So many pundits are asking where the landslide is in the presidential race. With the polls so close, it is raising the question even more. David Brooks latest article even asks this:
Why isn’t Barack Obama doing better? Why, after all that has happened, does he have only a slim two- or three-point lead over John McCain, according to an average of the recent polls? Why is he basically tied with his opponent when his party is so far ahead?
Shouldn’t McCain be way ahead in the polls? The Republicans constantly say that people don’t know who Barack Obama is, but McCain has had national fame for decades. Why is this famous Republican only equal to the unknown Democrat? It sure sounds like people would rather take a chance with an “unknown” than with the maverick himself.
But let’s go beyond that little point the pundits seem to ignore and ask how well we can trust these polls. We are hearing constant news that Democratic voter registration is soaring and Republican voter registration is declining. This is a good indicator there is nothing to worry about. We don’t have closed general elections, like we do primaries. In other words, you don’t have to be a registered Democrat to vote for a Democrat, so people are more out to register for a party because they believe in the ideals of that party.
Also taking into consideration the new voter registrations, we need to remember the record turn out in the Democratic primaries. This is where the pollsters system of selection is at fault. They go by likely voters, meaning people who have previously voted in a general presidential election. The Democrats have had record registrations throughout the primary and now the general cycles, and those people never get polled. So this already skews the polls in favor of John McCain.
The pollsters are also behind the times on technology and society. They only poll people with actual landline telephones. Living outside of a college town, I can tell you this is a bad system. A majority of younger people now do not have landline telephones. They only use a cell phone, which would never get called for a poll. In the polls this again gives advantage McCain.
Finally, we aren’t even into the general election yet. The pundits seem to forget that. The general election kicks off at the end of this month when the presumptive nominees move to the title of nominee. Once that happens we will start seeing debates, and I got a feeling a debate between Obama and McCain is going to be an awesome site. Obama, the highly articulate motivator and McCain, the forgetful hot head, going one on one. McCain will leave these looking like a fool.
So should we worry about the polls, like the pundits want us to? I don’t think so.