The presidential election comes down to ‘Gallup’ versus ‘Silver’

As we get closer to the final weekend of the presidential race there’s still no trend that can be determined by looking at all the polls, no one candidate moving to a small but significant lead. Despite that, most supporters of President Obama and challenger Mitt Romney feel confident, enthused by polls they can point to showing their candidate in good shape. Call it the “Gallup” versus “Silver” debate.

You can read an interesting article about the competing polls here. The ways pollsters are projecting turnout is the main reason for the divergence. The “Gallup” model, which represents the pollster firm and a few other polls, notably Rasmussen, assumes that the percentage of Republican and Democratic voters will be about the same. Gallup, in fact, believes a thin plurality will be Republicans. This is the reason why Gallup’s national sampling has shown Romney leading by 4 to 7 percent and Rasmussen’s state samples show many statistical ties or narrow Romney leads.

On the other hand, the “Silver” sample (in honor of Nate Silver, a NY Times poll statman who has consistently pegged Obama as the likely winner) assumes that substantially more Democrats, perhaps 7 to 9 percent, will vote compared to Republicans. Most media polls are assuming this percentage difference that favors Democrats. That produces national polls that show the race dead even or a narrow lead for President Obama. This turnout model also produces small but solid leads for the president in many key states, such as Ohio.

The “Gallup” model more closely follows the voting patterns of 2004 and 2010. The “Silver” model follows the 2008 voting model, when Democrats had 8 percent more voters than Republicans. As the above-linked article mentions, there are disagreements between both parties over the final voting numbers of various demographics, including minority voters, white voters, and young voters. One thing that most seem to agree with is that Republicans have the edge with voters who describe themselves as independents. That’s a change from 2008.

On Tuesday night, it’s a good bet that either the “Gallups” or the “Silvers” are going to feel let down by their political prognasticators. On the other hand, if the truth is somewhere in the middle, we could be settling down to a virtual tie with the resulting outcry and legal battles. Frankly, I want a definitive result, be it “Gallup” or “Silver.”

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19 Responses to The presidential election comes down to ‘Gallup’ versus ‘Silver’

  1. Mark Shenefelt says:

    I’ve followed the poll watching and brow furrowing closely for the past couple of months. It is fascinating, and political junkies and stats geeks everywhere are in heaven.

    But I also like to step back and realize that the average voter probably doesn’t give one rat’s tail about the polls, especially all the inside baseball stuff we fixate upon.

  2. rls says:

    what about superstorm sandy — i get the sense that the aftermath is blunting romney’s challenge, and making obama seem more “presidential” — also, there’s the “disaster” response, which might make voters less likely to want to change leaders in the middle of such an obvious, tangible crisis, especially with chris christie praising obama’s response so strongly –

    • Decider says:

      Hey, rsl — Doug doesn’t want to hear about today’s ever improving job and manufacturing reports OR global warming and Sandy, Or the New York City Mayor’s Obama endorsement OR today’s 137 point increase in the stock market OR the unrestrained backlash the “misleading” Romney adds are receiving from the very auto industry Execs in Ohio that Romney fantacizes are his friends OR the heaping praises for Obama the leading Republican convention speaker, Chris Christy is lavishing on the President.
      After all, there is the 4-5 point spread the outlier Gallup gives Romney from a poll of days ago and Doug can’t be distracted . . . .

      • Echo says:

        Wow! could not have said it better… the super-pac ads have become like mind-control torture tools and in this final phase with persistence no longer working to create a Romney ….surge…(there’s a word that no longer has a good spin in NY & NJ) they have switched to the really big lie… in spite of folks who work in those plants and their neighbors seeing more folks at work, seeing more new cars on the road… what comes after the big lie? Tuesday

      • Willow says:

        Wow. Bloomberg endorses Obama. What a shock. And that big rally on the stock market today–did you see what happened LAST week? 250 drop in one day. And those “better job numbers” last month–didn’t include end of quarter claims from California, which is why the weekly number the next week JUMPED. Significantly.

        • Decider says:

          Why are you afraid of good news?
          If this keeps up, you’ll have to change your moniker to Wallow.
          If you were not so obsessive about doom and gloom you would know that the Dow has almost DOUBLED during the Obama Administration — doesn’t that make you happy???
          I guess spinning positive job numbers into a depressive mania against good news is what you always do, but into EVERY life some sunshine must fall — even to those who might not EVER dare to think an UNROMNEY thought.
          Ah . . . stay away from razorblades Tuesday.

