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March 09, 2012

Why My Head Hurts (and I Don't Post Poll Threads These Days)

Polling numbers eight months ahead of election day rarely tell you the whole story.
Indeed, they will tell you conflicting stories as the state of American politics is fluid and always vulnerable to the unexpected.

Sometimes, the numbers turn downright schizophrenic.

Take, for example, Rasmussen.

I have a love-hate-hate-love-straight razor relationship with Rasmussen (and PPP, Marist, Quinnipiac, SurveyUSA, Zogby, Ipsos, PPIC, WNC, and every other company out there).

If you react to polling numbers as I do, like a child with attention deficit disorder, each new release is yet another big shiny thing. When the polls diverge, the usual response is confusion. When every poll contradicts the other, you may react like that guy who challenged Michael Ironside to a goofy faces contest in Scanners.

Sometimes, a polling firm will warp from a news source into your homless cousin who talks to the cats that aren't there. Take today's three releases, and tell me in 10 words or less what the hell are we looking at:

ELECTION 2012: THE CORE FOUR STATES: Obama leads Romney, Santorum in Core Four States (FL, NC, OH, VA)[beating Romney46-42].

President Obama's Approval Rating: 46/53, with 44% Strongly Disapproving.

President Obama trails Mitt Romney nationally by 2, 47-45, and leads Rick Santorum by 3, 47-44.

All released by the same firm within an hour of each other.
Now you see why I haven't done maps or polling threads in a while.

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posted by CAC at 05:50 PM

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