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Author: Subject: New Hampshire--polls failed to predict Hillary Clinton's win
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[*] Post 315406 posted on 9-1-2008 at 11:23 Reply With Quote
New Hampshire--polls failed to predict Hillary Clinton's win



article and reactions to article

All the polls made wrong predictions, thinking Obama would win.

The article seems measured and reasonable to me.

The reactions/comments show the extreme reactions in some people's thinking, including:
1--Vote fraud by the Clintons, to get a faked win
2--Vote fraud by the Republicans, giving a fake win to Hillary because they would rather run against her.

Those people have more confidence in the polling data (often done by telephone) than they do in the actual votes!

Yikes!shocked_yellow
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[*] Post 315442 posted on 9-1-2008 at 16:12 Reply With Quote


After I made my previous post here, it occurred to me that some comments about the nature of polling are in order, for those not familiar with the mathematical science behind it.

Technically, the polls always qualify themselves in such a way that they are technically not wrong, even if their picture does not match what happens. When polling is done, a sample is taken, but there is always the possibility that the sample (even if it is random) does not exactly reflect the larger group which one wishes to predict. An example you might imagine in your mind, suppose there are one million marbles, of which only 5 are green. If you reach in your hand blindly and grab 5 marbles, it isn't liikely that all of them will be green--but it is possible.

A pollster is looking at the problem from another approach: if he draws 5 marbles out of a million and they are all green, what is the most likely color make-up of the million? Your own first intuition might say, "If every marble I've drawn has been green, five in a row, I'm getting the feeling they may ALL be green."

Mathematicians have formulae which not only make predictions, but which also match the predictions with levels of confidence, based on the size of the sample, the size of the larger group from which the sample was taken, etc. If you want to be 90% sure that your prediction is right, you have to include a certain number of answers. If you want to be 95% sure your prediction is right, you have to include a larger number of answers (because you had to add some possible answers to be more sure you hit the answer right).

The actual data of the polling companies includes all the details--the size of the sample, the level of confidene (whether it is 95%, or higher, or lower), and the margin of error (usuall expressed as + or - a certain number of points, which is the number of different answers for the specified degree of confidence.

So, the improbable answer is covered. If the pollster says the sample tells him you can be 95% certain that candidate A will get x votes, plus or minus y points, he is also saying there is a 5% chance that the answer will be outside his prediction.

All this is quite apart from other complications, such as the fact that the survey sample is for the time at which it is taken. If people change their opinions because of something that happens the day after the opinion survey is taken, it does not take account of that effect.:)

It isn't necessary to assume that someone has tampered with the votes.
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[*] Post 315463 posted on 9-1-2008 at 19:56 Reply With Quote


Chads had their day then, Scholar? ;)
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