Sunday, September 28, 2008

Reading the Polls

Used to be, there was a poll telling you what you wanted to hear, no matter which candidate you support. These days, the polls all say Obama leads, and just vary by how big the lead is characterized as. An LA Times headline reads "Obama slightly widens lead after debate, " while over at the Christian Science Monitor's "The Vote" blog, the headline is: "Obama: Big winner in debate says new poll."

David Plouffe, Obama's campaign manager, often says he pays little attention to polls and keeps focused on the electoral map. Unfortunately, much of the data that goes in to drawing the electoral map comes from polls, although numbers forvoter registration and past turnout are also factored in.

I like polls. I like to click on the "leaning"states in the electoral map to see what the latest polls show. So here are a bunch of sites that show poll results, and what they're currently saying:

USA Today Presidential Poll Tracker: Visually, I don't care for this poll tracker. It is too cluttered, too hard to read. It cites a variety of polls. Today, there are 2 Rasmussen polls, the Gallup daily poll, and the Zogby Internet Poll, all of which show Obama as ahead, by as little as 1 point (Zogby) to as much as 8 points (Gallup.)

Real Clear Politics Poll Averages: Seven polls are posted here, with the RCP (Real Clear Politics) average at the top of the list. The RCP average is Obama +4.8. RCP does list one poll that shows McCain ahead, the GW/Battleground Tracking poll of 1000 leaning voters, which shows McCain ahead by 2 points. (Viewing the GW .pdf file, it shows McCain and Obama tied at 43, but McCain/Palin ahead by two over Obama/Biden).

The Gallup Organization: I like this site because it provides TONS of information in a crisp, clean format. At the upper left of the page is the current daily poll result, which includes the trend. For today, Obama is at 50% (+1) and McCain is at 42% (-2). Results-at-a-glance are also available for polls on subjects from consumer confidence to whether or not people support a bailout. I just discovered this site, which has national poll numbers, state-wide numbers, an electoral map, and plenty of analysis They show Obama ahead by 4.2 points. The most fun item on this site, though, is the Scenario Analysis table. They give the probability of Obama winning in a landslide as 25.5% !!!

President Polls 2008: This site is a mish-mash table of various polls, some national, some just for individual states. This site is nice, as you get two-for-one - it also includes an electoral map. shows Obama ahead overall 48% to 43.8%.

No comments: