The Bias of the Unbiased: You know how some guys are real sports nuts and can quote statistics like they are reading the financials of an annual report? “Manning has a 92 rating, 93 if he is playing in a city that starts with the letter “N” and it is at night.” The other night I was at a public internet kiosk where guy was rushing in just to see the score of some game. Cool I suppose, everyone has to have a hobby.
I find myself in this same situation however with the polls for the 2008 election. Yes, that event that is still 14 months away. It is always amazing to me how one poll can show a candidate up by a large margin and another shows that same candidate down by the same margin. Sometimes the difference is extreme.
Polls tend to sway people. If you see that your candidate not doing well you might start looking around. Sure, there are a lot of variations to how these polls are conducted and that makes a great difference. For instance, ask people on the street how they are going to vote and you will get one answer, ask registered voters and you will get another. Call people at home during the day you are going to get one slant, at night another. The brilliant minds who do these things know exactly what they are doing and how to best slant the polls.
Two indicators that I watch are www.RealClearPolitics.com and www.rasmussenreports.com. I like Rasmussen because in the last election they seemed to be the most accurate. I really don't care if the candidate that I am endorsing is fairing well of the poll isn't accurate. So for me Rasmussen is the tops. Second is Real Clear Politics. The thing I like about them is they average all of the polls into one. That seems to give a better sampling because you are lumping everyone into a big pot.
But, what I find troubling is that the good people at Real Clear Politics don't seem to be that dedicated to re-indexing their polls on a timely manner. To their credit, it might be one guy in his apartment doing this Matt Drudge style. Time might be limited and they just don't have the time to do this daily. As I look at it now they have the Rasmussen numbers from six days ago. A lot has changed since then. Is it a bias, or is it a lack of time, hard to tell.
All I know is that Thompson got a nice bounce over the weekend and is now back up 5 points over Giuliani. Hillary is currently 12 points over Obama, and starting to slip a little there. Fourteen months to go, this will be interesting!