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Reply #50: Thanks for the welcome [View All]

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Febble Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-03-05 08:43 AM
Response to Reply #46
50. Thanks for the welcome
There has been a bit of a misunderstanding over my position on "rBr" here. USCV refuted it using a bit of analysis that I don't think stands up to scrutiny (although at first I found it at least an intriguing argument, which was why I pursued it). So my conclusion was that "rBr" remained unrefuted, not that it was true.

We do not know why in so many precincts, the the polls over-estimated Kerry's share of the vote. It could have been fraud, it could have been sampling bias.

What we do know, in a statistical sense, is that the over-estimate was greatest where polling protocol was likely to be poorest (large precincts, inexperienced interviewers, etc). This suggests that poor polling protocol played a part.

How could it do this? One theory is that while both sets of voters were reluctant (50ish percent is a poor response rate) Bush voters, in any given precinct, tended to be more reluctant. It could well be that in poor urban areas, sampling rates for both groups was lower. But this would not affect the hypothesis, which just requires that for a given neighbourhood, Bush voters would be slightly more reluctant to participate than Kerry voters.

It may be wrong. There may be some quite different sampling reason. It may be that Bush voters tended to vote early, and Kerry voters late, and the interviewer had got the hang of things by then. Or that Kerry voters tended to vote in the middle of the day when the crowds were quieter and there were fewer misses. I'm not saying any of these are true. But if there is a significant correlation between the extent of the over-estimate of Kerry's share of the vote and the extent to which good sampling protocol was likely to be at risk, then it is strong evidence that polling error was at least part of the problem.

However, I think the jury is out on this because of the problem with the measure that is detailed in my paper. I think that if the analyses were re-run using my measure, things might become clearer. Including whether or not the over-estimates were correlated with factors that might suggest fraud.
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