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Frank Rich (New York Times the Op-Ed Columnist) gets into the subject of polling numbers and questions of popularity and in the process provides some salient historical facts.

No presidential candidate was breaking the 50 percent mark in mid-August polls in 2004 or 2000. Obama’s average lead of three to four points is marginally larger than both John Kerry’s and Al Gore’s leads then (each was winning by one point in Gallup surveys). Obama is also ahead of Ronald Reagan in mid-August 1980 (40 percent to Jimmy Carter’s 46). At Pollster.com, which aggregates polls and gauges the electoral count, Obama as of Friday stood at 284 electoral votes, McCain at 169. That means McCain could win all 85 electoral votes in current toss-up states and still lose the election.

Source: NYT: The Candidate We Still Don’t Know

With the Democratic Party Convention between the 25th. to the 28th. August, the Republican Party Convention between the 1st. to 4th. September, only then will the stage be set with just two months between the end of the Republican convention the 4th November (a.k.a. election day).

447 Responses to “Polls don't matter (at least not yet)”

  1. 401
    Chris B says:

    A newspaper poll released Sunday said voters in Nevada are leaning toward Republican John McCain over his Democratic rival Barack Obama, but a significant number remain undecided.

    The telephone poll of 400 likely voters conducted Aug. 13-15 by Washington-based Mason-Dixon Polling & Research Inc. for the Las Vegas Review-Journal showed that 46 percent of voters preferred McCain while 39 percent preferred Obama, with 15 percent undecided. The poll’s error margin is 5 percentage points.


  2. 402
    Chris B says:

    Obama by 2 points in Virginia

    The Democrat leads his Republican opponent 47 percent to 45 percent, according to the survey released Sunday by Public Policy Polling of Raleigh, N.C.


  3. 403
    Chris B says:

    Poll: McCain, Obama tied in Colorado.

    Republican McCain had support of 47 percent of likely Colorado voters, compared to 46 percent for Obama, who will be formally nominated this week in Denver, according to the the Quinnipiac University poll. The poll’s margin of error was plus or minus 3 percentage points.


  4. 404
    Chris B says:

    Nevada: McCain 46%, Obama 39%
    New Mexico: McCain 45%, Obama 41%
    Arizona: McCain 47%, Obama 41%
    Colorado: Obama 46%, McCain 43%
    Wyoming: McCain 62%, Obama 25%
    Utah: McCain 62%, Obama 23%


  5. 405
    Chris B says:

    The Obama-Not Hillary Ticket.

    It doesn’t take a political genius to realize that Barack Obama needed to nominate a woman for vice president. Obama’s key problem is that there is no gender gap. In the most recent Zogby poll, he runs only 2 points better among women than among men. A Democrat should be running 10 to 15 points better among women.


  6. 406
    David Gould says:

    Those Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado polls are a little worrying. But we need to see more polling from there to be sure, and the conventions will stuff up that polling in any case.

  7. 407
    David Gould says:

    Oh, and in case anyone was wondering, I am disappointed but not surprised that Obama did not pick Hillary. I think that it was a mistake to skip her. This election is going to be decided by working class, predominantly white, women in Virginia, Ohio and Michigan. Clinton was the perfect person to get these voters in.

    It is my feeling that Obama is behaving a little bit like a president and not enough like a presidential candidate. Obama will still win this thing, but it is going to be very close. While some of his close advisers are talking about 350 EVs, my pick has narrowed to around 290.

  8. 408
    David Gould says:

    This is an article that discusses Obama’s strategy targetting red states and looks at the potential risks. An exuberant campaign is one thing; but the presidency is the prize here.


  9. 409
    Catrina says:

    David liberated at 408

    David – it’s a good article and nicely presents both sides of the sword. However, I think the comparison between Obama’s offensive the Bush 2000 California amble are a little off the mark. The California gamble was all about securing a large number of electoral votes in one state whereas Obama’s is much more low risk in that the opportunities being targeted are spread across multiple states and even partial success opens up more routes to victory.

  10. 410
    Catrina says:

    A slew of articles up on the NYT dealing with Obama, Byden and the convention.

    Networks Hope to Find Unique TV Moment at Democratic Convention
    Lots of details of the logistics in play for the next four days.

    When Barack Obama accepts his party’s nomination on Thursday before a capacity audience of 70,000 at Invesco Field in Denver, an aerial camera will hover above the stadium turf, using a TV technique normally applied at football games.

    Tasks for Biden This Fall: Travel and Attack McCain
    A.K.A. Fight Club II

    .. campaign advisers said Sunday that they were certain Mr. Biden would spend considerable time campaigning through Election Day in four swing states: Florida, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

    Delegates for Clinton Back Obama, but Show Concerns
    Numbers from the Times/CBS Newspoll (taken before the VP pick) concerning delegate feelings.

