On the Drudge Report today are headlines about the other poll, Real Clear Politics indicates the average of the current polls is 11 points in Obama’s favor.
How can this be? One theory, known as the Bradley Effect, is an explanation for observed discrepancies between voter opinion polls and election outcomes in some political campaigns when a white candidate and a non-white candidate run against each other. Named for Tom Bradley, an African-American who lost the 1982 California governor’s race despite being ahead in some voter polls, the Bradley effect refers to an alleged tendency on the part of some voters to tell pollsters that they are undecided or likely to vote for a black candidate, and yet, on election day, vote for his/her white opponent.
Another theory is that the polling groups are slanting the polled base. An examination of the recent IBD/TIPP poll shows more people were chosen in the Northeast, than any other area and more urban than suburban or rural by a 60% to 30% margin (I can at least understand this since there are more voters in urban areas than others.)
The bias here is the selection of sampling is from the predominately Blue/Liberal areas of the country. This item from the Rasmussen Report indicates more Democrats were selected than Republicans. “Fifty-two percent (52%) of persuadables are unaffiliated with either major political party. Thirty percent (30%) are Democrats and 18% Republican.” Assuming that the “unaffiliated” respondents were equitably chosen, the distribution would still tilt towards more Democrats than Republicans.
In summary, Michael Barone, in an editorial for the Wall Street Journal titled, “Are the Polls Accurate?” provides a number of opinions why the current polling may be inaccurate. My opinion, however, is that most Republicans and Conservatives refuse to respond to polls leaving the polling agencies with a tainted pool with the resulting slanted report.
Be that as it may, we’ll all learn the truth of the polls the evening of November 4, 2008.