The polls, and the election

Shall we have any faith in the poll results?

Before Iowa caucus, all the polls indicated that Sen. Clinton was leading Sen. Obama by, sometimes double digit. But she lost the first big election, not by margin, but landed in the third place. Even former Sen. John Edwards gained more percentage.

And tonight is another story. I watched CNN last night, I read the news reports, professional politics analysis and predicts, and of course, various poll results. Reuter’s polls indicated that, one week after winning Iowa Caucus, Sen. Obama was leading Sen. Clinton by double digit. Things are just reversed.

I watched TV. I listened to the debates, when Sen. Clinton desperately attacked Sen. Obama, the words so bitter that another candidate commented that even hostage negotiation was more civil. I saw late last night, when Hillary Clinton was addressing the last speech before the determining dawn came, Bill Clinton came to the location, standing behind Sen. Clinton, supporting his wife, and attacking Sen. Obama seriously.

And still, CNN reported that Sen. Obama would win NH Primary.

But it is not the story now.

The voting stations in NH closed at 8 pm, so when I came back and turned on the TV, CNN was rotating the ballots. And Sen. Clinton was leading! All against the poll’s prediction!

The green bar for the precinct of NH kept growing high, and Sen. Clinton was always leading by 3 to 4 percent. Associated Press called projected win of Sen. Clinton when about 70% of the counties were counted, but CNN reserved. CNN again and again pointed out that there is a small area in NH that the large number of college students might change the situation. Time went on, and it looked ridiculous for CNN not to announce Sen. Clinton’s win. Finally, CNN gave up, just seconds before Sen. Obama gave a formal speech and congratulated Sen. Clinton’s win.

Forget the election. The question is: How can you have faith in the polls? Do you think there are fundamental flaws in its sampling, its question designing, and its data analysis? Or, we will have to believe that, the demonstration of emotion in the face of Sen. Clinton, and the public support of former president Clinton, changed the ideas of, let’s say, at least 20% of the voters. Is it possible?

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