CENTRALISATION - is the word for today.
Is this open to all? I have a few...
Would you mind explaining what you are talking about?
As for the Reps, while Romney is still not the favorite, a win in IO, NH will keep him going for a good while.
Nimh, man, I know I've said this already, but you should work in polling! It's a miserable waste of talent, honestly.
A HUGE problem of condensing polls is that you tend to combine apples with pears; that is, polls based on different sampling methods and with different type of field work. A few biased polls will ruin the whole "sample".
Good analysis, thank you Chris. Many posts go on just the one latest single poll, leading to excited chatter over what could well be random statistical noise, or in the case of comparisons between pollsters differences springing from varying methodologies, likely voter screens, etc. You look at the overall trendlines, that's the way to go. Enjoyed reading this. [..]
One comment though; you're right to use the pollster.com trendlines, that's a wise approach. But one thing to keep in mind is that those are extremely cautious, for justified reasons. In order to not have them respond to the one or two new polls whose diverging results could well be an outlier, or the consequence of statistical variation or different methodologies, they created the lines in such a way that it takes a fair number of new polls showing a "bend" in the trend for the trendline to be adjusted accordingly.
For example, in the case of Romney and New Hampshire, you're right that he is in no way in any "free fall". But in the eight polls that were done since Nov 25, he scored, on average, 32.6%, which is a percentage point lower than he got in the six polls that were done in the three weeks before. That could suggest his ascent may have been stopped, or even that he has already peaked. The pollster.com trendline doesnt show this yet: his trendline there still points fairly steeply upwards, exactly because it takes more than a few polls to bend or curve it. At most the line will be made a little steeper or less steep as individual results come in.
What is missing so far to substantiate that Romney is curving downward are apples-to-apples comparisons showing him flattening out or even dropping already. The difference between the two averages I mentioned could just be a function of the two samples being made up of polls by different pollsters, who might have different methodologies and likely voter screens. For example, the latest batch includes an MSNBC poll that has him at just 25%, for example, which is far below where all others have him. (Without that one, his average has merely stagnated at exactly 33.7%.)
For what it's worth, when you compare apples to apples, Romney is still going up: in the last Zogby he's up 11% compared to late September, in the last Marist poll he's down 3% compared to early November, in the last Rasmussen he's up 2% compared to early November, and the last ARG has him up 6% compared to late October. So it's not sure whether the stagnating average heralds a turnabout in his numbers - but it might.
December 12, 2007 2:11 PM
Election 2008: Florida Republican Primary
Florida: Huckabee 27% Romney 23% Giuliani 19%
Those figures reflect a stunning change in the race since November when Rasmussen Reports polling found Giuliani on top with 27% followed by Romney at 19% and Thompson at 16%. Since then, Huckabee has gained 18 percentage points and Romney picked up four points. Giuliani is down eight, Thompson is down seven, and McCain is down four.
georgeob1 wrote:The polls do measure something, but the thing itself is variable - and at this stage based on hypothesis, not fact. I think people react differently to hypothetical alternatives than to real ones. That is how I rationalize the discount I apply to them now.
I would probably share your skepticism if it was just the polls about the horse race. But Edwards's strong standing in general election horse race polls is consistently affirmed by polls about issues. And that, in my opinion, makes it more than a temporary snapshot.
To see what I mean, let's first ask what priority people are placing on the various issues the parties are currently debating. The general picture you get from the various independent pollsters is that the top three are the war in Iraq, the state of the economy, and healthcare. The next three, not quite as consistently, seem to be terrorism, illegal immigration, and the environment. (Two issues that the Republicans debate a lot among themselves, traditional values and taxes, barely make the top ten.)
Having determined which issues Americans care most about, let's look at the opinions they are holding about those issues.
[url=http://www.pollingreport.com/iraq.htm][b]The War in Iraq:[/b][/url] The general opinion is [i]very[/i] much on the liberal side: by a 2:1 margin, they oppose the war and disapprove of the way it's being run. By somewhat smaller margins, they think it can't or won't be won, that it was a mistake to start it in the first place, and that the Democrats would handle it better. The war in Iraq is a winner for Democrats against Republicans. Among the Democrats, it strengthens those who took a liberal position on it like Obama, and weakens 'centrists' like Clinton who supported it and refuses to admit that was a mistake. (Edwards is somewhere in the middle.) [b][url=http://www.pollingreport.com/consumer.htm]The State of the Economy[/url] (Also see [url=http://www.pollingreport.com/consumer2.htm]Part 2[/url]):[/b] Throughout the current economic expansion, American have been lukewarm or unhappy about the state of the economy. That's consistent with CBO statistics showing that most of the GDP growth went to the top 10 percent of the income distribution, whereas the bottom 80 percent gained little in real terms (i.e., after correcting for inflation). Gallup finds that by a margin of 2:1, they rate the state of the economy as "only fair" or "poor" rather than "Excellent or good". Asked to identify their major concern about economy, Americans name the cost of healthcare, jobs going overseas, and lack of good-paying jobs. Generally, all this tends to give the Democrats an edge over Republicans. The issue of outsourcing, in particular, gives populists like Edwards and Tankredo an edge over the free traders in both parties, whose position has weakened consistently and sadly during the first seven years of Bush. [b][url=http://www.pollingreport.com/health.htm]Healthcare[/url] (Also see [url=http://www.pollingreport.com/health2.htm]part 2[/url] and [url=http://www.pollingreport.com/health3.htm]part 3[/url]):[/b] Americans are unhappy with the current state of the health care system. They name access and costs as the biggest problems. Although they reject, by narrow margins, the replacement of the current system by a Canadian-style single payer system, Americans believe by a 2:1 margin that the federal government make sure everyone is covered. This, again, should in the hands of Democrats, especially John Edwards, the Democrat who wrote the blueprint of the current generation of Democratic health care plans.I don't have time to go through the other issues, but the general point is clear: For quite some time now, the position of Americans now has policy priorities that Democrats have been traditionally occupying, bypassing the Republicans' pet issues. Moreover, Americans now hold opinions on most issues that don't just favor Democrats over Republicans, but even favors liberal Democrats over centrist Democrats.
Surprisingly Edwards now voices the opinions of the median American, who has moved far to the left over the last seven years. He is beating the hell out of the Republican candidates, who are out of touch with Americans' new priorities. By contrast, Clinton and Obama, stuck in "the timidity of hope" (Paul Krugman), have a harder time doing the same. (Just as an aside, that's another reason I'm unconvinced by Sozobe's musings about electability.) John Edwards's lead in general election match-ups is much more than a shaky early-poll success.
What's happening in the Democratic primary for president? A lot less than the headlines would suggest.
Would you mind explaining what you are talking about?