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All Over But The Crying

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John Zogby appeared on The Daily Show and, in answer to Jon Stewart's question, very decisively and confidently stated that Kerry would win. He based this on the fact that Mr. Bush had not risen above 48 percent in any of the recent polls and that undecideds historically have broken for the challenger when the incumbent cannot rise above 50 percent.


On the other hand, John Mercurio on CNN (who has this hot geeky freshly scrubbed vibe going on), and who has been studying the electoral map for the past year, is indicating that Bush has a very narrow lead of 276 votes. http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/10/28/electoral.votes/index.html


I imagine this means everyone can simply stay home on Tuesday and not worry about this any longer. Of course, I already voted, so I intend to stay home and watch bad porn.




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> Of course, I already

>voted, so I intend to stay home and watch bad porn.


Porn is like sex -- even when it is bad, it is pretty good.


I plan on waiting for that geeky Gallup guy to show up on CNN and explain what went so wrong with his precious polls. Let's say you're a college professor, and I'm a freshman political science student. For my term paper I want to take a poll using the Gallup approach described below. Do you flunk me immediately, or attempt to rescue a kernel of truth from all the falsehood?


==According to data obtained by Steve Soto over at the Left Coaster, Gallup's mid-October LV sample—the one that showed Bush with an eight-point lead—has only 14.5 percent minority representation and only 7.5 percent black representation.


How plausible is this as a representation of the election day electorate? Not remotely plausible. In 1996, minority representation among voters was 17 percent; in 2000, 19.4 percent. In 2004, the minority proportion of voters should be more than this, because minorities are growing, not declining, as a percentage of the U.S. population. So 14.5 percent for nonwhites as a prediction of the 2004 electorate is very, very unlikely. It would defy both recent history and powerful demographic trends.


As for 7.5 percent blacks? Come on. Blacks were 10.1 percent in 1996 and 9.7 percent in 2000. And they're 12 percent of the voting age population. There's just no way in the world blacks will only be 7.5 percent of voters in 2004.


So, in effect, Gallup's likely voter approach is disenfranchising minorities in assessing American voters' inclinations on the coming election. That's wrong and Gallup should stop doing it.


And speaking of disenfranchisement, how about America's young people? This group is also full of voters who are relatively unlikely to answer the seven LV questions right and thus qualify for admission into the exalted realm of the Gallup LV sample.


Sure enough, Gallup informs us that young voters (age eighteen to twenty-nine) only compose 11 percent of likely voters. Well, that would be quite a trick. In 1992, young voters were 21 percent of voters; in 1996, 17 percent of voters; and in 2000, 17 percent again. And we're supposed to believe that young voters are all of a sudden going to drop to 11 percent this year? Please, this doesn't pass the laugh test.


As it happens, minorities—no big surprise—lean very heavily toward Kerry this year. But young voters are also Kerry's best age group this year. Systematically under-representing these groups in Gallup's LV samples will therefore have an obvious, and fairly substantial, effect on their results, tilting them in the direction of Bush and the Republicans.==



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If you are interested in this stuff check out




for WAAAYY more depth and detail than I imagined I would ever know. Basically mysterypollster describes the anomalies cited to how Gallup screens for "likely voters". A difficult and arcane art to be sure. But if I were a freshman poli/sci student I would very much be using Gallups information. They have been polling since the 1930's and have 70 years of trendlines and analysis available that is the bedrock of political polling. Plus to their credit they make all their information, including the raw data, available after the election to academics.



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