Wednesday, October 20, 2004

 

MysteryPollster explains Ohio polling variances

Mark Blumenthal on his MysteryPollster blog has a great post with a very reasonable explanation of why the various Ohio polls are inconsistent. The brief summary of Mark's analysis of the polling disagreements: Its an illusion. They very much agree - on the level of support for Bush:
. . . on the four polls released today. . . George Bush's percentage is remarkably, almost impossibly consistent: 47%, 47%, 47, , 47% and 46%. All of the variation is between the Kerry, Nader and undecided. That is the incumbent rule in action.

Blumenthal explains the "Incumbent Rule" which he describes as
the notion that the most important number in a race featuring an incumbent is that candidate's percentage of the vote. This rule itself is not an immutable law of physics, of course, but it relies on sound theories of psychological decision-making. Voters know incumbents better. Their attitudes toward sitting Presidents are especially well defined and firmly held, and the first stage of their decision is whether to support the incumbent. Regarding George W. Bush, at this stage in the campaign, the first part of the decision has largely been made.

By contrast, challengers are less well known and attitudes toward them tend to be more in flux, even at the end of the campaign.

I can't do Blumenthal justice here. Read it for yourself.

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