Race Still Tied After Biden Pick
CNN is breathlessly reporting that Barack Obama and John McCain are now tied and that the selection of Joe Biden as Obama’s running mate has hurt the ticket.
It’s a dead heat in the race for the White House. The first national poll conducted entirely after Barack Obama publicly named Joe Biden as his running mate suggests that battle for the presidency between the Illinois senator and Republican rival John McCain is all tied up. In a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll out Sunday night, 47 percent of those questioned are backing Obama with an equal amount supporting the Arizona senator.
“This looks like a step backward for Obama, who had a 51 to 44 percent advantage last month,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “Even last week, just before his choice of Joe Biden as his running mate became known, most polls tended to show Obama with a single-digit advantage over McCain,” adds Holland.
So what’s the difference now? It may be supporters of Hillary Clinton, who still would prefer the Senator from New York as the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee.
Another alternative: It may be that CNN’s polling director is a hack.
The race didn’t “become” tied after Biden’s selection. It was already tied. Indeed, the race has been essentially tied for, oh, six months:
The degree of variation in the chart is exaggerated by the scale: McCain’s entire movement over the past year has been between 39 and 47 and Obama’s betwen 43 and 49. Since Obama secured the presumptive nomination of his party, there have only been very short periods of significant disparity.
That there’s been some wild variation in CNN’s own poll is of only mild interest. It’s just one poll. And that Obama’s down within the margin of error in the last few days in that poll is of no interest whatsoever: That’s random fluctuation that’s mathematically expected.
You learn that in your first lecture on polling; it’s inconceivable that Keating Holland doesn’t know that. That he’s willing to pretend otherwise to try to generate “news” is just sad.