    More than half of the delegates that Mrs. Clinton won in the primaries now say they are enthusiastic supporters of Mr. Obama, and they also believe he will win the presidential election in November, the poll found. Three in 10 say they support Mr. Obama but have reservations about him or they support him only because he is the party’s nominee. Five percent say they do not support him yet.

    Anxious Party Hopes to Show Strong Obama
    In a similar theme to the above, this article is digging into some in the Democratic Party who are worried as the pressure builds.

    “Back in June and July, I truly thought he was going to blow McCain out of the water and carry 30 or 40 states,” said Donald Fowler, a former national Democratic chairman who supported Mrs. Clinton in the primary. “What has happened is that Republicans — McCain specifically — have really twisted his great charisma, this electric personality, to discredit his ability, his experience, his capacity, his judgment. I fear they are about to do to him what they did to Gore.”

  11. 411
    David Gould says:

    Excellent news on Biden being used in Ohio, Penn, Florida and Michigan. Add Virginia to that list, and I will be very happy indeed.

  12. 412
  13. 413
    Chris B says:

    David, what sort of odds would you give me, for the Democrats winning more than 400 and beating the 60 seats in the senate?

  14. 414
    Chris B says:

    Is there anyone else that will give me any odds?

  15. 415
    Chris B says:

    I spite of them not using Hillary.

  16. 416
  17. 417
  18. 418
    David Gould says:

    200 to 1.

  19. 419
    David Gould says:

    And I would like to see the states that Obama wins that gives him 400. I can see him possibly reaching 384 if absolutely everything went picture perfect – he wins Ohio, Florida and Missouri, plus Colorado, Nevada, Montana and the Dakotas. To get to 400, he would need to win two out of Georgia, Indiana and West Virginia.

    So: 400 is out of reach. 60 senate seats is a slightly more likely outcome, but not by much. They need to win 9 out of 10 winnable races, which is still tough.

  20. 420
    David Gould says:

    By the way: I would not accept more than a five dollar bet. Even on long odds, I cannot afford to lose.

  21. 421
    dogb says:

    Don’t do it David. Risky!

    I think the polls are lying to us. Obama’s real strength is in his ability to mobilise the youth vote and the youth vote is notoriously hard to poll accurately.

    These are people who don’t even have a land line to call them on. They communicate by e-mail and mobile. They’re not home at the times most polling is done. To your average pollster they’re invisible and they’ll remain that way right up until Nov 4th when they’ll come out and cost you that grand.

  22. 422
    Swing Lowe says:

    I’ll offer 50 to 1 on the 400+ EVs for Obama and 60 in the Senate.

    The easiest way for Obama to get to 400 EVs is the following:


    which leads to 402 EVs. If he picks them these, I’ll be amazed.

    For 60 Senate seats, the Dems need to pick up:

    VA CO NH NM AK NC MN OR + two of ME, GA, MS or KY.

    It’s more likely than Obama getting more than 400, but everything would have to be going right for the Dems to get it. At this stage, both are extremely unlikely…

  23. 423
    Swing Lowe says:

    P.S. I am also going with DG’s $5 limit (I’m just more miserly than him on this…)

  24. 424
    Enemy Combatant says:

    Arvo PolPeople,
    any of you shysters care to offer me your board odds on President Obama gaining >340 ECVs straight up, bearing in mind that in the spirit of camaraderie and bonhomie my investment would be limited to $5?:)

    Mon Aug 25:

    Sun Aug 24:

    Mon Aug 25:

    Sun Aug 24:

  25. 425
    Chris B says:

    I’ll take $5 on both of you. But I must get 400 in the house and 60 in the senate.

  26. 426
    Chris B says:

    Does that mean the max I can place is $5 or the max you will pay out?

  27. 427
    Catrina says:

    Chris at 425

    Just to confirm ..

    You are offering $5 to Swing Lowe at 50:1 and $5 to David Gould at 200:1 for a result of 400 or more EVs and 60 or more Democrats in the senate.


  28. 428
    Catrina says:

    Madonna Gets Political

    Madonna, who turned 50 this month, kicked off her Sticky & Sweet Tour on Saturday night at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. The BBC reported that the two-hour show took a political turn when, in a lead-in to a remixed version of “Like a Prayer,” a video sequence showed flashing images of destruction followed by pictures of Hitler, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe and then Senator John McCain. Senator Barack Obama popped up in another video interlude, but his montage included Gandhi, John Lennon and Al Gore. The tour arrives in North America on Oct. 4.


  29. 429
  30. 430
    Chris B says:

    Catrina at 427 correct.

  31. 431
    Chris B says:

    So thats $250 from SL and $1000 from David.

