Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Poll Position

by Larry Geller

Some links for you:

The Progressive Review (lower right of home page)
If the World Could Vote?

Update: commenter Seth pointed me to this one, which looks interesting as well:
FiveThirtyEight  (methodology explained here. This site has attracted a very impressive number of comments.)

We seem obsessed with polls and polling. The news media report on all kinds of polls. Using exit polls they try to discover how people are voting on the day of the election. We are so impatient that we can’t even wait to find out the results in due course.

There are also polls of polls. You may be interested in the three links above. The first uses a trend line methodology which is explained in detail on the website. Basically, they fit a trend line to the dots represented by each poll they are watching.

Sam Smith, editor of The Progressive Review, the second link above, has been using rolling averages for some time, and claims that the methodology works. Check out his maps and the predictions on his web page. He also digests them up along with other news if you subscribe to his email newsletter. He’s written extensively about Barak Obama’s candidacy, by the way. The articles can be found by clicking The Latest Undernews link at the top of his home page, or by clicking here.

Last is If the World Could Vote?, a fun site put together, of all places, in Iceland. Suppose the world could vote on who should be the next president of the United States?:

The president of the United States is a powerful man, probably the most powerful person on the planet. So everyone seems to have an opinion on who should be the next president of the United States. We thought it would be interesting to see who would be the next president if the whole world could vote. It's also a challenge to try to beat the number of voters in the last US elections. So spread the news!

This poll isn’t trying to be predictive. I suppose it would be, if we cared at all what people thought about what we are doing in the world.



My favorite "poll of polls" this season. Sports spread techniques as applied to political polls. novel. Very good explanation of methodology as well.

Seth, thanks very much for that one. I didn't know about it, but it looks good. I'll amend the original post so it won't be missed, since many people don't look at comments.

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Requiring those Captcha codes at least temporarily, in the hopes that it quells the flood of comment spam I've been receiving.

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