Election Connection

Crunching Numbers

The pundits are saying the heated second debate between Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama won't be a game-changer. Will the polls agree?

A new site, FiveThirtyEight.com, shows a "bias free" set of maps and polls, using a system where the pollsters "assign each poll a weighting based on that pollster's historical track record, the poll's sample size, and the recentness of the poll. More reliable polls are weighted more heavily in our averages."

FiveThirtyEight, named for the total number of votes in the electoral college, has Obama significantly ahead in the national polls. To reach its analysis, the site looks at a number of indicators, from a "return on investment" index to  "Senate scorecard" to a compilation averaging all the major polls.

For a more literary look at the debate's impact, take a look at this tag cloud of the most popular terms spoken by each of the candidates, compiled by NewsHour.

Not surprisingly, "senator" "health" and "tax" loomed large.

How much do you rely on polls as indicators of election outcomes? Are there any good sources out there we've missed pointing out?


Mary said:

Vote for McCain! The media in this campaign has been so blatantly biased it is rediculous. The media pushed for Obama over Clinton and did its best to sway voters. It is really sad when voters are voting based on hype and a false image the media has produced rather than really policy.

Nantricia said:

It is refreshing to hear a politician give direct detailed answers to questions. I was excited to hear Obama mention the conservation of energy and the effect it has on global relations. He is proving to be an intelligent, fresh thinker who efforts to learn from history in the face of McCain's mantra about his long standing record. Obama isn't afraid to adapt. I fear a "President McCain" will be a life sentence, leaving this battered country in the hands of a "President Palin". Imagine her communicating with foreign leaders with winks and tough talk. The double standard she is operating by is dangerous and naive. Obama and Biden have conducted themselves respectfully and knowledgeably in debates. I have felt patronized by the Republicans, speaking in general terms with large smiles and catchy phrases. I see a pattern of Republican recessions. I am positive Obama will heal this country's economic and global relation disasters. It is time to hold our friends and neighbors accountable to vote. This election is changing the course of history on a global level; making the RIGHT to vote a RESPONSIBILITY.

Jason R. Craddock, Sr. said:

I am voting for John McCain chiefly for his pro-life stand. Barack Obama not only enthusiastically supports legal abortion--he also took the extreme position of voting against (as an Illinois state senator) a bill that would have merely protected the precious little lives of babies who survive abortions. That is hardcore disgusting, barbaric, and cruel!

People, abortion is not just another political issue, like the roast beef on a buffet table. The premise of the 1973 Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade which prohibited states from outlawing abortion, was that the fetus is not a "person" under the US Constitution. Thus, fetuses (the most defenseless, helpless, vulnerable members of society) could be killed with legal impunity for any reason or no reason.

That logic also appeared in another Supreme Court decision, in 1857: the Dred Scott case. In that case, the Court found that black slaves were not fully "persons," but the "property" of their owners from whom they escaped. Thus they could be mistreated or even killed with legal impunity for any reason or no reason.

Nazi Germany applied this logic to justify its cruel, torturous, murderous treatment of Jews and other "undesirables" (declaring them "not really persons").

I cannot vote for a candidate who is okay (or even worse, enthusiastic) with declaring a class of the most vulnerable, helpless, innocent citizens "non-persons" so that they can be killed with legal impunity. Thus, I cannot vote for Barack Obama, and I support John McCain.

This issue is more crucial than the economy or anything else, because if we can't even treat our most helpless, vulnerable, innocent citizens with enough dignity to protect their very lives, how can we get anything else right as a nation?

Over-50 woman for Obama said:

How could anyone vote for McCain when he has chosen a small minded, small town, small brain as his running mate? Then he can't even be bothered to read a couple of pages on the "rescue" package but he "suspends" his campaign (but not his attack ads) to rush to Washington where he doesn't say a word. A package finally passes after he leaves, and THEN in the debate he offers his big proposal, a day late, a dollar short AND it's old news having been suggested before. He has experience all right, and it's all bad, having been part of all that's wrong with Washington. Add to all this his horrible temper, inappropriate mouth and shoot-from-the-hip-but-miss decision-making skills and you have a candidate who might actually be worse than Bush.

