The Poll Numbers Are Hype

13 Oct

The polls have Obama ahead by as high as 11 points right now. Does this mean it’s game over for McCain/Palin? No way. The numbers will tighten up in the days before the election and this could go either way. As Jake Tapper at Political Punch notes in his post- Obama-Backers: Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself– the numbers right now don’t mean much and even ‘smart folks’ in the Obama camp know it:

That’s not what lots of smart folks in the Obama campaign think. They believe Obama’s poll numbers are artificially high, McCain’s are artificially low, this race will come down to two or three points, and anything could happen.

As Anne Kornblut and Jon Cohen in the Washington Post today remind us, “recent history suggests that mid-October leads are vulnerable…At this stage in 1992, Bill Clinton held a 14-point advantage over incumbent George H.W. Bush in Post-ABC polling, and it was as high as 19 points before the election, which he won by six points. In mid-October 1976, Jimmy Carter had leads as big as 13 points in Gallup polling; Carter defeated incumbent Gerald Ford by two points.”

CNN on October 5, 2000 reported that the “CNN/USA Today/Gallup tracking poll indicates that Vice President Al Gore may be opening a solid lead over Texas Gov. George W. Bush, after nearly two weeks of neck-and-neck competition. Today’s figures — 51 percent for Gore to 40 percent for Bush — represents a significant margin for the vice president.”

Obviously the numbers narrowed a little bit.

As will these as well.

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2 Responses to “The Poll Numbers Are Hype”

  1. Brenda P. October 16, 2008 at 10:23 pm #

    Umm. You’re using a Gallup daily tracking poll from 2000 to make an argument that Obama’s lead, as averaged over many polls rather than a single tracking poll, is artificial? Apples to apples please. Leave the oranges out of it.

  2. heroesforhillary October 16, 2008 at 11:11 pm #

    Brenda, perhaps you should re-read the post. The point of the article cited is that often in the past mid-October polls have been off. History proves they are inaccurate and unreliable at predicting the ultimate winner of elections.

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