Friday, October 22, 2004

Predictions, anyone?

Anyone care to call the presidential race? Here are my predictions:

1.) All of the polls will be wrong (more on this below).
2.) There will several lawsuits, regardless of who wins.
3.) Bush wins: Bush - 52%, Kerry - 47%, Nader - 1%

There are a couple of reasons the polls will be wrong. Polls typically poll "expected voters." Those are usually people who have voted recently, kept their address at their local elections office updated, and actually answer their phone. But both liberal and conservative groups have been running very successful voter registration drives. There are a lot of new voters on the rolls that don't fit the "expected voter" mold. Thus they're not getting asked who they are going to vote for.

An interesting aside to this discussion is an article by Robert X. Cringley, who argues that the widespread adoption of cell phones is also complicating the issue. For the last 50 years, about 95% of US homes had land line phones. But an increasing number of people are switching to cell phones for their primary phone. But it is illegal for pollsters to call cell phones! A lot of these new, young, registered voters only use cell phones and they're not getting polled!

What this means is that the polls are likely not giving us good information. The election is really going to come down to turnout. Will the Republicans be more successful at turning out conservative Christians, or will the Democrats turn out more young people? I feel much more confident in the ability of the GOP to turn out evangelical Christians than in the ability of the Democrats to turn out young people. But I could be wrong. I hope that I'm wrong.

Final prediction:

4.) After the election, the Democrats will ride Nader out of town on a rail and force him to emigrate to Antarctica. Or Greenland, maybe.



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