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Pollitis

By Joel Achenbach
I knew I had come down with something severe and hideous when, Thursday afternoon, roughly three minutes after I began looking at the latest polling data at Real Clear Politics, I refreshed my browser. Because what if there was an even newer poll! I didn't want to be three minutes out of date. A self-respecting citizen doesn't want to wind up in an awkward conversation like this:

Friend: Did you see the new Marist Poll?

You: Uh ... not yet.

Friend: Loser.

I'm not a complete poll junkie yet, because I still don't know how to pronounce Quinnipiac. I know that, when someone uses the word "Zogby," that's my cue to laugh derisively, but what comes out is often just an insincere chuckle. The really advanced junkies know how to use "Zogby" as a verb, as in:

Husband: The way I look at these numbers, seems to me we should sell our Berkshire Hathaway and load up on GM.

Wife: Don't go Zogby on me.

Back in the day, there was just the Gallup poll, conducted by one guy, named Gallup, who got all his information door to door and at cocktail parties. Now there are so many polls that there are two different Gallup polls, one "traditional" and one "expanded," soon to be joined by a third Gallup poll, "invented," and a fourth, "imaginary." The situation has gotten so out of hand that the polls have actually begun breeding with one another, which is why you have mutant offspring with names like Fox News/Rasmussen and LA Times/Bloomberg.

The disease of paying too much attention to polls is well-documented and presumably listed in the DSM-IV: poll-itis. But there's an overlapping disease that is something of an artifact of the Internet age: electoralcollegeorrhea. This is incited by the wonderful maps at such sites as RCP, fivethirtyeight.com and The Fix. A good game is to see how rapidly you can take the projected Electoral College margin and tweak the different states to come up with a perfect 269 to 269 tie. I've done it in less than 20 seconds and it required no great leaps of faith, other than the obvious one of ... well, you know ... McCain not being routed.

Under the Constitution, a tie in the Electoral College throws the election to the House, where each state delegation gets one vote. As I understand it, a tie in the House throws the election to the Senate, and then, if the Senate also ties, McCain and Obama have to settle their differences in a Steel Cage Death Match. But I don't think that's going to ...

Oops, gotta go. New poll.

By Post Editor  |  October 31, 2008; 12:08 PM ET
Categories:  Joel's Two Cents  
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Comments

Obama will probably win today - but this is a good thing - like when Carter won and americans spent 4 years learning why they would vote for Reagan (overwhelmingly). It is good Obama will be a terrible president - else we should grow too fond of him - bad quote, but in 4 years it will explain another overwhelmingly lopsided election for someone else.
The upside of the election - I don't think McCain had any better a plan and maybe, just maybe, racism will be shunned and earn it's place in history as an example of how terrible humans can be (maybe in the same chapter as Adolf Hitler and genocide). If this is a step along the way to rid ourselves of racism, then I say we take it. Hey, I can hope right?
Congrats Jimmy Carter, er, Obama - I await the promised Utopia. I won't hold my breath though.

Posted by: toendbegin | November 4, 2008 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Joel. Here's Dave's .02

Its kinda nice.
http://tinyurl.com/DaveTheFisherman

Posted by: NeilSagan | November 1, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Associated Press
AP poll: 1 in 7 voters still persuadable
By ALAN FRAM 10.31.08, 9:19 AM ET

WASHINGTON - Patrick Campbell worries Barack Obama will raise his taxes but thinks John McCain will send people off to war. He says that leaves him leaning toward Obama ... maybe.

"I'm split right down the middle," said the 50-year-old Air Force Reserve technician from Amherst, N.Y. "Each one has things that are good for me and things that are bad for me. And people like me."

With the sand in the 2008 campaign hourglass about depleted, Campbell is part of a stubborn wedge of people who, somehow, are still making up their minds about who should be president. One in seven, or 14 percent, can't decide, or back a candidate but might switch, according to an Associated Press-Yahoo (nasdaq: YHOO - news - people ) News poll of likely voters released Friday.

