2008 Presidential Election Polls
Why National Polls are Worthless The US presidential election is NOT one election. It is really 51 separate elections which are held on the same day. The pollsters obviously have forgotten this fact. The winner of the popular vote count does NOT necessarily win the election. Just ask AL GORE. Four candidates for president have won the popular vote and yet have lost the presidential election. Here they are:
Year Popular Vote % of Election % of Others % Winner vote Winner vote of vote 2000 Albert Gore 48.38 George W. Bush 47.87 3.75 1888 Grover Cleveland 48.63 Benjamin Harrison 47.80 3.57 1876 Samuel Tilden 50.92 Rutherford B. Hayes 47.92 1.16 1824 Andrew Jackson 41.36 John Q. Adams 30.92 27.72 A quick lesson in statistical sampling The uncertainty in a sample or the error range is given by 100/ (square root of sample size). Thus we obtain the following table of error ranges for various sample sizes. Sampling errors in polls Samples error % 10 31.6 20 22.4 30 18.3 40 15.8 50 13 100 10 200 7 300 5.8 400 5 500 4.5 600 4 700 3.8 800 3.5 900 3.33 1000 3.2 1225 3.0 2000 2.2 2500 2.0 5000 1.4 10000 1.0 In 48 states and DC, the winner of the popular vote receives ALL the electors of that state (or DC). Only Maine and Nebraska give electoral votes proportionally. The candidate who receives a majority of the electoral votes wins the election  NOT the candidate who receives the largest number of popular votes. Let us examine the results of the 2004 & 2000 elections for the states of California, New York, and Texas.
2004 Kerry Bush Difference Kerry % Bush % Diff California 6,745,485 5,509,826 1,235,659 54.3 44.4 K+10% Texas 2,832,704 4,526,917 1,694,213 38.2 61.1 B+23% New York 4,314,280 2,962,567 1,351,713 58.4 40.1 K+18% 2000 Gore Bush Difference Gore % Bush % Diff California 5,861,203 4,567,429 1,293,774 53.5 41.7 G+12% Texas 2,433,746 3,799,639 1,365,893 38.0 59.3 B+21% New York 4,107,907 2,403,374 1,704,533 60.2 35.2 G+25% We see that Democrats win California by about 11% and New York by about 22% while Republicans win Texas by about 22% Suppose the pollster selects a sample size of 1000 likely voters If the sample is divided among 50 states & DC = 19.6 voters each. Thus each individual poll would have an error of 22.5%. I believe this would be WORTHLESS.Suppose the 1000 votes are divided proportionally (by population) among the 50 states & DC. Then we would get the following: 2004 2000 California = 12.12% = 121 votes (9% error) K+10% G+12% Texas = 7.93% = 79 votes (11% error) B+23% B+21% New York = 6.4% = 64 votes (12.5% error) K+18% G+25% Florida = 6.05% = 61 votes (13%) B+5% B+0 Illinois = 4.25 = 42 votes (15.4%) K+10% G+12% Pennsylvania = 4.12 = 41 votes (15.5%) K+2.5% G+4% Ohio = 3.80 = 38 votes (16%) B+2.0% B+3.5% Michigan = 3.34 = 33 votes (17%) K+3.4% G+5% Georgia = 3.16 = 32 votes (18%) B+17% B+13% North Carolina = 3.0 = 30 votes (18.5%) B+12% B+13%  541 votes = 54.1% of the voters 1000 – 541 = 459 divided by 41 remaining states & DC give 11 each (30 % error) This gives an average error of about 20%  which is really WORTHLESS.Suppose the pollster selects a sample of 1000 likely voters from California Then the Democrat will lead by 11% = WORTHLESS Suppose the pollster selects a sample of 1000 likely voters from New York Then the Democrat will lead by 22% = WORTHLESS Suppose the pollster selects a sample of 1000 likely voters from Texas Then the Republican will lead by 22% = WORTHLESS 
