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The reason why Time and Newsweek have Bush 11 points up and others have him only a few points up is because of polling methodology differences.

You see, some people would have you believe polling is an essentially exact science. You get a good sample, ask good questions, and boom! You have your answer.

But real life is not that simple. Political pollsters weight their results based on different demographic factors. If 6% of respondents are black, but 12% of voters are black, then they increase the black respondents vote in the results accordingly. That mostly makes sense to most of us, I imagine.

They do the same thing with party affiliation. The thing is, we don't know party affiliation numbers. We have to guess. So what Zogby did is guess 39% Democrat, 35% Republican, 26% Independent (last three elections were, in order, 34-34-33, 39-34-27, 39-35-26). So Zogby is doing a reasonable scientific thing, and he comes out with results far closer than Time and Newsweek did. Newsweek had 31-38-31.

But just because it is a reasonable scientific thing, does that mean it is correct? No, because he's only guessing. Zogby says he came closest to outcome in 1996 and 2000, but that doesn't mean he is closest now. Maybe Time and Newsweek really did discover a party shift in the electorate. But the point is that party is not a constant like the other demographic figures are, and we can't assume it does not change, and in the end, they are all only guessing.

Only time will tell who was right. Less than 60 days' time, actually. slashdot.org

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