Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Monthly Harumph - July

As more national polls come out showing Barack Obama's projected popular vote lead over John McCain by anywhere from one to six percentage points, and as more NY Times opinion columnists make claims such as "The election remains Mr. Obama's to lose," and "Mr. Obama will win," I feel it is necessary to throw cold water on everyone.

1. It's still July. Most people still haven't put much thought into the November election. October is when things can change and polls will perhaps matter more.

2. The popular vote is never how we elect presidents. If it was, we never would have had George W. Bush as president. Therefore the national projected popular vote polls are as meaningless as if we polled people on their favorite celebrity.

3. Swing state polls are fraught with potential error. Barack Obama's projected electoral college lead depends on polls that put him one or two percentage points up for the time being in states such as Indiana, Missouri, Michigan, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Montana. I will bet any amount of money that there will be polls in these states between now and the election that will claim that John McCain leads Barack Obama. These too will be meaningless except as indicators saying its a close election.

4. Polls can and are often wrong anyways.

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