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November 2007
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Polls

Just a couple notes on recent presidential polls. I mentioned this on the last podcast. The media gets all hyped up whenever a single new poll result comes out that shows something surprising. In the most recent case it is Hillary’s lead evaporating in several early states. Now, there maybe some things going on, but these polls are all extremely noisy. It is folly to ever look at the results of just one of them and try to claim anything.

Just mosey on over to pollster.com and look at the charts they produce putting together the results of many polls and looking at a combined over all trend.

With today’s data, here is what we have on the early states:

Dem side first:

  • Iowa – Clinton up by 4.3%
  • New Hampshire – Clinton up by 17.3%
  • Nevada – Clinton up by 17.4%
  • South Carolina – Clinton up by 16.6%
  • Florida – Clinton up by 27.0%
  • Michigan – Clinton up by 19.3%
  • California – Clinton up by 26.7%
  • New York – Clinton up by 31.5%

Clinton is ahead everywhere, usually significantly so. In every state Obama is in the #2 slot… except California, where a decent number of people are still apperantly hoping for Al Gore to jump in. In that case Obama is 3rd right behind Gore.

Yes, it is pretty close in Iowa, and the way things work Iowa can have the potential to change everything… and we are still a month and a half or so out from Iowa. So a lot can happen. But don’t believe the hype when one poll in Iowa comes out and all of a sudden people are saying everything has changed and Hillary is in trouble. That might happen. Frankly I hope it happens. I’d much rather have Obama than Clinton. But looking at the one poll is foolish. At the moment, although it may change, Hillary is still running away with this.

On the Republican side though, things are much more dynamic:

  • Iowa – Romney up by 10.9% (Huckabee second)
  • New Hampshire – Romney up by 9.3% (Giuliani second)
  • Nevada – Giuliani up by 10.1% (Romney second)
  • South Carolina – Giuliani up by 2.0% (Thompson second)
  • Florida – Giuliani up by 13.2% (Romney second)
  • Michigan – Giuliani up by 2.2% (Romney second)
  • California – Giuliani up by 17.0% (Romney second)
  • New York – Giuliani up by 34.5% (McCain second)

OK, just a little bit unsettled, with Romney doing his thing in Iowa and New Hampshire. But Giuliani is in the lead by decent amounts everywhere else… other than South Carolina and Michigan where it is close.

Second place is actually much more interesting on the R side. But it is as yet unclear how much that will actually end up mattering. In certain cases (especially in the first few states) who comes in second might actually have a large influence on the next few states…

Anyway, interesting stuff. But do look at the places like pollster that aggrigate poll results. If you are ever reading a story that says there is a new poll by “X” and then tries to draw conclusions based on the results of that one poll alone, just ignore it…. until and unless the results of that poll are backed up by the results of others.

Oh, and as a curiosity, of those early states Ron Paul is running at #6 in all of them except New Hampshire and New York, where he has now managed to squeak into fifth place.