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Iowa: Where Things Stand (excellent review of Iowa polling & polling issues)

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Kurt_and_Hunter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-21-07 04:14 PM
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Iowa: Where Things Stand (excellent review of Iowa polling & polling issues)
Edited on Fri Dec-21-07 04:55 PM by Kurt_and_Hunter
Most striking conclusion: Comparing apples to apples, the Democratic race in Iowa may well have not changed in a month... only a point or two back and forth. (Some Obama gain) The ups and downs from day to day are mostly differences in methodology from one poll to another.

Iowa: Where Things Stand Dec 21, 2007

Notice the deluge of polls from Iowa and New Hampshire the last few days? It has been pretty hard to miss. We have seen six new Iowa polls in the last three days. Have we reached the point where, as one valued reader put it via email, do we now have "too many polls, too little meaning?" Is it time to stop watching polls altogether?

The big problem, particularly in Iowa, is the way a close race (especially for the Democrats) combines with wide variations in "likely caucus goer" methodology to thoroughly confuse everyone. And for good reason. Consider the screen shot from our Iowa Democrats chart (below) which shows the results for Obama (yellow), Clinton (purple) and Edwards (red) over the last two months (the light blue grid lines are 5 percentage points apart). Forget the lines, for the moment and look at the points. They are all over the place.

Put another way, consider the following results from the last six Iowa polls, all fielded over the last week. The support for the candidates ranges between:

24% and 30% for Clinton
25% and 33% for Obama
18% and 26% for Edwards
6% and 20% (on the Republican side) for McCain

Some of this variation is the purely random sort that comes with doing a survey (the part that the "margin of error" quantifies), and how hard each organization pushes those who are initially undecided, but a large portion also comes from how they define and select "likely caucus" goers. What makes Iowa different is that the last source of variability. It is bigger and more consequential than for other types of polls. So if we take into account both the closeness of the Democratic race and all sources of potential poll error, we really have no idea who is truly "ahead" at this point in the race. The polls are simply too blunt an instrument, especially given all the uncertainty about who will participate... (snip / much more at link)

http://www.pollster.com/blogs/iowa_where_things_stand.p...



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Kurt_and_Hunter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-21-07 04:52 PM
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1. .
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Kurt_and_Hunter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-22-07 03:29 PM
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Think82 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-22-07 05:33 PM
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3. Interesting... Not much change at all. People wont decide till the last minute.
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