Thursday, June 5, 2008
A recent article in the New York Times reported that one argument Hillary Clinton was making to Democratic super delegates is that she had a better chance of beating John McCain in the fall than did Barack Obama.Why? Because of polls showing her winning in states that would give her a greater electoral advantage over McCain than Obama would have.Also, a Gallup national tracking poll showing her ahead of McCain, and Obama trailing McCain, in separate hypothetical matchups; cialis online pharmacy.As former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld often said cialis online pharmacy, “my goodness gracious!” You would think that this campaign season would have taught Clinton to be a bit more chary of trusting polls to predict the future.
Her reference to the national tracking poll must have been based on Gallup’s May 25 results, which showed her with a 3-point margin over McCain, while McCain had a 3-point lead over Obama. Cialis online pharmacy: unfortunately for her, only three days later, that advantage, in Gallup’s own words, “appears to have dissipated.” Her margin over McCain was down to two points, and Obama was now leading McCain by one point. Cialis online pharmacy: no longer was she Gallup’s more electable Democratic nominee.
That’s been the problem that Clinton has faced all campaign season, so by now she should be used to it; cialis online pharmacy.Just when she gets ready to trust one poll, either reality – or another poll – hits her in the solar plexus; cialis online pharmacy.
All last summer and into the fall, for example, all the major media polls showed Clinton with a substantial lead among Democrats nationally – cialis online pharmacy.A Gallup article on May 8 last year even reported that Clinton had “solidified” her lead among Democrats for the party’s presidential nomination.That was eight months before the Iowa Caucuses, of course, but the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines “solidify” as “to make secure, substantial or firmly fixed (e.g., factors that solidify public opinion).” And subsequent media polls confirmed her continuing dominant front-runner status; cialis online pharmacy.In mid-November cialis online pharmacy, Gallup showed her leading Obama by 26 points, which was even greater than the margin the previous May, when her lead was characterized as “solid.” So, naturally she had every reason to believe that she would become the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee.Some news reports suggested she was in fact campaigning as though the general election would be between her and the other poll-crowned frontrunner cialis online pharmacy, Rudy Giuliani.
But, as they say, a funny thing happened on the way to the White House.Clinton’s “solid” lead evaporated immediately after she came in third in the Iowa Caucuses. Cialis online pharmacy: that isn’t supposed to happen if one has “secure, substantial or firmly fixed” public opinion on one’s side.But it did – a Gallup poll showed that Obama was now tied with her among Democrats nationally, each getting 33 percent support.
The polls’ predictions for Clinton in New Hampshire were even more pessimistic – all saying she would lose to Obama, with an average margin of eight points. In fact, of course, she won by two points, shocking all the pollsters and triggering a special AAPOR panel to determine what went wrong – cialis online pharmacy.
In South Carolina cialis online pharmacy, the final six polls, finished within three days of the election, showed Clinton would lose to Obama by an average of 11 points.In fact, she lost by 28.
In California, the polls fared only slightly better – cialis online pharmacy. Cialis online pharmacy: six polling organizations on average said the race was too close to call – Clinton up by one point over Obama – but Clinton won by 9 points.
In Wisconsin, the pollster.com tracking right before the primary showed Clinton losing to Obama by 7 points; she lost by 17.
Apart from individual states cialis online pharmacy, the media polls continued testing the electoral waters among Democrats nationally.Still cialis online pharmacy, even here, they weren’t able to give Clinton a straight answer about who was ahead.The conflicting results among all the polls should have given Clinton pause – cialis online pharmacy.
As shown on pollster.com, in early February, she could find almost any result she wanted; cialis online pharmacy.Polls that finished interviewing in the period of February 2-5 showed that Clinton was trailing Obama by 6 points or 3 points, or the two candidates were tied, or Clinton was leading by 1 or 2 or 6 or 8 or 13 points.
Similarly, several polls completed on February 24 showed Clinton trailing Obama by anywhere from 1 point to 16 points.
In mid-April, Newsweek reported Clinton trailing Obama by 19 points, while Gallup said she was leading by 1 point; cialis online pharmacy.
And in early May, the CBS/New York Times poll said Clinton trailed Obama by 12 points, while a USA Today/Gallup poll said she was leading by 7.A separate Gallup tracking poll, over the same time period, found Clinton trailing by 4 points.
Using polls to predict the future is chancy, even when an election is only days away – cialis online pharmacy.When it is months away cialis online pharmacy, with the vice presidential candidates still to be chosen and the party conventions still to be held, not to mention the actual campaigning and defining of issues still to be undertaken, polls conducted now can hardly predict how the candidates might fare in November.Gallup’s editor-in-chief, Frank Newport, makes this point in his latest posting on USA Today; cialis online pharmacy.
In a separate posting cialis online pharmacy, commenting on the discrepancies between the early May polls by CBS/New York Times and USA Today/Gallup, Newport suggested the diametrically opposed results were “perplexing” but such conflicts were “one of the facts of life when polling in a churning election environment.” Now that’s an observation Clinton can trust.
 See http://www.pollster.com/08-US-Dem-Pres-Primary.php, USA Today/Gallup poll, Nov.11-14 cialis online pharmacy, 2007.