What If…All These Polls Are Wrong?

Oct 29, 2008 8:41am

Is it possible that every one of these polls is wrong, that the numbers are wiggity wiggity whack?

Michael Abramowitz of the Washington Post gives voice to that notion, to the Obama campaign’s deepest, darkest fear in “Accuracy of Polls a Question In Itself; Skeptics Challenge Assumptions Made.” And our friends at the ever-optimistic, straw-grasping RNC are sending it out.

There “appears to be an undercurrent of worry among some polling professionals and academics,” Abramowitz writes. “One reason is the wide variation in Obama leads: Just yesterday, an array of polls showed the Democrat leading by as little as two points and as much as 15 points. The latest Washington Post-ABC News tracking poll showed the race holding steady, with Obama enjoying a lead of 52 percent to 45 percent among likely voters.

“Some in the McCain camp also argue that the polls showing the largest leads for Obama mistakenly assume that turnout among young voters and African Americans will be disproportionately high. The campaign is banking on a good turnout among GOP partisans, whom McCain officials say they are working hard to attract to the polls.”

From 1989 until 1998, Marvel Comics ran a monthly series called “What If…?” in which it created whole new storylines that no one outside of the most extremist comic book geeks ever pondered.

“What if Spiderman Joined the Fantastic Four?” they asked.

Or…what if the Fantastic Four consisted of the Incredible Hulk, Ghost Rider, Wolverine, and Spiderman?

Yes, they managed 114 issues along those lines.

The looming question is whether What If All These Polls Are Wrong? will be seen as prescient academic wisdom (and believe me, a lot of us are taking the question seriously), or whether in retrospect these questions will be seen as just a political version of “What If Wolverine Had Killed the Hulk?”

- jpt

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