Sunday, October 26, 2008

Grrr

For the most part I stay away from local tv news, and the closer to the election the better. Its political coverage tends to be at best vapid and at worst ignorant and inaccurate (with some exceptions, most notably Kim Genardo of NBC 17 in the Raleigh tv market.)

But our ABC affiliate's local news was on where I was eating dinner tonight so I didn't have much choice. The third or fourth top item was a breathless declaration that the race for President is rapidly tightening. The reason? Zogby's volatile tracking poll where there was apparently an amazing four point turn in John McCain's direction in one day! They of course did not complement this at all by looking at any other national polls where there continues to be little or no movement. Anytime something like this happens where the media exclusively covers an outlier poll I gets calls like 'what's wrong with Obama?' 'Is Bev finished?' And so forth. There's no doubt they have a lot of power to shape perceptions, I just wish they would use it more responsibly.

As long as I'm talking about 'on the ground' stuff in North Carolina, I know a lot of people have been concerned about the odd ballot we have here where casting a straight ticket ballot does not include a vote for President, and you have to vote for that separately. I went to vote yesterday and the poll workers were positively smothering in making sure I understood the quirks of the ballot. Like I seriously was informed about it by four different poll workers during my voting experience. I don't know if people are being as conscientious about it everywhere but at least based on what I encountered I wouldn't worry about it too much.

11 comments:

andgarden said...

Zogby's shtick is to report newsworthy swings.

Anonymous said...

How does the North Carolina poll look for tomorrow?

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the poll workers are that way now, in response to how many people got it wrong on earlier days?

Anonymous said...

Zogby is the snake oil salesman of pollsters. Seriously I think he cooks the books so his polls stand out in order to attract attention from the media but then to keep his pollster creds intact the weekend before an election he cleans up his polls so they have some resemblance to reality.

andgarden said...

Yup, Zogby is absolutely a charlatan.

benh57 said...

Funny, i heard the exact same interview on KNX here in Los Angeles with Zogby saying McCain had 'gone postitive' and so the race is tightening. Being an avid poll watcher i knew all about zogby's wild swings and had the same thoughts as you.

Hopefully the MSM will pick up on this... maybe when zogby swings back +5 in a couple days they will.

Levi said...

http://www.theonion.com/content/news_briefs/zogby_poll_john_zogby

Zogby Poll: John Zogby Coolest Dude In America

WASHINGTON—In a poll taken by Zogby International, 100 percent of respondents agreed that American pollster John Zogby is the coolest dude in the United States of America, including Puerto Rico, Guam, and all of the other U.S. territories. The poll results were posted on Zogby.com all day Thursday and revealed that, of the 300 million citizens surveyed, John Zogby not only had the coolest friends, but was also easily the coolest guy in both high school and college. In addition, when Americans were asked who would be the one person they would most like to "hang" with if given the opportunity, every one of them responded with "John Zogby." The poll, a Zogby representative said, has a zero percent margin of error and is potentially one of the most awesome polls ever conducted.

thisniss said...

I swore I would never again watch local news in the Triangle after NBC17 did an "investigative report" about the danger of injury from improper adherence to safety regulations in major retail chains. They built it up with teasers over the course of a week, it was ridiculous - ominous music and "scary announcer" voice with indecipherable pictures of store aisles. In the end, it was a story about a couple of people who had something fall on that their heads from tall shelves. HI-larious. But the teasers were so irritating and stupid, and the "News Team" was so self-congratulatory about having broken the story, that I could never take them seriously again.

It always seems like Zogby is the Exclusive: Stuff-Falling-On-Your-Head Shocker! of pollsters.

In related news, I've been hearing the same things about the ballot and poll workers. My experience has always been that poll workers will explain the straight ticket, but I think they are being extra careful this year given the high turnout and lots of new/infrequent voters. I also know that most GOTV direct contacts will mention this, so specifically targeted voters (which includes a larger sample of people who might not be as familiar with the peculiarities of NC ballots) will probably have heard it 10 times before they vote.

app state said...

I've been a poll judge on a number of occasions on campus at ASU. We always went to great pains to explain the ballot to all of our voters, but students and "townies." It was necessary, because there are always a handful that check or X their ovals instead of filling them in. So to hear that they are informing people about the ballot split makes sense.

Lance S said...

To be fair, though, Rasmussen is back to 5, and R2000 had a 5 point spread last night. Still, hard to say anything major is going on at this point.

On the poll workers, I had the same experience when I voted in GSO on the 17th. The workers were leaning over backwards to make sure that everyone knew voting straight ticket didn't include President.

Anonymous said...

Junior Johnson of NASCAR fame just endorsed Obama. How about them apples?!

 
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