one poll that I actually pay attention to- the general election. There are just way too many factors that shape these things:

wanting to be perceived as being progressive might tempt a determined republican to say that he's voting Obama even though he won't pull that lever on election day, etc.

Cell-phone only houses get almost no contact under the current polling method. Are cell-phone only houses more likely to be Republican or Democrat? Who knows?

I'll stick to my guns, and m 4 year old prediction: Barak Obama will be our next president.

Jon Vander Plas said...

I believe the title of the post was "AP Poll: Race Now Tied." Which is factually correct. A second poll released today also has McCain trailing by one point.

The overall point of the post is that the race is much closer than the media lets on, also true.

We should be skeptical of all polls, nobody really knows who will show up to vote on election day. Every pollster engineers a different mix of people based on how many Republicans or Democrats they think there are, what percentage of blacks will vote (9% in '04, some polls think up to 12% for '08), etc. I think the Bradley effect is real. The Bradley effect occurs when people tell pollsters they'll vote for the candidate that they think is most socially acceptable, even when they will pull the lever for the other guy when they actually vote. Has there ever been a candidate more likely to cause a Bradley effect? The media worships Obama and we are regularly told we are racists if we don't support him. This could be worth 5 points in the polls.

Bottom line, I stand by my statements. I think the latest polls show McCain won the debate and is gaining ground.

Tom said...

are you seriously talking about today's polls (10/24) as being favorable to McCain? Obama smoked McCain across the midwest. Obama is up double digits in Pennsylvania, supposedly McCain's last stand. Obama is up 6 in Gallup, 7 in Rasmussen I think, which are the 2 oldest and most trusted pollsters. If you can count the Investor's Business Daily poll (O+1.), then I can count the Daily Kos poll (O+10).

The media didn't declare that Obama won the 3rd debate, people did. Polls of people, citizens, you know voters showed that more people thought Obama "won", whatever that means. Even the focus group at Foxnews I believe.

Newsweek suggests the Bradley effect will be much different and much less in 2008 than it was in the early 1980's, which makes a ton of sense to me.

And the latest polls continue to show that Palin was a poor pick who has not increased McCain's chances of winning.

I think the media continue to portray this race as closer than it actually is in the interest of ratings. McCain is down to 3.7% chance of winning on, a statistician's site. Real Clear Politics has him up 7.5, and the give him 306 electoral votes not counting toss-up states. So I struggle to see how this is any kind of close.

Jon Vander Plas said...

McCain may very well be trailing by a few points, but this race is not over. Arguing about poll numbers is a little boring to me. I was hoping for some more discussion of the issues.

Sarah Palin would probably be helping a lot more if not for the media's incredible bias against her. Biden's gaffes are swept under the rug (if reported at all - NBC originally edited out Biden's comments about an engineered crisis to test Obama), Obama's past is not investigated. Instead we have an army of reporters sent to Alaska to dig up dirt. No effort was made to find out why she's the most popular governor in the country, instead we got lies about banning books and polls from ABC about whether or not she's a good mother. Palin has as much or more experience than Obama and Biden has said far more dumb things during the course of the campaign, yet you'd never know it if all you did was read Newsweek and watched the networks.

Tom said...

But that's my point-he's not trailing by a few points, he's trailing by a lot. That's not media bias, it's the best information we have available to us. Obama '08 is looking more like the Reagan landslide than the last 2 elections, that's for sure.

It's not that the media think Palin was a poor choice, the people of America think she was a poor choice. We evaluated the information available to us (for ex. not from a press conference), and decided she was unqualified to be VP.

Biden says many dumb things, but has articulated many intelligent ideas as well. Palin has had just terrible answers on all sorts of issues, but precious few good answers as well. I just don't see her offering any substance to McCain. Her selection was all about getting elected, and that showed McCain's poor judgment, and it certainly wasn't country first either.

And of course Palin has more executive experience than McCain too but that's a fairly ridiculous argument in this case. I mean, she was mayor of a town quite a bit smaller than Lynden, and then briefly governed the 48th largest state. Her intellect, education, and critical thinking skills aren't even in the same ballpark as Obama.

No team of lawyers went to Alaska, that was debunked several weeks ago.

Obama's past is not reported? As in the 3 or so weeks devoted practically full-time to Wright this winter? I really truly don't understand this one. Obama's been called a muslim, a radical Christian, a socialist, a non native-born American, etc etc. He's had plenty of media attention over the last 18 months.

Since Palin was an unknown, she has received substantial media attention over the last 8 weeks. But that was the choice McCain made. Her newness demanded coverage, and then shielding her from the press was a strange move that I think ultimately backfired. When she finally gave an interview or two, since she had never spoken on a national stage, other than at the RNC, every word she said was carefully evaluated. But providing limited access was the McCain campaign's strategy. They chose it, not the media.