Disputing Closeness in the Polls …

Posted in Uncategorized by groffellison on October 7, 2008

We’ve argued for some time on this blog, and occassionally on the XM show, that you can’t trust the polls.  The polls are suspiciously tight.  We say suspicious because we understand that traditional pollsters refuse to consider the following:

1) They’re undercounting young voters.  Youth voters (particularly those between 18-25) are behind much of the energy encountered during the Democratic primary.  But, it’s easy not to count those who more than likely don’t have stable addresses, don’t have a LAN line phone and are pretty much nomadic on cell phones until they’re 30. Pollsters seem inclined to only poll traditional middle-class (and mainly White) households.

2) They’re not counting people of color.  In fact, we know of prominent pollsters who sometimes include only 2% of respondents as being African American – even though they poll in areas with large Black populations and considering the overall U.S. population is 13% Black (we believe the Census Bureau undercounts on that, too).  Sometimes, only less than 2% of respondents are Latino; less than 1% Asian. Based on the energy level we’re seeing right about now, 95% of Black voters will be leaning Obama.

3) Voter registration rolls are swelling in all states, especially the battleground states where Democratic registration is more than twice or three times that of Republican registration.

Barring any kind of dramatic error on the part of Barack Obama, we just don’t see how this race is going to be as tight as people think it will be.  The three factors above will converge in mighty ways, favoring Obama.

Michael Cohen articulates this rather well in a recent NY Times blog:

Recently, I wrote here that the fundamentals of the 2008 race decisively favor Barack Obama. As is often the case, however, my words were met with a familiar riposte: What about the race factor? Are white Americans really ready to elect a black man as president? It’s a recurrent refrain among Democrats and even some hopeful Republicans. As Andrew Kohut wrote here, “56 percent of Democrats believe that many people will not vote for Mr. Obama because he is black.”

With the first ever African-American presidential candidate, race is certainly the great unknown of the 2008 campaign, but there is significant empirical evidence to suggest that Mr. Obama’s skin color may be far less consequential than some believe — and may even benefit him. At the very least, it is more complicated than many realize.


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