Monday, October 13, 2008

Don't get your polling info from the mainstream media

UPDATE: Apparently, the Washington Post changed their map because of bloggers calling them out on this. (Be sure to refresh the WaPo link or you'll get the old map.) Bloggers rock!

We're getting some real weirdness from the mainstream media in how they're reporting the state of this election. Check out the idiocy on As of this post:
  • They have Michigan listed as a "battleground state", even though Obama is ahead by 8.2% and McCain has publicly given up contesting the state.
  • On the other hand, West Virginia is listed as "leaning Republican" even though McCain is only ahead by 2.2% and Obama is fighting hard there.
  • Pennsylvania is listed as a "battleground state" even though they have Obama up by 13.8%
Chris Bowers did a similar and more extensive analysis here.

Bottom line is that all the independent sites are predicting an Obama victory, and many mainstream sites are fudging things to keep Obama's electoral vote count under the 270 needed to win. Why might this be? Bowers:
Maybe they are afraid of being accused of pro-Obama bias (probably). Maybe they are just biased toward McCain (possibly). Maybe they just suck at electoral forecasting (definitely). Maybe they are invested in a close campaign (absolutely). Whatever it is, you would be well served to never, ever listen to big media for election forecasts and horserace information. They just don't have it. Stick to the small media independent websites, since we pretty only exist because the big media websites suck so bad at this stuff. So much information is publicly available now that a few nerds obsessed with poll numbers are much better sources for election information than you will every get from big media. The lack of depth in horserace coverage on major news websites is actually how I discovered the blogosphere myself back in 2002.
I'm getting my forecasting information from:
All of these heavily favor Obama at the moment.


Blogger nigeleccles said...

Mainstream media always wants a horse race but so actually do the readers. There is no excitement in a race were the winner is already known.

Interestingly both candidates also want to make people think it is a close race. Obama wants to ensure he maintains his momentum. McCain wants people to think he is still in with a chance.

McCain does have a chance, about 1 in 5 by our market. The problem is I believe that price is based on something dramatic happening. Every day that goes by sees him dropping further on the markets.

Here is market:

4:15 PM, October 14, 2008  

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