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January 10, 2008

« Good and Good for You | Main | Continent of the Future? »

Jon Stewart lit into John Zogby last night on why pollsters got New Hampshire so wrong. Zogby who is think is smart as a whip handled himself nicely in a very humorous and self-deprecating way. His parting shot was essentially, "but we got the Republican result exactly right,"adding as Stewart cut away, "that's why I thought you brought me on," laughing into the break.

According to Andrew Kohut, another super-sharp survey researcher writing in the New York Times, a big reason for the poling gaffe is likely tied to class and race.

[A]nother possible explanation cannot be ignored — the longstanding pattern of pre-election polls overstating support for black candidates among white voters, particularly white voters who are poor. ... Mrs. Clinton beat Mr. Obama by 12 points (47 percent to 35 percent) among those with family incomes below $50,000. By contrast, Mr. Obama beat Mrs. Clinton by five points (40 percent to 35 percent) among those earning more than $50,000. ... College graduates voted for Mr. Obama 39 percent to 34 percent; Mrs. Clinton won among those who had never attended college, 43 percent to 35 percent.

Poorer, less well-educated white people refuse surveys more often than affluent, better-educated whites. ... But here’s the problem: these whites who do not respond to surveys tend to have more unfavorable views of blacks than respondents who do the interviews. ...Why didn’t this problem come up in Iowa? My guess is that Mr. Obama may have posed less of a threat to white voters in Iowa because he wasn’t yet the front-runner.

Uh-oh. Makes sense to me and it doesn't bode well for Obama. Plus Hillary should pick up the Richardson vote. Change is starting to look somewhat less likely.

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Comments

Michael Wells

Race is always a possibility in America, but I’d go with class. As in Rise, the working and service classes feel left out and are more likely to resent both the college kids coming around and the pollsters calling, and not talk to either. They’re more traditional and know that they benefited when Bill Clinton was in office, while they’re not sure they’ll benefit from the vague kind of Change Obama is selling.

Personally I think either Obama or Clinton will bring change, if they live and get elected. Obama is looking more mainstream, picking up the culinary workers endorsement in Nevada, which may help him, and the kiss of death from John Kerry-- couldn’t he manage to avoid that?

Robert

What about Vote Fraud??

I actually don't buy the notion that conservative whites that don't like blacks in New Hampshire would vote FOR Hillary Clinton at all. Hillary Clinton is tied to Bill Clinton who tried to open the door wide open for gays in the military as well as affirmative action for minorities. White people like that would vote republican or not vote at all.

Vote Fraud can be easily accomplished through rigged electronic voting machines with no paper trail.

Based on some news reports I have heard Ron Paul will probably ask for a recount in New Hampshire also because of vote fraud.

Michael Wells

Actually those are the voters who elected Bill Clinton twice.

I'm disappointed in Ron Paul. In their geeky over-intellectual way the Libertarians have some points, but the racist newsletters in the news today undercuts the individualism message. It's like I liked the Barry Goldwater of Conscience of a Conservative, but was disappointed in the people who ran his campaign.

Brian

Michael,

The racism and anti-government dogmatism (i.e. libertarianism, fiscal conservatism, however one refers to it) are of a piece with one another. Its no coincidence that Ron Paul is the preferred candidate of nationalist white-supremacist groups. The following article from The New Republic is instructive.

http://www.tnr.com/politics/story.html?id=e2f15397-a3c7-4720-ac15-4532a7da84ca

Sean Bossinger

The pollsters got it wrong in New Hampshire, plain and simple. The key (for them) is going to be to try to figure out why they were so wrong. I'd be fairly certain that Zogby probably left the taping of the "A Daily Show" episode looking for a way to prevent the same thing from happening again.

One thing that is missing in the explanation from Kohut (and all the media outlets on this matter) is the difference between a caucus race and a primary election. I submit that part of the explanation for the differences in polling data and election outcome lies with this.

I would suggest that those electors who had previously stood for another candidate based on ideological differences with Ms. Clinton found themselves with a non-viable candidate, and subsequently aligned themselves with Mr. Obama, perhaps because they found him the less offensive of the two.

I could be wrong.

I still hold out hope for the change this country so desperately needs.

hayden fisher

The anti-Obama racial animus voter played a very marginal role in that election, if one at all. The divide is between the creative class; and the post-industrial hangers-on coupled together with non-thinking boomers and seniors who vote as the establishment directs them too.

Regarding voter fraud, hmmm, I wonder why they ran out of ballots and we had such a record turnout. Could it be because the rules allowed non-residents to vote so long as they claimed that they "intended" to move to New Hampshire. I rarely subscribe to conspiracy theories, but, this one dates back to the '70's; Reagan described how the same thing happened in California races all the time before they closed that loophole. And we have the anecdotal evidence of lots of cars with Massachusetts' plates being seen in parking lots at Hillary rallies the night before the election. She could very well have stolen the election; it would be a classic Clinton strategy. Why would the polls be spot-on accurate on the Republican side and not so on the Democratic side. All that said, the class divide clearly contributed to the results.

But fortunately we have another new candidate fresh off the press and prepared to do battle; and he adds lots of fresh humor to the debates: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxqiY5q9LTk&feature=related

Wil

Hillary won the votes that were given by voting machines. Obama won the votes with a paper trail. Who says vote fraud is third world?

Colin Henderson

I think it could be more than race. What about youth, and their reaction to market poll calls. Then layer in Obama's use of internet, and observe the 10x comments on his blog compared to Clintons. Don't factor out internet & youth as a missed tool by the polls.

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