  32. 432
    Chris B says:

    I must get both not one or the other.

  33. 433
    Chris B says:

    428 Catrina Can’t wait to see it on You Tube.

  34. 434
    Chris B says:

    The Madonna concert is about to be on 9 News, after the ad break.

  35. 435
    Chris B says:

    The McCain campaign is outraged by being compared to Hitler and Mugabe. :lol: But Obama has to win over Hillary supporters.

  36. 436
    Chris B says:

    Sure, I’d vote for McCain over Obama over Hillary. Pigs *ss.

  37. 437
    Catrina says:

    Georgian President Vows to Rebuild Army

    TBILISI, Georgia — President Mikheil Saakashvili of Georgia said Sunday that he planned to rebuild his country’s shattered army, and that even after its decisive defeat in the war for control of one of Georgia’s two separatist enclaves he would continue to pursue a policy of uniting both under the Georgian flag.

    “It will stay the same,” he said of his ambition to bring the enclaves, South Ossetia and Abkhazia, under Georgian control. “Now as ever.”


  38. 438
    Chris B says:

    More coverage on ABC 1 News, (still getting used to that). Although it will be ABC 1, 2, 3 and 4 next year.
    They covered the convention center.

  39. 439
    Catrina says:

    Some interesting media trivia – about 26 percent of US news coverage was devoted to the Russia-Georgia conflict during the week of Aug. 11 to 17. That’s more coverage than the 2008 campaign, the Olympics and John Edwards’s affair. But the really sad thing is the following quote:

    So why is the latest conflict in a far-off place that many Americans cannot find on a map considered news? Mr. Jurkowitz says that the conflict has been told using many parallels to the cold war. “It was framed largely as a good vs. bad kind of a story,” he said. “There’s an immediate frame of reference for most Americans.”


  40. 440
    Catrina says:

    Chris B at 438

    Taking into account that it is 03:26 in Denver, gee, must be really compelling coverage!


  41. 441
    Enemy Combatant says:






    “It was framed largely as a good vs. bad kind of a story,” he said. “There’s an immediate frame of reference for most Americans.”

    Yeah, Cat at 439, when rubes are programmed as Manichaeans from their tender, early years at dogma imprintation centres, manipulative authorities can 3-card Monte them every time with 30 second versions of the 2 Minute Hate. As seen on TV.
    Rush Limbaugh and BillO will actually brachiate-to-camera for added emphasis when circumstances warrant.


  42. 442

    Losing your “house effect”.

    “How Pollsters affect Poll Results”


    (cross-pasted chez Poss.)


    “The Russian Federation was founded following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, ……” (wiki)

  43. 443
    Chris B says:

    Lateline 10:30 on Obama. Monday

    Foreign Correspondent 9:30 Tuesday Obama

  44. 444
    Chris B says:

    Lifestyles of the rich and out of touch.

    John and Cindy McCain Have 10 Houses

    With John McCain’s houses a major news item now, it was inevitable that someone would make a Google map showing them all. Here is a list of the properties.

    Here on Votemaster


    and here


  45. 445
    Andrew says:

    chris B, I thought they had 7 houses. How truly astonishing that the man has so many houses, he lost count. He couldnt even mention a figure when asked…

    I must admit though, the closeness of the polls have me worried. Correct me if Im wrong, but didnt Reagan, GWB against Gore then Kerry, all come from behind to win? Bearing in mind GWB and the repugs are more on the nose than usual, why are the repugs better at late campaigning, and can Obama change that??

  46. 446
    Enemy Combatant says:

    Andrew at 445:
    “I must admit though, the closeness of the polls have me worried.”

    Andrew, worry no more. Read the quote below and then the link and all will be revealed. Obi has a winning GOTV strategy, he’s got Team Bomb-Bomb shot to bits in the net/grassroots theatres of campaign warfare.

    John McCain’s traditional reliance on TV advertising is no match for Barack Obama’s more innovative ground campaign

    My Republican friends cackled with glee when they saw the poll numbers recently, numbers that showed McCain catching up to Obama in the national polls……. it was, after all, the first sign of life in the campaign since it began.
    But they are mistaken, as are McCain’s strategists, because the poll numbers targeting “likely voters” are flawed. They don’t take into account this rapid and significant expansion of the Democratic party, the millions of new voters who will come to the polls in support of the Democrats (many of whom either don’t have land-line phones or don’t answer polls). Some estimates place the disparity between new voter registrations between Democrats and Republicans at close to 35 to one. That’s a significantly larger battlefield than in 2004, and the wedge issues of that election – gay marriage and abortion – just aren’t getting the GOP faithful excited.


  47. 447
    Catrina says:

    New thread up …

    Last call for Princess Hillary
    This post inspired by Kirribilli Removals and editorial contributions from the same.