Monday, July 28, 2008

Political Science Is An Oxymoron

Two polls on the presidential election were released today. In one Barack Obama led 48-40 among likely voters. In the other, John McCain led 49-45.

This happens all the time, and wouldn't be worthy of note except for one little thing. Both polls were Gallup polls. They were conducted by the same company, which then issued two contradictory findings to the public as NEWS. Also, somebody them paid them. For both polls, one of which cannot be right.

The Gallup Organization states as part of its methodology that polls until the weekend before Election Day are not predictive. They ask the question "if the election was today, who would you vote for."

I think I can answer that one. If the election was today, I'd vote that the Gallup Organization had its ass well-covered.


At 9:26 AM, Blogger Chris said...

The whole polling industry was ripped to shreds early in the primary season and there's nothing to believe things are somehow 'fixed.' But how disingenuous to offer two contradictory polls that allow Gallup the ability to point to one or the other with a 'See! We Told You So!' air of haughtiness.

At 11:00 AM, Anonymous Greg McHale said...

Hear, hear Michael. I was confused by it also - as I understand it one was registered voters, one was likely voters. Here's my vote - polls are useless other than the one that's held on the day of the election.


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