A helpful suggestion for Quinnipac University: there was something weird – and, worse, apparently inconsistent – going on with its last round of state-level polling. Take a look at this chart:
(Originally noticed by @NathanWurtzel) Key: M is McCain, O is Obama. The above compares the difference between the ratio of McCain/Obama voters in Quinnipac’s latest poll (which had Obama by six in Ohio and Florida, and by eleven in Pennsylvania) by the actual ratio of McCain/Obama voters from 2008. As you can see… yes, Quinnipac at least found Obama voters. But it wasn’t finding McCain voters in Florida and Ohio; and while I take Sean Trende’s point that people tend to ‘forget’ that they voted for the loser I have to note that they apparently didn’t forget in Pennsylvania. I would also suggest that the fact that Ohio and Pennsylvania flipped its state government (including governorships) to the GOP in 2010, while Florida increased its Republican majorities, suggests that the electorate in none of those states has gotten more Democratic in the last four years.
To sum up: while I’m not quite as cranky about the oopsies going on here as I was when I first woke up* there’s still a weird set of disconnects going on here between the results, what we know, and what we think that we know. I don’t know why they got closest in Pennsylvania, but whatever Quinnipac was doing there either didn’t get done in the other two states, or it didn’t actually work. And I know that the aforementioned Sean Trende – a smart guy who’s training up to take over the Mentat position currently being held by Michael Barone – is probably writing an article right now that the Q-poll should be looked at in terms of ideological leanings, which apparently a quite bit closer. Here’s the thing, though: the questions we ask before the election usually imply at least three ‘real’ answers, while the election itself typically imposes a choice of only two.
Ah, political poll analysis. Haruspication without the entrails.
*You should have seen the first version of this article – no, wait, there’s a reason for that.