A Place Called False Hope

Posted by | November 1, 2008 14:42 | Filed under: Top Stories

In spite of poll after poll that shows Obama with a healthy lead, not to mention the state-by-state polls which would make it very difficult, at this point, for McCain to overcome a significant electoral vote lead by Obama, conservatives are clinging to whatever shred of good news they can the way rural Americans cling to their guns and their religion.

When Drudge posted a Zogby poll showing a one-point lead for McCain, based on one-day polling, the conservasphere went orgasmic, like Lopez at NRO bellowing about how it’s “still competitive.”  Matt sounds almost ecstatic, acting as though Johnny Mac is the comeback kid.

ZOGBY SATURDAY: Republican John McCain has pulled back within the margin of error… The three-day average holds steady, but McCain outpolled Obama 48% to 47% in Friday, one day, polling. He is beginning to cut into Obama’s lead among independents, is now leading among blue collar voters, has strengthened his lead among investors and among men, and is walloping Obama among NASCAR voters. Joe the Plumber may get his license after all…


But a more sober reading of the stats, offered by Nate Silver at the great website, fivethirtyeight.com, who explains it thusly:

Firstly, there is a reason that pollsters include multiple days of interviewing in their tracking polls; a one-day sample is extremely volatile, and have very high margins for error.


Secondly, the Zogby polls have been particularly volatile, because he uses nonsensical party ID weightings, which mean that his weighting process involves making numbers doing naughty things that they usually don’t like to do.


Thirdly, Zogby polls are generally a lagging rather than a leading indicator. This is because he splits his interviewing period over two days; most of the interviews that were conducted in this sample took place on Thursday night, with a few [Friday] afternoon. The reason this is significant is because lots of other pollsters were in the field on Thursday night, and most of them evidently showed good numbers for Obama, as he improved his standing in 6 of the 7 non-Zogby trackers.


Finally, there was no favorable news for McCain to drive these numbers. Polls don’t move without a reason (or at least they don’t move much).

You can’t blame Republicans for looking for any, even fleeting, sign of hope.  But false hope it is, and a realistic view of what’s really going on would better serve the public, even those echo-chamber consumers who only want to hear what they want to hear.

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2008 Liberaland
By: Alan

Alan Colmes is the publisher of Liberaland.

Leave a Reply