Open Thread

Polls don't matter (at least not yet)

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, 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 replies on “Polls don't matter (at least not yet)”

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.”

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

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.

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

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.

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…

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

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:;_ylt=AhQKMtF6uegho9sL_yf9sS4V2r8F

Sun Aug 24:;_ylt=AlHK83tadWVRqdvYUvsbCg8V2r8F

Mon Aug 25:;_ylt=AhomMjtYuM7tYWIqLYCtLdIl6ysC

Sun Aug 24:;_ylt=AgZG1FitedDy2c92MiEBKHhT_b4F

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.


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.

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.”

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.”

“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.

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??

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.

Comments are closed.