Sep 30 2008
Jay Cost at RCP points out a few slivers of hope in the poll numbers:
First, the number of undecided voters has increased in the last three weeks, from a low of 6.3% of the electorate on 9/8 to 8.8% last night.
Second, the polls themselves have been very volatile this month. The Gallup tracking poll had a crazy week last week, and individual pollsters are disagreeing with each other quite a bit. Much of the disagreement has to do with McCain’s share of the vote. The standard deviation of McCain’s share in the current RCP average is 2.8%. Obama’s is 2.0%. [The standard deviation is the average distance between an individual poll's result and the average of all polls.] By comparison, the final RCP average in 2004 had John Kerry’s standard deviation at 1.7% and Bush’s at 1.3%. This is a sign of volatility in the current race. Pollsters are finding fairly divergent results.
Third, there is a good subset of the electorate that claims to make up its mind in October or November. That might be hard for political junkies who have been following every twist and turn for 18 months to believe – but it’s true! In 1996, 30% of respondents claimed to make up their minds a day to a month before the election. In 2000, that number was also 30%. In 2004, 21% of the public made that claim.
These are slim rays of hope, but they do exist. Gaining leads while more people go undecided is not a winning strategy, but Obama is heading towards the 50% mark. I have suspected the standard deviation in this race is much wider than previous contests, which would make a 5% lead still a statistical tie.Â
And I do believe it comes down to that moment in the voting booth and whether we will go with an untested engima or a seasoned champion for change. We shall see, and this week’s VP debate may be deciding – if the condescending news media have not overplayed their hand with Palin. If they do their job right nothing Palin does will erase the media mask. If they overplayed their insulting of normal American behavoirs and views, then they will have destroyed their Messiah. Being professional propagandists one would assume they should know what they are doing.