October 20, 2004

Guide to Poll Watching

If you are like me and have way too much invested in watching the polls go up and down in this race, you must read Salon today.

They are the numbers flying by on the TV screen, and if you're living and dying by the presidential race, no amount of Zoloft can even out the highs and the lows they bring. George W. Bush and John Kerry are tied in the brand-new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. Kerry is up by 3 in a Democracy Corps poll released Tuesday. He is down by 5 in the Washington Post poll from Tuesday night, tied in the New York Times poll from Tuesday morning, tied in last night's Zogby tracking poll, and down by an alarming 8 in the CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll released over the weekend.

It goes on to say what you should look for in polls. Look at registered voters not likely voters. Look at Bush's approval numbers not the head to head match-up, and remember that the state by state results matter the most. Finally:

There are other ways to look at this thing -- futures trading, first-wife cookie contests, a geography-based test that compares the candidates' names and the names of cities and towns in America. But if you're grasping for those kinds of straws, maybe it would be better to take a break from the whole thing now. In just two weeks, Tim Russert will be on TV with his handheld white board, moving states from red to blue and back again. All will be known then. Or maybe not.

Hang in there just few more days. By mid-December this will all be over, I promise.

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