Pick the Poll you like - Presidential campaign polling disparity

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Depending on the poll, the percentages run from a dead heat (Zogby) to a significant Bush lead. I personally consider the Zogby poll more reliable, since the others have shown pretty good swings between polls. Any thoughts, comments on the disparity between polls? I'm not sure that a sampling of 700-1500 people in a presidential poll is as accurate as claimed (often +/- 3 or 4% margin of error). The big unknown is the electorate - is it that fickle (I say yes), or is it polling methods (I say yes to this as well)?

The links:

Latest Reuters/MSNBC (Zogby) Poll results

ABC News, CNN-USA TODAY-Gallup, Battleground (Voter.com) poll results

-- David (David@bzn.com), October 21, 2000


When the polls disagree this wildly, all you can do is discount them heavily. I am encouraged to see Nader at 4% nationally, though I would, of course, prefer a higher number.

The pollsters always poll among "likely" voters. I suspect that there are a fair number of "unlikely" voters out there who are flying under radar and will come out for Nader. Nader continues to pack huge auditoriums with paying voters. For example, he sold out every seat in Madison Square Garden on October 13 - about 15,500 tickets. He did the same in Portland in August - seating about 9,000 and turning away several hundred who couldn't get in.

This suggests he will surmount the 5% threshold to qualify for federal matching funds next time around. That is the level of "victory" that is realistic for the Greens in this election. Nader's coat tails should also help my local candidate, Lloyd Marbet, who is running for Oregon's Secretary of State position.

-- Brian McLaughlin (brianm@ims.com), October 21, 2000.

Question for right wingers... If CNN and USA Today are the "liberal media", always playing favors for democrats, and always bashing republicans, how come they report a 10 point advantage by Bush, much higher than any other polls? Why don't they just manipulate the polls, like they do with all of their political news?

-- (are@conservatives.paranoid?), October 21, 2000.

Adding to the difficulty in meaningfully interpreting poll results, is that rarely reported is the likelihood that the true percentages actually lie within the margin of error. Whether the figure used is 85% or 95% or somewhere in between, can have a big impact on the statistical reliability of the reported result.

-- David L (bumpkin@dnet.net), October 21, 2000.

It ain't over till it's over.

-- Yankee Pundit (Yogi@Berra.com), October 21, 2000.

Althought I have been a registered voter for many years, have always voted, I have never been intereviewed regarding a poll.

I do not want Al Gore to 'quit', 'concede' amd neither do hunders of my friens and acquaintances.

What is final? Putting George W Bush in the White House and forcing the majority of voters to live with the Republican viewpoints and stands on issues vitally important to the majority of Americans who did vote because of their strong beliefs in the Democrat platform.

-- B F Earle (Sangeran@aol.com), November 28, 2000.

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