Saturday, September 20, 2008

Not So Fast, Sweetheart

Much was made this week of Obama/Biden supposedly regaining momentum against the McCain/Palin ticket. This discussion was driven by just one polling organization, Gallup. Some supporters of McCain freaked out a bit. Most of the national media, AKA: Team Obama, cheered.

As goofy old Lee Corso would say on College Gameday, "Not so fast, sweetheart!" The supposed momentum was due entirely to data massage-- not to the actual responses of voters polled. WizBang dug into the data and figured it out:

So, put it all together, and in the past week Obama has stayed steady or lost support in every party identification group, yet Gallup says his overall support went up four points. And McCain stayed steady or went up in every party identification group, yet we are supposed to accept the claim that his overall support went down by four points? Anyone have an answer for how that is even possible?

Well, actually I do. There is one, and only one, possible way that such a thing can happen mathematically. And that way, is that Gallup made major changes to the political affiliation weighting from the last week to now. Gallup has significantly increased the proportional weight of Democrat response and reduced the weight of Republican response.

The only poll that counts is, of course, the election day poll. Until that time polls like Gallup can be used to build a storyline favorable to a candidate. Be careful out there.