Do the Polls, Pundints, and Predicitions Matter Now – or Ever?


As I read through the blogs or newspaper stories, very often I have been coming across links to other articles that might be related. These include things along the lines of – “Palin’s Effect on the Election” or “Obama’s winning Strategy”. When you click on the link you see the story is outdated. Outdated means it was written two days ago. When I start reading these articles, I read things that aren’t simply relevant or current anymore. It might be because of a certain pig gaffe that was played up, or new polling results, or a World event.

These articles and their thinking, in the 8 hour new cycle are so outdated that they do not even deserve to be read. Heck, look at my blog and my original articles. Palin jokes aren’t so funny anymore, they are downright scary. You look at the polls taken back in May that show Obama a runaway winner or the prediction a year ago that Hiliary would be the nominee. Heck, you don’t have to go that far back. The polls two weeks ago had Obama up by 7 points, the Electoral Map – two days ago from http://fivethrityeight.com had Obama nearly 60% chance of winning and 300 Electoral Votes. He is now down to 49% chance of winning and 268 Electoral votes. The problem is every poll I see, and there may be some contrary to this, measures a snapshot of today – NOT of what is going to happen. I think many of us, myself included, use this to monitor what will happen.

Some will argue, that the role of a poll is to give you a snapshot of Today and it isn’t meant for predictions of the future. That their real role is to monitor progress to your goal. True. They have that place and show you where work needs to be done. But when things can become irrelevant in a second, one needs to be cautious even with that approach. Obama is packing up his organization in some swing states now solidly Republican. Is that really smart? 52 days out? Who knows what tomorrow may bring that changes the dynamic again.

As for predicitons, unless they are taking into consideration the potential issues coming up in the next 52 days, they don’t mean much too. To say, ‘The Palin pick has stoked the evangelicals and with that core and the excitement of independents is going to bring McCain to the White House.’ means nothing without providing it in the context of how she may do in a debate, or McCain handles a crisis. Unless you do a little fortune telling of events in the next 52 days, you can’t fortune tell what will happen in 52 days.

The nature of politics and news today really makes predictions irrelevant – ever! Ok, maybe if a candidate is 80 points up. But even then, you never know what is going to happen in this information rich world. As I look at the polls, as a pessimist as I am, I keep thinking Obama can still win this thing (I know that sounds optimistic, but go with me on this). But, then I realize I have no idea what tomorrow will bring. Will Biden/Obama provide another gaffe, will there be a World event that changes everything, will the GOP pull out another suprise or a lie that sticks. There are 52 days left in the election, to think things are going to stay status-quo – in an election this close – is ludicrous. SOMETHING is goiing to happen that changes the complexion.

Two weeks ago the introduction of Palin changed the complexion of the race – just when the Democrats were getting comfortable and had a successful Convention. The point is, poll watchers like myself or blogosphere obsessed readers like myself, need to take a chill pill. You don’t know what’s going to happen next. When you are so passionate about this election, it is tough to remain objective – tough not to get caught up in every piece of news. Just remember, the story you read that will be coming out in five minutes about the most current events and how it affects the election will be outdated in two days.

While I am a pessimist and take a that view, based on this blog, I guess it could still be a benefit to Obama. The problem is the GOP has an innate way of turning lies, blunders, and concerns into positives for their campaign and negatives for the Democrats – regardless who’s issue it was. The obvious dime-turners could take place during the Debates, aftermath of Ike, or as they all continue to ramp up their stump speeches.

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