Poll Dancing, and Hyperventilating Over Lipstick

From Steve Clemons at The Washington Note on Monday:

Now we’ve had a few days to see that in fact Sarah Palin has revved up a lot of Republicans.  She has also animated a lot on the left who fear her, and Barack Obama’s coffers are filling up fast with donations in response to the McCain/Palin ticket.

But among many progressive political junkies, of whom I consider myself one, a real depression has set in.

They see poll numbers showing a significant bounce for McCain — with one poll showing him 10 points ahead.  CNN has McCain ahead by two and the Washington Post has McCain and Obama in a dead heat.  But most other polls show McCain ahead at this point — and that is making a lot of pundits, writers, and activists hyperventilate.  

Guardian US editor Michael Tomasky wrote a note to me and a few others today encouraging folks to calm down.  I quote him with permission:

Let’s calm down a little. Let’s not live and die by the last poll or the last thing that Candy Crowley said. This will be decided by 1) debates 2) field and 3) ads, in that order.

Tomasky is wise.  There is a long way to go in the race.  I remember when John Kerry and Michael Dukakis were considerably ahead at this point in their races, and they were still defeated.  The same fate could befall McCain.

But this site seems to do a better job than any others I have seen of not getting seduced into the laziness of national polls.  It uses state polls to sort out what might happen in the electoral college.

FiveThirtyEight.com notes that there is new polling in five key swing states and after sorting it out, the analyst notes that McCain has made some modest inroads but that Obama still wins if the election was held tomorrow.  298 to 240 electoral votes.


Skip to comment form

    • Edger on September 10, 2008 at 15:41

    It’s the motion.

  1. at this obsession with national polls. They mean nothing – its all in the electoral college.

    I can get caught up in watching all that – not sure why. I guess its the challenge of the horse race. I try to put it in perspective though – just fun for me I guess.

    But yesterday I found it interesting that Chris Bowers said something I’ve been saying all along.

    With Iowa and New Mexico probably secure, I keep coming back to Colorado as the most important state of this election. If the campaign remains this close, it will probably serve the same role as Florida in 2000, or Ohio in 2004.

  2. My husband a poll guy has said all along that the samples are skewed. They are over sampling Republicans.


Comments have been disabled.