Melissa said:

I'd like to remind Jason Craddock that Obama has great empathy for unwed mothers because his own mother was pregnant before marriage. But it's not in the president's job description to do anything about Roe vs. Wade, so you might want to consider the more pressing fact that our country is on the brink of a financial abyss and we're engaged in two wars when chosing your candidate!
As for abortion, remember that until a fetus can survive without its mother offering her body to support it, it's the mother's decision as to whether or not to bear it. Fathers sometimes stay, sometimes go, sometimes provide support, sometimes don't, but the mother is the primary parent. No woman has an abortion without regret. But every child deserves to be wanted. Perhaps if you put the same effort that you put into reversing laws into demanding that our government provide universal health care which would help mothers feel more confident of providing for an unexpected child, you might achieve your goal. And in the meantime, how many unwanted children have you adopted?

Jo Ann said:

Jason Craddock

At a time where our country is involved in 2 wars and an economy that is hitting rock bottom to vote on only the abortion issue is irresponsible. We are in a national crisis and we need all our voters to weigh in on all the issues not just abortion. I would like to ask Jason what he thinks about John McCain thinking it is okay to stay in a war for 100 years and kill innocent people. Isn't that something we should also think about? We are killing innocent people in a place we got involved in for all the wrong reasons and John McCain is worried about us LOSING in that war. What about those children.

Let us also speak about Sarah Palin.. is she really someone who can lead our nation. Yes she has high moral standards but I do not want my government to be dictating my morals. Yes she seems like a wonderful mother but let us get down to brass tacks. Is she smart enough? From what i have seen the answer is no. I am scared that if something happens to John McCain we will have a president that is just up to the task. Maybe in 10 years but she has niot shown any presidential qualities... they will not let her talk with reporters, doesnt that scare yyou. All i have seen her be is a political cheerleader. What does she believe? does she believe in banning books? does she believe in creationism being taught in schools? Did her husband join a group that wanted to succeed from the USA? These may be false statements but how do we know if we can not ask her? She is such an unknown that that is what scares me more than anything else. I can live with John McCain as president but I can not live with her!

I am a woman who has voted Republican before in several Presidentail elections but can not at this time. Sarah Palin is not ready and the scary part is she has no idea.

Catherine said:

Well, said, Melissa. People who say they are "pro-life" don't seem to remember that life CONTINUES after the baby is born. I, too, am against abortion for myself. However, the "pro-life" Republicans seem to think that once the baby is born, he/she should be on their own for health care, a good public education, etc. Why do so many vote ONE ISSUE but don't fight for those babies once they are born? As a Christian, I believe Jesus would have compassion for those who are less fortunate in this world. I firmly believe Jesus would be a Democrat who would vote for the greater good and remind us to love one another and not judge.

Roy said:

Vote for Obama! Senator Obama gave facts pertinent to the discussion during the last debate. McCain "answered" the questions on taxes without giving ONE numerical value! That's astounding. To stand in front of undecided voters and speak in campaign phrases is cunning dishonesty. I do not rely on polls to make my voting decisions. Further, I do not believe in the accuracy of polls.

Lori said:

Catherine what you seem to forget is that lots of the income used for these programs and your social securities benefits won't be there because we are killing so much of our future with the abuse of abortions. Abortions were mean't for the victims of rape and health issues, instead it is a form of birth control. With big business making millions off these so called victims. What a shame. P.S. Jesus would vote for what His bible say's no matter what, because we know it to be the inspired word of God and that is what we are called to do as Christians. Then with less sin in the world maybe the world can change and become a better place. So I think at this point He would vote as a Republican.

Joseph said:

I felt like the debate was interesting, and that both candidates had moments when they clearly addressed the issues and I was able to see a marked difference in policy and approach. At other times I felt that the candidates echoed what they said during the first debate, and little if any new insight was gained.

