Labor Day’s gone: Let the games begin

The presidential elections are supposed to run in earnest after Labor Day or after the conventions, whichever comes first. They run nonstop 24/7/365/ad infinitum. Maybe the Birthers have it right, in one part of their lunacy, presidential candidates seem to run for office once they are out of the womb. Sorry, that’s just my hyperbole. But some people do seem like they are running for public office at least during high school.

Baby must practice gesturing during public speeches in order to make that hard road to the presidency.

Most polls have the two candidates for president neck and neck. It seems rather odd that, for all the media gush Congressman Ryan got during the Republican condition, the GOP candidates received very little bounce in the polls. It remains to be seen if Obama-ClintonBiden will. Wow, that would at least bring a little excitement to the Dem side of the race, not that I think it would be a good idea. And I mean Hillary although Bill as Obama’s No. 2 would blow some minds. Such a notion has been discussed many times before concerning other candidates including Al Gore. It may or may not be constitutional but would certainly be open to much litigation and if it wound up in the Supreme Court with today’s justices — speaking of Gore — one could only guess what might happen.

Thinking back at least to the 2004 election, I can remember discussing with colleagues while eating newsroom election night pizza or perhaps afterwards how skewed could the polls be these days with the proliferation of cell phones. A study in 2010 showed more than one-quarter of Americans use cell phones as their only telephone. That was up from about 13.5 percent three years before. Let’s just speculate for a moment that the given rate would grow at the same extent over the same time period, then nearly a third of Americans might choose cell not landline for their main phone. That is just speculating though and you know what they say about speculating. No, in fact I don’t know what “they” say about speculating and furthermore I have no idea who “they” are. Know what I mean, Vern?

Harry Truman could have been a rich man had eBay been around in his day.


I am just saying that I don’t know how the statisticians compensate for the cell phone factor. I am sure they have some formula they pop in there. People who work with stats all the time are wont to do that. You ought to try it some time. I am talking about working with numbers folks. You could easily lose your freaking mind in very short order. Trust me. I am not a statistician. Nor am I an economist. And I play neither on TV.

The question has to surface though. Just how accurate are “all or nothing” polls about presidential races these days? Most of the polls in 2008 were fairly close with the exception of a couple such as Gallup and Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby. Pollsters can call cell phones but there are various factors that make such a prospect challenging. For instance, the pollster has to consider that the respondents can be charged for air time.

The brains will figure it all out. After all, pollsters have such a sterling record on being right, especially when  it comes to presidential elections.

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