It has been the consistent position of this blog that polls are one of the evils of modern politics. Until CNN and the mainstream media started to escalate the "politics of personal destruction" to hyper-evil status (previous blog entries today, yesterday, and the last ten days), I regarded polls as perhaps THE greatest evil of modern politics. It remains true that you would be dong a service to this country if yo SABOTAGED polls by lying to pollsters, and/or refusing to cooperate.
Polls are meaningless this far from an election. I would do so far as to say they are pretty much meaningless even on the eve of an election, and they certainly SHOULD be. Anyone who VOTES a certain way, or does not vote, because of polls is acknowledging that he should not be voting at all--EVER. I am consistent in this position whether I like the poll results or don't like the poll results. The mainstream media, on the other hand, tries to USE polls to advance its own agenda by manipulating opinion. Further, the mainstream media knows no other way to report an election than with opinion polls. They would be lost without them. It is too bad they are also lost with them.
The mainstream media is flustered right now because the polls show McCain surging into the lead. When Obama was doing well, the mainstream media liked to talk about how WELL the Obama campaign was run, and what a GREAT candidate Obama is. With McCain surging to the front, suddenly the hypocrites in the media are adopting MY position: that polls are MEANINGLESS at this stage. It must be painful in the mind to be as intellectually DISNONEST as the mainstream media is. You don't see many stories about how well the McCain campaign is run, and how talented McCain and Palin are (although you see stories on HER, in between the smears, because of the obvious excitement she has brought). I don't need polls to know McCain is doing well. The evidence is everywhere. That does not mean he will continue to do well, although I am encouraged that the Obama mystique is GONE.
How do you KNOW polls are meaningless. Well, the Gallup poll of REGISTERED voters has McCain ahead by 4%. The same poll among LIKELY voters (same voters, screened differently?) shows McCain ahead by 10%. Which is the RIGHT way to poll at this stage? In other words, WHICH sample is valid and which is invalid, or are BOTH of them invalid? We don't know, do we?
Yet, polls are reported as "news" and "facts" with entriely different kinds of samples. Some even use ALL ADULTS, which would include people not even registered to vote and/or are unqualified to vote. Others use registered voters. Some "balance" Democrats and Republicans in the sample, at least to a degree. Others do not. Some include only likely voters. What more evidence do you need that this is all GUESSWORK, and EVERY poll just purports to sample a single moment in time, which may already have changed by the time the pool is out. Isn't it ridiculous to report this stuff as if it MEANS anything? Isn't the mainstream media SUTPID? I won't even go into the ridiculous "internals" of polls as to different races, sex, and "important" issues. Those are even more meaningless.
Just because I don't like polls, however, does not mean I can't analyze them BETTER than the people in the mainstream media. Do you want me to PROVE that the mainstream media is STUPID? Just watch.
Now that McCain has surged to the lead in most polls (I can't tell you how meaningless that "average" of polls is), you are hearing even more from the media about how this is not really a "national" election, but a state by state race. Therefore, the media suggests, the national polls are meaningless. This is FALSE. You could just as easily say that a discrepancy in the state and national polls means that BOTH sets of polls are MEANINGLESS (my position again), or that the STATE polls are meaningless.
Yes, I KNOW that the media people are trying to show that they are the smartest people in the room by pointing out that there Presidency is determined by electoral votes (state by state), and NOT by a national, popular vote. That is how Gore could win the popular vote and lose the election. However, the way the mainstream media talks about this shows they are the DUMBEST people in the room.
Let us go back to Gore? How far did he beat President Bush in the popular vote? Right. Less than 1%. At least in this century, NO President has lost the election by as much as 2% in the opular vote, and WON the election state by state. Let us assume that John McCain is now ahead by 10% (the Gallup poll as to likely voters). That is nationally. Now let us assume that state by state polls show the race a TOSS UP--even leaning toward Obama. Is that POSSIBLE? Nope. If you say it is possible, you are STUPID.
It is IMPOSSIBLE for a candidate to win the popular vote by 10% and lose the "state by state" race. It can't happen. In fact, it can't happen at FIVE PERCENT. It is almost impossible at 3%, although Kerry came close to accomplishing that. So it is probably barely possible at the level. The "state by state" analysis only MATTERS if the race is CLOSE to 50-50. Otherwise, the popular vote winner is ging to win. If state bly state polls show otherwise, it just means that the polls are WRONG, or that the national polls are wrong. This is just another reason to dismiss ally of this mainstream media analysis as MEANINGLESS and sstupid.