Poll Madness

POLL MADNESS….The latest Fox News poll puts Bush ahead of Kerry 47%-45%. The latest Washington Post poll puts Bush ahead of Kerry 52%-43%. That’s a mighty big difference.

And of course, we all know what happened last weekend, when both Time and Newsweek released polls showing double-digit leads for Bush while Zogby and Rasmussen showed leads of only a few points.

I’m not sure why this year’s polls are so wildly out of sync, but I suspect what we’re seeing these days is less a clash of polling and more a clash of polling models. The variance seems to be mostly a product of different algorithms for identifying “likely” voters, which means the most accurate poll is whichever one has the best algorithm.

So who has the best algorithm? And why have the various algorithms suddenly started producing such divergent results?

I wish I knew, but there sure seems to be something funny in the air. For now, I think the most we can say is that Bush seems to be a few points ahead. How many is a “few”? Your mileage may vary.