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Sunday, 7 September 2008

The only poll that counts

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Yet again reading in the sundays UK coverage of the Presidential election "race tightening" and nothing but reporting of the national poll numbers.

None of this matters as the only poll that counts is the electoral one. Huh? This is the one George Bush won in 2000, despite having less votes nationally than Gore. Each state gets so many 'electors' and it's the total of them which decides the winner. Not called the 'United States' for nothing.

And in that poll - the only poll that counts - currently stands at:
Obama 301 McCain 224 Ties 13
So it's no wonder that the cool heads at Intrade, who put money on outcomes, currently have:
Obama win 311 to 227
Obama has been leading, by these sorts of margins, in these real-world polls since June. Of course this could change but every indicator is that it's not exactly 'tight'. Bear this in mind as you read non-stop UK coverage about a so-called 'tight' race .... journalists have a vested interest in ignoring the only poll that counts.


On Palin, this is what she's up against in the vice-presidential debate. I predict a knockout:

Postscript: I've been reminded that the pollsters also have an interest in this being 'tight'. Plus the New York Times has more today on that electoral vote map showing places like the Dakotas 'in play'.

Postscript: Here's another reality check. Obama will have 1.5 million organisers on the ground for the election - thanks to the web, all the groundwork which I've been documenting. This is something like 5X what Karl Rove ever managed.

Palin may indeed 'energize the base' but these numbers, alongside the sustained voter-registration effort, which has driven Democrat-aligning voter sign-ups for months, is yet more evidence that all the evidence is pointing to Obama winning.

Postscript: A point raised by a commentator as well as some pundits is the 'Bradley effect', where people say they'll vote for the African-American candidate to pollsters but don't. Short answer to this is that no-one knows until November 5th. But, as I note, those betting money on the outcome still hold that this will be negligible and are betting Obama. I'd also add that the evidence from the primaries shows a negligible to non-existent Bradley effect.


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