Return to Main Page | Ragout: Wishful Thinking
A Spicy Stew of Economics, Politics, Data, Food, Carpentry, etc.
Sunday, October 17, 2004

Wishful Thinking

This week's prize for wishful thinking goes to the conservative ex-warblogger Steve Den Beste, who has an elaborate analysis of how the polls have been manipulated by the liberal media to show a Bush lead. No, that's not a typo: Den Beste believes that the polls were manipulated by a dozen or so separate "liberal" media organizations in September to show a Bush lead:

The [poll] data for September, however, is clearly an anomaly. The data is much too consistent. Compare the amount of jitter present before September to the data during that month. There's no period before that of comparable length where the data was so stable....

In September, I think there was a deliberate attempt to depress Kerry's numbers, so as to set up an "October comeback". Of course, the goal was to engineer a bandwagon....

No collusion was needed because everyone knew "the script" for September ("temporary Republican convention bounce") and for October ("Kerry comeback because of the debate").
Den Beste's case hinges on the fact that the polls were less noisy in September, which he thinks proves that they were manipulated in some way. But perhaps there's some alternative explanation, that doesn't involve charging every polling organization with fraud? Den Beste is plotting a moving average of polls, and as we get closer to the election, more polls are conducted, more frequently. So an alternate theory is that as we get closer to November, the moving average is based on more underlying data, and so tends to be smoother.

Nah, couldn't be. If the polls are accurate, Kerry's gaining. And all good conservatives know that's impossible.

UPDATE: Tim Lambert, John Lott's nemesis from Down Under, is also skeptical. He shows that the variation in the September polls is about what you'd expect from averages of half a dozen 1000-person polls. One more strike against Den Beste's poll rigging charge.

Number 1 in Ragout Economics!

March 2004 / April 2004 / May 2004 / June 2004 / July 2004 / August 2004 / September 2004 / October 2004 / November 2004 / December 2004 / January 2005 / April 2005 / May 2005 / June 2005 / July 2005 / August 2005 / September 2005 / October 2005 /

First Team
Angry Bear
Crooked Timber
Brad DeLong
Economist's View
Mark Kleiman
Nathan Newman
Political Animal
Max Sawicky
Brian Setser
Sock Thief
Talking Points Memo
Matthew Yglesias

Second Opinion
Stephen Bainbridge
Marginal Revolution
Andrew Samwick
The Volokh Conspiracy

Third Way

Fourth Estate
Economic Reporting Review
New York Times
Washington Post

Fifth Republic
Le Figaro
Le Monde

Sixth Sense
The Intersection
In the Pipeline
What's New

Politics & Polls
Daily Kos
Donkey Rising
Electoral Vote Predictor
Rasmussen Tracking Polls

Art Sucks
Enzo Titolo
L’esprit d’escalier
A Level Gaze
Approximately Perfect

ragoutchef at yahoo dot com


Powered by Blogger