  3. Tom says:

    Two potentially sad results with this race.

    1. That Mitt and Mia will win the big enchiladas as a result of their tactics of using the “big lie” techniques which pretty much compromises their whole campaigns, said results being harbingers of the “Latter Days”.

    2. That tens of millions of people in the US and around the world will end up believing the mistaken notion that Mitt and Mia represent all Mormons and that all Mormons are liars like Mitt & Mia.

    I still have faith in the wisdom and intelligence of the American electorate and I think they will reject the disingenuous Mitt and his seemingly endless lies of convenience.

    Unfortunately I am not nearly as confident in the Utah voters who very well may buy into Mia’s endless prevarications, misrepresentations and outright lies.

    My guess – Obama 330 EV’s, Romney 208 EV’s.
    A clear Obama win for truth and righteousness…

    • nancy says:

      You’ve got to be kidding! Obama “truth and righteousness” since when?” Going to bed or LA while our Seals are dying and our embassies are burning in Lybia!

      • Mari says:

        I Agree. Uncover the white house coverup BEFORE the election. Not that people who want their free contraceptives and food stamps care how corrupt Obama and his minions are.

        • laytonian says:

          “free contraceptives”

          Excuse me. If I am PAYING for health insurance, and my doctor prescribes certain hormones, I’d BETTER get them for “free”.

          Food stamps? After the loss of jobs due to the 2008 economic crash, do you really want people to starve?

          Just admit it. You will vote for Romney for one or two reasons (or maybe both):
          1 – He’s your religion.
          2 – Obama’s blaaaaaaaack.

          Y’all never wanted to “take back our country” when white men were Presidents.

          Transparency is you.

    • Willow says:

      Truth and righteousness? Obama? Study the man and his history of dirty tactics. The only thing I agree with your post is “tell the biggest lie possible” and it will work better as long as you control the media. That’s paraphrasing, but that saying came from Joseph Goebbels. Obama likes going to that era of history for his slogans too (“change” and “forward”).

      • Willow says:

        What kind of candidate has his opponent’s 15 year divorce records unsealed and then publishes the unsubstantiated claim of a bitter spouse in that divorce to win? Obama (Senate race, Illinois). And trying to do the same thing to Mitt–only this time they’ve had to dig so deep that’s it’s comical–trying to unseal testimony given in somebody else’s divorce. This from a man who admits he broke numerous drug laws, including using cocaine. WAKE UP PEOPLE! Completely bankrupt on ideas, and in way, way over his head. Let him leave with his millions, his new Hawaii estate, and the ridiculous book deals to follow.

  4. Mari says:

    I disagree. people standing in line to get gas, dumpster diving for food, using top loaders to get the sand out of their yards–Many are begging for help and not getting any.

    After his photo OP, Obama went back to campaigning. He has nothing to prove to NY and NJ, they are blue states. They can wait while he campaigns.

  5. rls says:

    – i’m a massachusetts native, and i’m lds, and i STILL would never vote for romney — as far as i can see, he’s perfectly willing to pander to anyone, to say anything, in order to get their vote — and as a member of the lds faith, i’m ashamed of his campaign — the only legitimate lds presidential candidate in this race was huntsman, and of course the right-wing crazies threw him out long ago –

  6. Ely says:

    Just want to add that it doesn’t matter that President Obama stay in NYC or NJ or CT for that matter until all the pieces are put back together. What is important is that he provides the funding to help EVERYONE that needs help to restore their life to the way it was. He saw the damage from hurricane Sandy and knows what needs to be done, and he must act fast. Him personally doing work, to help out- well I’m sure many would like that, but it is so very unrealistic and he’s just one person. Not Superman. I hope that everyone in this area does get taken care by the government and fast. But let’s give President Obama a break, he does need to continue on this campaign -If Romney some how gets elected, I’m going to have to find another country to live. Obama needs to get out there – we’re getting down to the wire!

  7. Decider says:

    Someone tell Doug that he can NOW stop squinting at the Gallup Poll — the election’s over !

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