>OBSERVATION: Polling and voting … nothing in common.

>Funny how many pundits were writing Hillary Clinton’s political obituary just a few short weeks ago. It was over, and time for her to throw in the towel.

These are the same pundits who counted McCain out of the running a month or two before he took an all but unstoppable lead.

Well, if you think the pundits are the big losers in all this, just consider the pollsters. After all, they use scientific means to predict outcomes – not just educated guesses. I remember they awarded New Hampshire to Barack Obama on the eve of the election. Clinton pulled off what they called an “upset victory.” I think the pollsters were the only ones upset.

Just before Ohio and Texas, we were told that Clinton’s lead had slipped away. Obama would take Texas for sure, and maybe even Ohio. Of course Clinton won Texas and crushed Obama in Ohio.

After 40 years of watching and running campaigns, I have become a polling skeptic. Skeptic? No! I really think it is all voodoo and bull stuff. They are almost never more correct than an educated guess. I know a lot of political groupies who can predict an election outcome with a 3 to 5 point margin of error every time. (If you cannot read the cartoon, click on it for larger version)

I always wonder how the polls can wind up being wrong beyond the margin of error, as they often are. That makes the “margin of error” nothing more than empty words.

Every time the pollsters are egregiously wrong, they hid behind an unprovable claim. A “last minute shift by the voters,” they say. To which I say, “Bah humbug!” Unless there is some unprecedented occurrence in the last week, voters do not change their minds. Most are decided loooooong before Election Day, and the rest are usually locked in on a candidate at least two weeks ahead of time. The only reason polls are wrong is because they are wrong.

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