Pollster.com

Articles and Analysis

 

POLL: Daily Tracking (7/28-30)


Rasmussen Reports
7/28-30/08; 3,000 LV, 2%
Mode: IVR

National
Obama 48, McCain 46

Gallup Poll
7/28-30/08; 2,679 LV, 2%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

National
Obama 45, McCain 44

 

Comments
OGLiberal:

OK...these tracking polls drive me nuts. I know we're not supposed to pay attention to these this far out and I know about "noise" but there are definite patterns that can't be ruled out. And the latest baffles me.

I'll take Gallup as the example since their shift over the past two weeks has been greater - in both directions. Before Obama went on his trip, he and McCain were virtually tied. It was a successful trip but mostly due to the imagery - in the bigger scheme of things, not much of substance occurred and it didn't really address many substantive issues. (other than the first portion - the Iraq/Afghanistan visit) I expected a little bump for Obama. But soon after his Berlin speech - which, like the trip, had great imagery and sounded good but didn't really address any significant issue - his Gallup lead shot to 49-40. Within a few days, though, this lead disappeared and it's now back to a statistical tie, a 45-44 Obama lead.

So his lead jumps to 9pts based largely on a nice but issue-light speech, then immediately drops back down to 1pt after the media and McCain decided that he's presumptuous. Notice that the total number selecting either McCain or Obama was and remains 89. So the undecided/other numbers are the same - 11%.

I lay all this because I have a question for those of you who are more poll savvy than I. Is there a scientific/statistical explanation for this? Or do a significant number of people really allow their preference for the most important political office in this country and the world to be swayed from day-to-day based mostly on superficial stuff? (speeches, silly ads, etc)

____________________

TheVoice99:

Umm, there was no europe bounce - ever. It was all noise. Yes, no need to pay attention to them at this point......

____________________

Uri:

@TheVoice99: Really?
I somehow remember seeing this yesterday:

"Comments
TheVoice99:
Oh, but wait, I thought "Undecided" said that there was no bounce after the europe trip?
ooops.
Posted on July 30, 2008 5:15 PM "

____________________

brambster:

@OGLiberal

There is a weekly pattern to Gallup's daily tracking that is unmistakable. By Sunday or Monday Obama will be widening his lead again. This has existed since at least June.

The reasons for this must have something to do with what day of the week they are polling on, and the effect might be amplified by their adjustments for demographics. Clearly one group is stronger on weekends while another is stronger in the middle of the week. I have seen that Gallup has a policy of call-backs for those that don't answer, and I suspect that Obama supporters might either work late on weeknights or otherwise be less likely to answer phones. It is also possible that McCain supporters are more likely to be away during the weekends.

When they do their call-backs and work those into the results, they are either adding these back in retroactively into their 3 day average causing these sine waves, or they are adding them into the most recent day, or they are throwing out results after only 3 day's of tries. It would be interesting to know what this was.

I suspect that Obama's true support lies in his Monday-Tuesday numbers, or slightly above the average of what Gallup shows. This effect might also show up in other polls, especially if they don't do call-backs or do it for only a short period of time. For some reason Rasmussen seems to have their own sine wave pattern that moves independent of Gallup. They do more weighting, also including party ID, and they also adjust their party ID weighting monthly, so that method may be introducing it's own predictable variability.

If you average these two massively large tracking polls with all of the other national polls it's clear that Obama underperforms in these two tracking polls, and that's why most don't seem to pay much attention to the ebb and flow of them. Clearly there's hardly any news outside of Obama's trip that would really start to push a change among those that are paying a lot of attention now. McCain clearly isn't picking up support in the poll averages, and the rest of it is just noise.

____________________



Post a comment




Please be patient while your comment posts - sometimes it takes a minute or two. To check your comment, please wait 60 seconds and click your browser's refresh button. Note that comments with three or more hyperlinks will be held for approval.

MAP - US, AL, AK, AZ, AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, NE, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NY, NC, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, WA, WV, WI, WY, PR