Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The Secret Poll, October 1 Edition

I have been working through the poll numbers for quite a while now, sorting out valid patterns from the fakes. I held off posting the true state of things for a long time, for a number of reasons, but I notice that some on the Right have begun to lose hope and make sounds of giving up. So I will tell you plainly, that

We Are Winning

and can only fall in this election if you give up. It's been a long road and the enemy has been his usual foul self, with lies and smears and everything we have learned to expect from people who put power above any moral or honorable precepts. It's close, but here's where we have been, and where we are:

August 31: McCain 41.77%, Obama 41.06%

September 7: McCain 42.45%, Obama 42.04%

September 14: McCain 45.71%, Obama 39.62%

September 21: McCain 44.48%, Obama 42.06%

September 28: McCain 42.73%, Obama 41.62%

And based on the demographic responses, once the undecideds shake out if we work as hard as we can and continue to keep faith, the final popular vote will be

McCain 51.59%

Obama 48.41%

Keys to remember:

This is not a football game or a baseball game, it's politics. Support is built up gradually and won bits at a time. Also, some of the best gains are not obvious at first, because some significant actions take time to develop. McCain and Obama both fell back a bit the last week of September, McCain because Republican support fell off a bit, Obama lost independents' support. This is a salient factor in where the candidates' opportunities and weaknesses lay.


denise said...

I don't understand where you are getting your poll numbers. I would love for this to be true, but all the polls I have seen since the economy tanked are advantage Obama.

DJ Drummond said...

denise, the thing you have to remember about ALL polls, is that certain assumptions are made. Some are quite reasonable, counting a certain percentage for men and a certain amount for women, and the same for differen traces, geographic regions, and so on.

But the Obama Love Fest in the media is circular logic. He gets more press, so he must have more support, so the polls are weighted to show far more democrats than are actually out there. I'm not talking about the historic advantage of democrats to republicans 38 or 39 percent of the voters to the GOP's 35 or 36 percent. I mean polls which weigh as much as 45% democrats to 25% republicans. I will agree that turnout is critical, and if the republicans give up and sit at home, the democrats MAY get their 40-45% of the voters in which case the media-driven polls become self-fulfilling prophecies. But if republicans stay charged, then at the worst they can match almost all of the democrats' votes, and it comes down to a group that the polls have been strangely quiet about.

The independents.

Did you wonder why McCain took the tone he did in the first debate, Mister Reasonable and not on the attck, even when it looked like he had an easy line to Obama's weak spots? Obama was speaking like a democrat, McCain aimed for the indies.

Why have the polls not shown his results? Two reasons. First, polls have crunched hard on indies, because about ONE-THIRD of them have still not made up their mind (from internals at Gallup, CBS, and Fox polls), and so they are down-weighted, as little as 10% of the voters in some cases. And two, most of them are still making up their minds, and the debate laid seeds. It's not an overnight thing.

I tell you plainly, McCain is winning right now, when you take the polls, use their internals to back-step the weighting and re-weight with historical norms.


Ever wonder why Obama is nastier than ever? Why did they try such an obvious dirty trick with getting Ifil as the moderator for the VP debate? He's losing and he knows it.

All Obama can do is bluff, but we have to be careful and not buy the hype.

tari said...

Thank you!

Rand Careaga said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
lisa said...

Thanks for your work on this. I've been keeping an eye on your blog and you are really into the "behind the scenes" on the polls which is great. I sure hope you are right. I know we have to be careful not to fall for the mainstream media bias...and their headlines are full of lies, so why wouldn't their polling practices be altered to reflect what they want to be the end result. We've got to keep up the keeping up...get out to vote and make sure that those around us know the TRUTH! Thanks again!

Pam said...

I have been saying for three days: turn out, turn out, turn out!

Does anyone remember when Drudge posted the exit polls in 2004; the polls said Kerry would win Ohio and become president. Well, if we had listened and not bothered to vote, Kerry would be president.

We have to stay engaged and enraged; the media is trying steal this for Obama. We must steel ourselves to vote no matter how far the polls say we are behind.

Just vote and tell your Republican and Conservative friends to vote as well.

DJ Drummond said...

... a word about comments.

