Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Were the Polls Wrong? + Issue Meat

Some of the news organizations are running articles now about the problem with polls.
MSNBC.COM - Of what use are opinion polls?
Newsweek - a lengthy interview where Frank Newport, editor in chief of the Gallup Poll eats crow, while pointing out that polling for the Republican lead candidate was very accurate.

"We don't think that there was a flaw with the polling per se. By that I mean a sampling or methodological problem. The poll was well done. That's underscored by the fact that on the Republican side the estimates were remarkably close to what actually happened. We had McCain up by four, and he won by five. That leads us to believe there was something going on with Democratic voters in New Hampshire, and that it wasn't actually a problem with the polls themselves."

Lots of great updates by Bev Harris on the recount going forward in New Hampshire. It looks like only the democratic recount is going forward. I read somewhere that the Republican candidate Albert Howard's bank had held up the check and he missed the 3pm deadline set by Sect. of State Gardner. Can't remember where I read that, but Bev says that Howard has been cut out.

"Albert Howard, was cut out of the recount altogether. I'll write more on the details later this week."

Democracy for New Hampshire is reporting that they wil count all of the ballots by hand:

"Okay, I just got off the phone with the Sec'y of State's office; ALL ballots, from EVERY jurisdiction in New Hampshire, are being trucked to Concord for the recount. That means EVERY SINGLE BALLOT CAST will be recounted, and the PAPER ballots from the Diebold districts will be counted (as opposed to simply recounting the machine totals). The recount will commence at approx. 900am, today, at the Archives Building in Concord, located at 71 South Fruit St. Anyone in the public is welcome to come, so I suggest anyone checking in here please go down and monitor the process closely. The campaigns are allowed to name particular monitors (I imagine they get a position close enough to read the tick marks on the ballots, whereas the public just watches the process from a gallery). I'm going to notify the campaigns as best I can, but if any readers know people from inside the campaigns, please notify them and have them contact the Secretary of State's office to insure access."

And is reporting that contrary to MSNBC's Chris Matthews, the exit polls were not showing Obama ahead.

"Daniel Merkle, who heads ABC News' "decision desk" -- ...said the data indicated "a very close race on the Democratic side," and "that's what it ended up being."

"It was within a couple points," Merkle said. "When we're seeing an exit poll within a couple points, that's a close race." The exit poll numbers, he added, were a "surprise" compared to pre-election polls. "The exit poll was not showing an 8- to 10-point Obama lead. It was showing a close race."

On another front - once the voting starts the emphasis on whose ahead or behind becomes overwhelming. So I'm going to try to put up links that emphasize policy issues.
This is a good article on Obama's legislative track record.

Here are a few links about Mike Huckabee's "Fair Tax Plan". He wants to eliminate the IRS and institute a national sales tax instead. Some estimates say that the sales tax would have to be as high as 45% to raise the same amount for government services.

Here's support for the plan.
Skepticism here.
A "Fairer Fair Tax" here.

Something to consider: When we were doing research for the film, we looked into how long on average it takes to do your taxes. If I remember correctly (I'm blogging away from home) the IRS estimates it takes on average 15 hours per year. That's the same amount of time Dr. Jamieson at the Annenberg Public Policy Center told me it takes to stay informed in a Presidential campaign: 15 hours per election. I'm not saying that if Americans weren't spending all that time on tax forms they would automatically watch more debates - but I think there is a large segment of the population that is overworked and overwhelmed, and if they had a little more free time, would like to follow current events more closely.

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