Overall however, Obama won this debate. First and most importantly, he is ahead in the polls and McCain did not gain any new ground (i.e. he did not drastically change the opinion of most voters concerning Obama). Despite what many have said, most polls (including impartial independent polls) show Obama with a growing lead. Second, McCain took the focus off of his policy when he made poor statements like "this One," and many voters felt that he was being disrespectful to Obama. At times his statements and aggressive attacks seemed desperate and misplaced. Obama, was not perfect, but he did keep his cool and he came across as confident, knowledgeable, and unaffected by McCain's remarks. Again, there were times when McCain made good points but they seemed to run off the back of Obama.

Concerning points of policy. McCain alluded to appointing Obama supporters and Obama advisors to work in his cabinet (warren buffet). Not too smart, especially when we are in the middle of an economic crisis. Buffet obviously supports Obama, this argues that Obama surrounds himself with better people then McCain and that he understands the economy and our current problems better then McCain. Furthermore, McCain made statements like "I know how to get Osama Benladin" and " I know how to fix social security, it's simple." Well, in reality, it is not that simple and if it were why have you not yet enlightened the world with this knowledge. Another grave mistake was saying that health care insurance should not be obligatory. People want to know that they will have health insurance, and Obama was much more forthright in reassuring Americans that they would have health insurance under an Obama presidency. Lastly, Obama seemed very strong (much stronger this debate) on foreign policy and understanding the complexity of international diplomacy. He was logical and clear about his intentions. His arguments about Iraq and Afghanistan resonated with more wisdom this debate, while McCain seemed to have lost the experience that he portrayed during the first debate.

Again, Obama was not flawless, but McCain was not strong enough to change opinion, and at the end of the day, that equals a victory for Obama.

Catherine said:

Lori, the funding won't be cut off because of abortions. Our population is exploding exponentially. I agree with you that abortion should not be used as a form of birth control. I wish we didn't have abortion except in extreme circumstances. I just don't think we should forget all about the babies after they are born. We don't get to pick where we are born or to whom. Those poor children deserve a good public education and health care. We should be willing to do that for them. What I'm saying is that I don't understand those who don't want abortion but then don't fight for rights for those unwanted children who ARE born! That is horrendous! Jesus always preached that we should love one another, not just love those who are like us. We should take care of each other. I believe we are sinning when we DON'T take care of the less fortunate.

John Smith said:

Barack Obama all the way. Republicans have no Charity, No Kindness, and above all they hide behind the face of religion, and always bring up Jesus. LIke they've had meetings with him to discuss who they should hate or who they should love. They are always judging, like they have some sort of authority. LOL PLEASE GET OVER IT !!! What a JOKE !! I can't wait til the day the God Comes Down and Tells Them. THAT"S NOT WHAT I MEANT !! hehehehe This election GOODNESS WILL FINALLY PREVAIL !! Evil Will Hide Behind the Face of RELIGION !! Remember that

Nannie said:



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VOTE NADER/GONZALEZ 2008… You’ll be glad you did and so will I…



K L Smith said:

As far as over 50 year old women voting for McCain & Palin, I am over 50 and will vote for McCain & Palin. Gov. Palin has far more experience than Senator Obama. She has managed a very large budget and has intriguty. I feel that she is very smart. I like both of their being pro-life. Senator Obama has some things in his life that needs to be revealed such as his college records that have been totally closed, his association with several persons that have questionable reputations, and his association with ACORN. My grandfather who was a politician always said if something continuely smells there is something to it, especially when no real answers have been given. Thats the way I feel. As far as the economy, I would rather have McCain & Palin over that. Does anyone remember that Gov. Palin gave money back to Alaskans? The only thing I hear out of Obama is spend, spend, spend. Does anyone remember "It's not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country." I am on the low side of income and yet I would rather this country get straigtened out than recieve money from my government.

Rose Patterson said:

I`m a 67 year old woman who rely on social security benefits to survive and my comment is neither canidate seems to know that people on fix income votes . I`ve watch all three debates and its all about the middle class /the wealthy and the working families . Please inform the canidates we all has a voice and just don`t omit us altogether. thank you Rose

Bert said:

I'm going to vote for Palin because she's hot.

If everybody else can vote for Obama just because he's black, I can certainly vote for her because she's hot.

Other than that, both candidates are socialists. You're just kidding yourself if you believe any significant change will happen in Washington because one of those two goofs is elected.

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