Saturday, November 1, 2008

Presidential Poll Differences

With less than three days until the voting starts Tuesday morning, the presidential polls show a national lead for Obama ranging from 3 to 10 points. Different polls make different assumptions and they are not necessarily comparable. For example, one poll assumes that evangelicals will constitute 42% of the voters on Tuesday, which is more than twice the percentage they constituted in the 2004 election. The average of the polls show Obama to have a lead of about 4% to 6%. However, it is important to remember that the election is based on the Electoral College not on a nationwide popularity contest.

There are differences among the polls on a state-by-state basis, but Obama has a lead in almost all of the battleground states. It would take a significant shift for McCain to win the 270 Electoral College votes he needs to become president. While this is not impossible, it seems unlikely at this point. McCain seems to be making some gains in some states according to different polls: however there is no way to be certain what will happen on Election Day based on any of these polls. Of note, is the fact that recent research has shown that the vast majority of people who say that they are "undecided" have in fact made up their mind even though they don't know it. Sounds screwy? Well, there are ways to elicit opinions and preferences that are the basis for formation of a final judgment.

As Yogi Berra is alleged to have said, "It's not over till it's over" which should make for a very interesting Tuesday evening. It is likely that Obama helped McCain when he talked about redistributing the wealth. While this occurs all the time, it's not something a liberal Democrat should say. However, Republicans have redistributed the wealth of the last eight years, but in this instance the money has gone to the affluent and to the major corporations. Opinion? Go to or some other unbiased sources. On Tuesday, the endless campaign will finally be over and Americans can go on to arguing about other things.

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