Polls? Who Needs ‘Em?

Polls this season are like an old dude with a prostate problem: hit and miss and likely to leave a mess on your floor.

It seems like it should be straightforward. Ask some people how likely they are to vote, who they’re going to vote for, and what party their affiliated with. Extrapphone.jpgolate from there.

Except … who are you asking? Is it old people with landlines who are home at 5 and will actually talk to a pollster? Where are they geographically? What race are they? How much money do they make? Do they own a television? Are they lying to you for fun?

And where are you getting those numbers? Pennsylvania polls are a great example of how many things could be very, very wrong. The Clinton strategy is to pull in all the blue-collar tried-and-true old school Democrats. They’re registered, have been Dems for decades, might actually have a home phone line and might even talk when they get the call.

Compare that to Obama’s strategy. He’s trying to fight an uphill battle, yes, but what makes it even tougher for him is Pa.’s closed primary. The independents and switch-over Republicans can’t vote for him unless they change their party affiliation, and that’s what he’s trying get them to do. The campaign is burning through registration forms (note: the campaign is upstairs from my office, and I get to hear them complain). But what polling firm has these new Democrats numbers? What if they don’t identify with being a Democrat, but have still switch affiliations to vote for Obama?

How are they going to answer when a they get a call?

I’ll keep putting up the polls as I get ’em (no new ones out today), but until we even know who’s registered (March 24 deadline, people), I’ll take them with a grain of salt.


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