Wednesday, October 27, 2004


Much is being made in this final week before the election about the polls, new voters, undecideds and the youth vote, most of it crap. I have a few quick thoughts on these, and am pretty annoyed with the major media outlets.

First of all, the constant and daily dissecting of the latest poll numbers is out of control and has to stop. The polls are absolutely not accurate; they only poll "likely" voters (ones who voted in the previous election), don't reach people who have cell phones as their primary phones, and even the poll companies admit they only reach about 30% of their target responders. So let's break this down- Say there are 100 total possible voters. 40 voted in the last election. 40 are newly registered and 20 were registered last time but didn't vote. So out of this 100 voter pool, a national poll would reach 12 voters. But wait, it's even less accurate! Say that of those 40 likely voters, 5 have cell phones as their primary phone. Say another 5 are like me and have caller ID and don't answer the phone when we see 800-numbers or unidentified numbers as an incoming call. So now we have a 30-voter pool to sample from. So using the polling companies number of 30% polled, the sample is now 9% of all possible voters. And that 9%, the 9% with time to chat with a stranger on the phone about their personal politics are the people that the pundits base all their predictions and trends on. Even when the talking heads acknowledge the polling problems, it is in passing, and then they go on to blather at length about what these numbers mean. KNOCK IT OFF!

I'll post on the new voters, youth vote and undecideds a little later.


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