Profanity will get your post deleted. You can express an opinion any civil way you wish.

Paul_In_Houston said...

Well, sir, I hope to God that you are right.

I DO suspect that many of those polls are commissioned for no other purpose than to make us so discouraged that we simply give up and don't even bother to vote. My best hope is that the target (us) has a consistently better record of actually showing up and voting.

Also, I have no idea of how big a factor the Bradley effect will be, but feel it HAS to be there; Obama is such the flavor-of-the-month with some groups that I'm sure that many who have doubts about him may not admit it, for fear of being thought racist or prejudiced, but will simply tell pollsters (including exit pollsters) something quite different from what they actually do in the election booth.

We shall see.

Like your blog, having discovered it from your comments at The Anchoress.

Pam said...

D.J. how do you account for Gallop and Rass movement toward Obama; I read your article about Obama's weight problem, but how do you account for Independents and how do you weigh for Independents.

DJ Drummond said...

Pam, Gallup and Rassmussen have been doing something I think is a big mistake - it's called "dynamic weighting". The idea is that if a certain percentage of your raw poll of respondents are a certain party, then the population has changed and is more like the new alignment. This is how they end up fudging the weights, and why I wrote an earlier article calling them on it. In one 2-week stretch, for example, Gallup claimed Obama was gaining support overall, even though the party-ID details showed he was steady or losing ground in every category, and that McCain was losing support, even though the internal data showed he was steady or gaining ground in every category. That poll was skewed by changing the weights, increasing democrats' portion of the poll and decreasing republicans' portion.

You may not remember that Gallup had Carter leading Ford by 33 points just after the DNC. The truth is, that was a lie, a result of weighting the polls because Gallup thought after Watergate that the democrat turnout would be huge compared to republicans. Carter won the election, but only by 2.1%.

I went back and looked at the actual party ID of voters, and for more than a quarter-century it's been remarkably consistent. So I just took the 2006 weights and applied them to the support by each party, and when I do that, two things happen -

1. Change is gradual, and generally the undecideds make up their mind as the election gets closer, just as you would expect from normal people making a big decision; and

2. McCain leads almost all the time. It's close, but it's real.

denise said...

Thanks for taking the time to explain this further. I appreciate it. I hope and PRAY that you are right.

The Mexican said...

You always do great work. It actually answers my question of why don't they weight based on the most current historical turnout data? This fluid weighting based on assumptions seems so inconsistent in what should be a more consistent trend, there is no way the electorate changes its mind by such a large percentage in the span of a week. Based on recent elections, its always that 4 percent that make up their minds at the end of an election.

RememberSekhmet said...

Do you think that there is an effect in weighting coming from groups like ACORN and their registration drives? Do pollsters also weight their polls by the proportion of registered Democrats versus registered Republicans?

If so, consider this: Despite the intent of Motor Voter laws, generally people serious about registering to vote take it upon themselves to find a registration card, fill it out and send it in, or show up in person to the relevant authorities. In many cases, maybe those ACORN volunteers pounding pavement in the poor neighborhoods are registering as Democrats a lot of people to vote who will not follow up with a visit to the polls in November.

Anonymous said...

"Also, I have no idea of how big a factor the Bradley effect will be, but feel it HAS to be there"

I'm wondering if the potential for the Bradley effect is allowing pollsters more latitude than the norm. Pollsters are restrained by the election results; if they're widely off they become less relevant in future elections (like Zogby). In this election pollsters can be wildly off and blame it on the Bradley effect without the same risk of negative repercussions.

S. Weasel said...

Interesting analysis. I'm innumerate, but it makes sense to me. Limbaugh said today that Gore was ahead 11 points on this date in 2000. That was my memory, too.

I wonder how much they're deliberately cooking the polls and how much they are genuinely making their best guesses when they weight. See, the problem is, what sort of polling has the desired outcome? If they show Obama way ahead, will it actually depress his turnout through overconfidence? If they show him behind, will it make people on the fence feel better about not voting for him, on the grounds nobody else is anyway? But showing a close race isn't exactly helpful, either.

It's not that I don't believe they would cook the books. It's that...who knows how they should be cooked?

Anonymous said...

Good analysis. Keep up the good work.