Browsing the archives for the polling tag.

Too. Many. Daily tracking polls. Update, 22 October.

Politics, Presidential Elections, US Elections, US Politics

The last daily tracking polls update I posted was on 8 October. That’s a lot of daily tracking poll results ago. Yet the bottom line is that nothing much has changed since.

On 8 October, the three-day running average of the daily tracking polls had Obama in the lead by 7%. Today, it has him in the lead by 7.1%. And in the meantime the clock is ticking on, and the window of opportunity for McCain to still close the gap is rapidly closing (or has it already closed?).

One major thing has changed though: there are ever more of the damn things. Daily tracking polls I mean. It seems like no self-respecting pollster can do without one this year (and to think that Gallup didn’t even have one in 2004!).

In early October you already had the long-running Gallup and Rasmussen ones, the Research 2000 one (sponsored by the Daily Kos) and the poll sponsored by Hotline and the alcoholic drinks business Diageo, conducted by FD. Zogby and Reuters started their own on 7 October; Investors Business Daily and the pollster TIPP followed on 13 October, and as of last Monday, ABC and the Washington Post present one as well.

daily tracking polls

Chart 1: All daily tracking polls

If you’re keeping a graph and you were basing any kind of trendline on the average of all daily tracking polls, this – well – sucks. Because every new poll comes with its own house effect, deviating from the others in its own ways. Zogby, for example, started off showing a 2-point lead for Obama when Rasmussen, Gallup and R2000 had it at 8-11 points. Then, just as the Zogby poll had settled nearer to the average, the IBD/TIPP poll came on the market showing Obama in the lead by just 2 points, when the other pollsters had it at 4, 5, 6, 10 and 12 points, respectively. And just when Rasmussen, Zogby, IBD/TIPP and Hotline agreed on a 4-5 point Obama lead last Monday, the ABC/WaPo jumped in with its own tracking poll showing a 9-point lead.

Finally, there was Gallup, on 12 October, providing no longer just data for registered voters, but separate numbers for not just one, but two distinct “likely voter” samples as well, one encompassing a larger universe of voters than the other.

Seriously, you would be put off posting new graphs too.

Which of the three sets of Gallup numbers do you feature? How do you deal with how the ups and downs in your average reflect some new poll having been added into the mix as much as any genuine shift in the numbers? And how meaningful do any of the numbers still seem anyway, when on almost any given day the five-to-nine sets of numbers you’re looking at have Obama’s lead anywhere between 3 and 11 points? (And that’s just the daily tracking polls!)

Chart 1 above, if you click it to enlarge, shows how messy and, by implication, uncertain it all is. The pollsters are all over the map in pinpointing Obama’s lead. But saying that is also identifying the obvious commonality. Every one of the daily tracking polls has Obama in the lead, and that’s been true since 17 September, over a month ago.

How big is that lead though?

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Too close to call

Politics, Presidential Elections, US Elections, US Politics

Got this cute mock-up of an electoral/polling map from my girlfriend; not sure where it’s originally from. But it’s inspired.

Obama, global scorecard


Daily tracking polls update: whacked out edition, 8 October

Politics, Presidential Elections, US Elections, US Politics

God knows what got in the daily tracking polls today, because they’re all out of sorts.

Daily tracking polls update, 10/8: click to enlarge

Daily tracking polls update, 10/8: click to enlarge

Yesterday, the Diageo/Hotline poll suddenly had Obama’s lead drop by four points, from +6 to +2. That’s an unusually steep drop for a tracking poll. It was the biggest day-on-day change in any of the daily tracking polls since 7 September, over a month ago. It was all the stranger because none of the other tracking polls showed something similar: Obama’s lead dropped by one in the R2000/Kos poll, increased by a point in the Gallup poll, and was unchanged in Rasmussen’s.

Today, the weirdness continues. The Hotline poll has Obama’s lead down another point to +1. Rasmussen has his lead dropping by two points as well, from +8 to +6. But Gallup has it storming ever upward, today from +9 to +11; it has Obama at 52% of the vote. That result, as Gallup’s Jeff Jones points out, is “the best for Obama during the campaign, both in terms of his share of the vote and the size of his lead over McCain.”

So which is it? Is Obama up by 11%, 6% or 1%? That’s quite the difference. And is he moving up or down?

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Daily tracking polls update, 6 October

Daily tracking polling update, 6 October 2008

Tracking polls update, 10/6 (click to enlarge)

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The daily tracking polls haven’t shown a great deal of movement over the past three days. As you can see (at least if you click the graph and look at it in original size), the Research 2000/Kos poll is still off on its own, measuring a 12-point blowout lead for Obama/Biden today, but it’s been stable. The three other daily tracking polls are roughly in agreement: Gallup and Rasmussen have an 8-point Obama lead, the Hotline poll a slightly smaller 6-point lead. That’s all roughly the same as the last three days, when all those three polls had the lead at 6-8 point too.