KEEP THROWING PROMcCAIN REPORTERS OFF THE PLANE OBAMA REPLACING THEM WITH JET AND ESSENCE MAGAZINE WRITERS- YOU'RE LETTING AMERICA SEE YOUR TRUE AUTHORITARIAN SIDE A FEW DAYS TOO SOON: Fairness Doctrine comes next - cut off conservative radio- like you cut off that tv station in Orlando-

YOU'RE WORSE THAN BUSH- HE DIDN'T TRY TO CUT OFF MSNBC! and 1 IN 7 ARE DECIDING...

Posted by: thecannula | October 31, 2008 11:50 PM | Report abuse

"Don't go Zogby on me."

That's not using it as a verb, it's using it as an adjective, maybe an adverb.

Posted by: majorbibo | October 31, 2008 9:44 PM | Report abuse

I still can't believe that McCain didn't hire Mike Murphy to run his campaign like he did in 2000.


The Three Stooges could have done a better job of running campaign strategy than the second string Rovebots that McCain hired.
.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GEtZlR3zp4c
.

Posted by: DrainYou | October 31, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Gort has been abducted, multiply replicated and is now being abused by the McCain campaign team in its final desperate effort to add four more years to the Cheney-Bush catastrophe. We've got only one day left to raise money and only four more days to knock on doors, make phone calls and boost voter turnout to a 48-year record. The turnout of the voting-age population was 63.1% in 1960. In 2004, it was 55.3%. The low point was 49.1% in 1996.
.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mg56KbtmARc
.


TUESDAY NOV 4th, 2008 - GOTV PEOPLE!


OBAMA/BIDEN-08!!!
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Posted by: DrainYou | October 31, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Whereas, some will still suffer the hearbreak of Maverick Personality Disorder:

http://tinyurl.com/5ggtte

Posted by: caraprado1 | October 31, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Whereas, some will still suffer the heartbreak of Maverick Personality Disorder:

http://tinyurl.com/5ggtte

Posted by: caraprado1 | October 31, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

DOOH!


CNN takes a look at what went wrong with McCain's planned Phoney Plumber Joe photo op yesterday. According to the McCain campaign, Joe decided he didn't want to go at the last minute, but according to Joe, they never followed up with him after making the initial invite.
.
http://ac360.blogs.cnn.com/2008/10/30/joe-the-plumber-a-no-show/
.


Either way, it led to one of the most humiliating moments of the campaign for McCain, who announced Joe's presence to the crowd only to quickly discover that Joe was a no show. An obviously flustered McCain then flubbed an attack line during his speech, and instead of recovering simply said: "never mind."
.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iucdy83OXcE
.


Here's more video of yesterday's McCain event -- absolutely hilarious!:
.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PvpUqjXiTqA
.


DOOH!
.

Posted by: DrainYou | October 31, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Last time, the Supreme Court didn't let it get to the House. So the odds of a Thunderdome tiebreaker are pretty slim.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 31, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Last time, the Supreme Court didn't let it get to the House. So the odds of a Thunderdome tiebreaker are pretty slim.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 31, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Joel. The only good thing about the mess in 2000 was your commentary.

Posted by: DIS2 | October 31, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

LOL! Aspergirl...that was better than his article!

Posted by: easysoul | October 31, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: MarkInAustin | October 31, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

This was written with a really substantial wit. Thanks!

"The disease of paying too much attention to polls is well-documented and presumably listed in the DSM-IV: poll-itis. But there's an overlapping disease that is something of an artifact of the Internet age: electoralcollegeorrhea."

"poll-itis": its incidence is comorbid with eating disorders and anxiety attacks

"electoralcollegeorrhea": this compulsive behavior is actually a clinical diagnostic feature of a particular personality disorder: Republicans having identity disorders in which they denounce the McCain-Palin ticket like Democrats whenever time Obama looks electorally unbeatable.

Posted by: AsperGirl | October 31, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Pollitis?

Isn't that, like, inflamation of the pole (oops! I meant poll).

Posted by: thenotoriousflavio | October 31, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Obama Supporters Using Huckabee in new online ad.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YADwYU-phpI

Criminal charges may be brought up on Palin for ethics issues? http://www.hotpres.com

Posted by: pastor123 | October 31, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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