• John Zogby's Poll Sucking

    According to pollster John Zogby, Barack Obama has closed the gap in Pennsylvania and now trails Hillary Clinton by a single point…

    The survey, which was conducted April 15-16, 2008 and came out of the field midway through Wednesday's contentious debate between the two candidates in Philadelphia, shows Clinton at 45% and Obama at 44%, with 12% either wanting someone else or left undecided.

    This would be fantastic news for the Obama campaign, except for one little thing: Zogby's polls are always wrong.

    At zero hour in 2004, he predicted a John Kerry victory. He had Obama winning California and Ohio. And I'm pretty sure he even predicted that Jim Carrey would win an Academy Award for The Number 23.

    Matt Yglesias considers why he's so continually garbagey

    This illustrates a real problem with the public polling game, namely the lack of incentives to get things right. Presumably there's some level of consistent wrongness at which people stop giving you the links, readership, buzz, and whatever else it is you're looking for but it's really not clear where that is. And, indeed, for your average media poll where the objective is to produce an "interesting" article accompanying the poll, you're probably better off being wrong.

    Suppose I somehow screwed up my polling and got the result that 50 percent of African-Americans say they'll vote for John McCain in November if Hillary Clinton wins the nomination. Does that sound plausible? No. Would it be a big story if I had a poll that said it was true? Yes. And if I'm in the business of producing big stories, then that means I run with the poll and come away very happy with a day's job well done.

    That makes sense.

    By the way, according to a poll I just conducted, not only will Barack Obama win Pennsylvania with a full 100% of the vote on Tuesday, but he'll also be made an honorary astronaut by NASA.

    Now give me links.


    Tags: Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Zogby, Pennsylvania

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