This blog is still alive, just in semi-hibernation.
When I want to write something longer than a tweet about something other than math or sci-fi, here is where I'll write it.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

I gotcher unskewed polls RIGHT HERE!

A fellow in Virginia names Dean Chambers made news with his idea that the polls were all messed up.  Romney couldn't possibly be behind, could he?  Chambers thought it impossible, so he came up with his own data sets and called the UnskewedPolls.com. Right wing news sites paid attention and the rest of the media followed suit. The difference, of course, is that the right considers him a hero and everyone else - including Scott Rasmussen - considers him a boob.


Well, since all the cool kids are doing it, I decided to unskew some polls as well, though unlike Mr. Chambers, I have some basic understanding of mathematics.  Let's take the daily tracking polls, Gallup, Rasmussen and Reuters/Ipsos, and consider September 1 the starting date.  They did not agree on this date, but I skew the results to make this the baseline.  Being a dirty Commie, movement up shows improvement for Obama and movement down shows improvement for Romney. The main takeaway from this way of showing the data is that all these polls think Obama has gained about 5% or 6% on where he was at the beginning of the month.

They all agree that things started looking up on September 5, the date of Bill Clinton's speech. Gallup and Rasmussen thought that was a bounce, Reuters thought it was the start of a trend.

The death of the Libyan ambassador prompted Romney's comments on Sept. 12, but the polls disagree on whether those comments helped or hurt.

Romney's hidden camera tape is released on Sept. 17 and takes a few days to be processed by the entire news media. Ten days later, all the polls agree that Romney was in better shape before the public heard him speak candidly to the people who give him massive bundles of cash.


And just because I hate hiding the objective truth, here how the polls have actually behaved in September. Rasmussen gave Romney a 4% lead on September 1, while Gallup and Reuters/Ipsos thought Obama was ahead by 1%.  Now, Rasmussen has Obama slightly ahead while the other two think it's a very comfortable lead of 6% to 7%. The yellow line shows the median, which is the polling result I trust the most.

Once again, let me say that daily tracking polls are much less useful than keeping tabs of the electoral college vote, which is the real way we choose a president. It is possible to win a landslide and lose the electoral vote, but that's never actually happened. With the exception of Bush-Gore, the electoral victor has won the popular vote for well over 100 years, When it happens the popular vote winner usually has less than a percentage point lead, with the exception of the 1876 election, the stinkiest voting scandal our country ever saw, even worse than Bush-Gore.

This does not mean the election is over. The most these numbers really say is what every honest person is telling you right now. Romney is behind and the trend is going against him. He still has more than a month to pull out of this tailspin, but for all the money that is being spent, he's having a hell of a time getting any traction and opening his mouth is not helping right now.

Electoral college numbers tomorrow. Stay tuned.


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