On the other hand, this stability in the daily polls does confirm the slight move that I signaled in the last polling update three days ago. I wrote then that “after five days of similar numbers,” with an average Obama lead of 6.3-7% on each, there was “a hint of new upward movement”, with the average lead moving up to 7.8%. Well, the Democratic ticket has kept that extra point and another extra half: the average Obama lead has been 8.3-8.5% since.

This seems to have become something of a pattern in the past month or so. Obama moves up a couple of points, stabilises at the new level for a few days, then moves up a couple of points again.

The Research 2000/Kos poll, which has had the largest or shared largest Obama lead in all but 3 of its 26 days of existence so far, is becoming a bit of a distraction. It’s not entirely easy to take a poll at face value that so consistently diverges from the others, especially if it’s a poll commissioned by the Daily Kos and it’s diverging in favour of Obama. But even without taking the R2000/Kos poll into account, today’s numbers are very good for Obama.

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Tracking polls update, 3 October

Politics, Presidential Elections, US Elections, US Politics

The daily tracking polls have been relatively stable over the last three days, since the previous polling update here; hence also the absence of intermittent updates. But today’s polls are interesting because they do not, or hardly, include any impact the Veep debate might have. So they can be used as a yardstick for measuring any such impact in three days’ time, when most of the tracking polls will have a sample completely from after the debate.

(There’s some trickiness involved, of course, in that the Veep debate will hardly be the only development impacting opinions; what about the Senate vote for the bailout bill, for example? Or, as Gallup points out, “the new Labor Department report out today, showing a bigger job loss in September than many analysts had predicted”?)

Daily tracking polls update, 3 October 2008

Daily tracking polls, 10/3 (click to enlarge)

Here’s the graph. Gallup’s poll bounced around a little the last few days, with Obama’s lead shrinking from 8% to 4% between Monday and Wednesday, and increasing to 7% again by today. The Rasmussen and Hotline poll have remained almost entirely stable and similar, showing an Obama lead of 5-7%. And the Daily Kos tracking poll, conducted by Research 2000, is off on its lonesome showing a significantly larger Obama lead of 10-11%.

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Reviewing the average of the four polls, however, there’s a hint of new movement today.

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Tracking polls update, 30 September

Politics, Presidential Elections, US Elections, US Politics

Today’s daily tracking polls offer a mixed picture, roughly showing a stabilisation of Obama’s lead.

Daily tracking polls, 30 September

Daily tracking polls, 9/30 - click to enlarge

Gallup has Obama’s lead down 2 points, from +8 to +6, but the other three trackers all have his lead increasing by a percentage point. Rasmussen and Hotline both have it growing from +5 to +6, while Research 2000, the Daily Kos-sponsored poll, has him going up from +9 to +10.

Both Rasmussen and Hotline have basically has Obama’s lead stable at 5-6 points for four days in a row now. Basically, it seems Obama’s lead grew as the financial crisis first became clear, then stabilised, made another jump when McCain “suspended” his campaign, and now has stabilised again.

Obama’s well; impact of debate hard to distinguish from impact of McCain’s political stunts last week

McCain announced the suspension of his campaign on Wednesday the 24th. The first day of polling after this announcement was included in the daily tracking poll releases of the 26th, and that day Obama’s average lead in the tracking polls jumped from 3.3% to 5%. As the three- and four-day rolling polls started including more days from after McCain’s announcement, Obama’s average lead increased further, to 5.5% on Saturday, 6.5% on Sunday and 6.8% on Monday. The public was obviously not impressed by McCain’s political theatre.

By then of course the debate had taken place too, though. The first day of polling after the debate was included in the releases of Sunday the 28th, when Obama’s average lead jumped up a full point to 6.5%. But that jump can’t be read to directly indicate the impact of the debate. That’s also the day, for most of the tracking polls, when the last pre-suspension day of polling rolled out from the sample. In short, just like the previous two days which also saw notable gains for Obama, it was a day on which a day’s worth of polling from before McCain’s suspension of the campaign was replaced by a day’s worth of post-suspension polling.

It’s the two days since that which seem a more logical focus for measuring the impact of the debate. And on these two days, Obama’s lead basically stabilised, with his average lead rising from 6.5% to 6.8% and 7.0%. Just going on these tracking polls, the debate was indeed something of a draw, then. Which arguably counts as a tactical victory for Obama, since he’s the one ahead, and a draw is a perfectly adequate result if you’re 7 points out ahead.

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