ith any big political event like tonight’s debate between Vice Presidential candidates Senator Joe Biden and Governor Sarah Palin, the pundits are out in force before, during, and after the debate. Of course also present are the spin masters from both the Republican and Democratic parties. Additionally, all the news outlets will be interviewing people on the street, in neighborhood bars, and at local watch parties. Tonight, they’re all trying to answer “Who won the debate?”
My advice is to ignore them all. The purpose of the debate is to impress a majority of voters, and thus the only indicator that counts is a random poll of a large number of people. As of this writing, here’s what I’ve found and you can of course check the links because some of these polls are still in progress.
|CNN Quick Poll||70%||26%||4%||205000|
|WSJ Quick Poll||52%||46%||1.1%||62251|
Of course, the quick polls always say that they aren’t scientific. That’s because they aren’t random and they usually represent the bias of the readers of that publication. But they do usually have thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of respondents. So, its also good to factor in the random polls that they news and polling organization do.
A CNN poll of debate watchers now shows Biden the winner, 51% to Palin’s 36%. Any one of the polls taken alone might be too small to be representative of the larger population or biased, but by taking a look at several polls, and considering the number of respondents for each, you can get a much better idea of who won than from listening to pundits and on-the-street interviews.
Why only look at these polls? Because the spinsters will say their side won even if the candidate broke down into tears and stormed off the stage. The news’ interviews of people on the street will have people supporting both sides, and they can’t interview enough people to be representative. You would think that pundits, who are supposed to be experts, would have something meaningful to say. But the evidence that I’ve seen shows that they often have no idea what the voters are really thinking. So their opinion isn’t much better than asking your spouse or your bartender.
You can realize this for yourself by taking a look at the CNN report cards. I did an analysis of the pundit scores versus the reader’s scores for the convention speeches as well as for the first Obama-McCain debate, and the pundit’sopinions are frequently far off from the readers. Check out the table below.
|Readers||CNN Report Card Average|
|John McCain Spech
|Rudy Giuliani Speech||D||B+|
|Sarah Palin Speech||C||A|
|Fred Thompson Speech||C||A|
|George Bush Speech||D||B|
|Joe Lieberman Speech||D||D+|
|Palin Pick Speech||C||C|
|Barack Obama Speech
|Bill Clinton Speech||A||A|
|Joe Biden Speech||B||A-|
|Obama 1st Debate||B||B|
|McCain 1st Debate||D||B+|