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Re: <nettime> The Dean campaign and the Internet
Carl Guderian on Sun, 14 Dec 2003 13:17:19 +0100 (CET)


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Re: <nettime> The Dean campaign and the Internet



I'd hate Dean's supporters to confuse his popularity with
internet-literate voters with that of voters at large. If Dean is doing
well by traditional metrics--Gallup or Harris poll figures and amount of
money raised--then the buzz is warranted. As well, Iowa and New Hampshire
will provide a reality check.  Remember the 1936 polling debacle . The
Literary Digest, which had correctly predicted outcomes from 1916 to 1932,
failed spectacularly in 1936 when it backed Alf Landon against Franklin
Roosevelt. Up-and-coming pollster George Gallup predicted not only
Roosevelts's win over Landon, but he also predicted FDR's margin AND he
predicted The Literary Digest's prediction. Gallup's method of statistical
sampling beat the LD's method of mailing ever larger numbers of postcards
to people whose names they'd gotten from telephone books and state auto
registration records:

http://www3.uakron.edu/schlcomm/Caplan/stderr/stderr.html

The Literary Digest's sample was skewed heavily toward the relatively
well-off, who tended to vote Republican or at least conservatively.  
1936, in the Depression, this group was in a majority. Today, the economy
is sluggish, and people who care about the internet are in a minority.

(Also, don't get too confident in early numbers. In 1948, the pollsters
stopped polling a month before the election, and gave Dewey a narrow lead
over Truman. Oops.)


Carl


-- 
Games are very educational. Scrabble teaches us vocabulary, 
Monopoly teaches us cash-flow management, and D&D teaches 
us to loot the bodies. 
-- Steve Jackson


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