Thursday, August 26, 2004

I mean it. Really.

Don't panic.

The latest data point that's got the doubters in a dizzy is a new LA Times poll that shows that Kerry's slipped a couple of points in the wake of the Swift Boat Liars leaky raft.

Or not.

First of all, there may be more meaningless measures of a Presidential election than a national poll, but I'm having a lot of trouble coming up with an example. (Perhaps the combined wisdom of the blogosphere would be a good one.) While Presidential elections take place nationwide, they are not national elections, and state by state polling continues to favor Kerry by an increasing margin.

Secondly, a poll of registered voters is, given the realities of voter turnout in these United States, a fairly inaccurate measure of likely outcomes. That's why many pros turn to measures of 'likely voters,' though that kind of survey presents its own set of problems.

Finally, given the MOE, the poll in question, which is reported to show Kerry moving from a 2% advantage to a three point deficit, might be just as accurately be interpreted as showing Bush moving from a four point advantage to a three point deficit.

In other words, the poll doesn't measure an electorally meaningful outcome and what it attempts to measure is too close to call.

And we're still winning in the counts that matter.

So Don't Panic.

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