It seems that an eon has passed since the pollsters and many of the pundits were bollixed by the results of the New Hampshire Primary. Before the primary, polls (and plenty of pundits) shouted that Obama would win-and probably by a significant amount.
Polls (and pundits) suggested that on the Republican side, that McCain would win-and he did. Many who are obsessed with politics wonder how civilization could continue while the mystery about the New Hampshire Polls remained unsolved. Just how could one series of polls (for the Democrats) be so wrong, while the other (for the Republicans) could be so right?
Clinton said listening to voters had helped her find her voice.
Many zeroed in on a teary moment Clinton shared with voters and the media the Monday before the primary.
Some suggested that it was the debates that had made Clinton the front runner before the Iowa Caucuses, the debate that took place the Saturday before the primary had done it again.
The Bradley Effect was mentioned as another possible reason why the polls had been so wrong. The Bradley Effect is named after it's first victim, former LA mayor Tom Bradley.
The Bradley Effect suggests that voters overstate to pollsters about how likely they are to vote for a black candidate-which is a polite way of saying that a significant percentage of voters lie when they tell pollsters they will vote for a black candidate.
Other reasons were floated:
Pollsters stopped polling on Sunday; the election was on Tuesday.
Many voters, confident that Obama would win, didn't vote.
Students didn't vote for Obama in the numbers that had been expected.
Many voters were torn between Obama and another candidate became confident that Obama would win. So they had voted for the other candidate.
Some said the surprise was the result of a synergy of all of the reasons.
Finally, the Truth
Hours of investigative reporting-mostly spent plying people with booze-have led to other causes for this apparent polling gaffe:
A fundamentalist suggested that the polling screw-up happened . . . because God wanted it that way. He said if Senator Clinton appeared to be gaining influence, then the Republicans would have a Democrat to hate.
He then went on to explain why hating the Democrats was "the Christian thing to do."
An aide to Rudy Giuliani camp attributed the polling gaffe to 9/11. No further explanation was given.
But after a few drinks, she showed me a card. It was titled, Responses for the Media.
- 1) This is a direct result of 9/11.
2) This is a result of 9/11.
3) Though all the data isn't in yet, when it is, we are confident there will be a connection between this event and 9/11.
I told her that it looked as if she had a very challenging job.
I suggested we use the card she was given to replace the dartboard in the bar.
She smiled and said, "I've got something better than that." She opened her Louis Vuitton Mirror Image Briefcase. Then she retrieved a series of pictures. She had pictures Huckabee, Romney, and Clinton. Some of the pictures had targets superimposed on the faces. She said, "These would be much better for the dartboard."
"I can see you are a veteran campaigner."
She smiled. Then she said, "This is my third New Hampshire Primary."
A spokesperson for an association of anti-immigration groups blamed the polling problem on Hispanics who had come to New Hampshire illegally.
I asked him if he'd been drinking since the 2004 New Hampshire Primary.
He said, "I'll drink to that!"
My guess is that he would have drunk to George Lopez being elected president.
I reminded him that Hispanics made up less than three per cent of the population of New Hampshire.
When he heard that, his expression made it obvious he was very surprised. Loudly he said, "These guys are organized!"
A small group of people from the International Community For Alien Research joined me for a few drinks. I thought they were making up the name-to get free drinks. After, I Googled the organization. It exits. (And you thought I was making these up!). They had boxes of buttons and a few signs that identified them as Kucinich supporters. They said the polling gaffe was the result of extra-terrestrials influencing the election.
When I told a political veteran about this comment, she replied, "There's a group of Kucinich supporters?"
A nice guy from the Club For Growth looked at me with a dour expression on his face, then he said, "This so-called polling error is really the result of market forces doing what they do best."
When I told the guy that I wanted funny comments, the spokesman smiled and said, "This is the result of market forces doing what they do best."
A few drinks later, I told him that I'd seen his wife coming out of a hotel room with a tax and spend liberal.
He put on his glasses and said, "This is the result of market forces doing what they do best."
A woman who described herself as a passionate Democrat told me an interesting story. According to her, George Bush ordered former FEMA officials infiltrate the cadre of New Hampshire election workers. She said, it was a brilliantly executed plan to flummox the Democrats and their pollsters.
This provoked one of the Kucinich supporters to ask, "George Bush constructed a brilliantly executed plan?"
A spokesman for Liars Anonymous said he had data suggesting that the Bradley Effect wasn't in play. "Voters didn't lie to the pollsters; but they did lie when they voted."
I asked him, "How do I know you're telling the truth?"
He responded, "Is the Pope Jewish?"