Stupid Polls

The headline reads, “Poll: Bush edges ahead in Pennsylvania” — but don’t be fooled. Read the first two grafs to see what I mean:

President Bush has edged ahead of Democrat John Kerry in Pennsylvania, according to a poll of voters in the critical swing state won by Al Gore in 2000.

In a three-way race, Republican Bush is supported by 45 percent of the state’s voters, compared with 39 percent for Democrat Kerry and 8 percent for independent candidate Ralph Nader, according to the poll released Wednesday by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. The rest were undecided.


The same poll shows that without Nader in the race, Bush has a statistically-marginal 46-42% lead over Kerry. But Nader is in the race, and isn’t going to drop out.

So why is that a bad thing for Bush? Because Nader won’t carry anywhere near 8% in November. 1-2% is far more likely. And most, if not all, of the 6-7% who move away from Nader will move towards Kerry.

It’s not nailbiting time yet, but we’re getting there.


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