No, Matt Drudge, the McCain Gap Isn't Closing

FiveThirtyEight's Silver smacks down "tightening polls" narrative
By Gabriel Winant,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 31, 2008 7:31 AM CDT
No, Matt Drudge, the McCain Gap Isn't Closing
An electoral college map, distorted to represent the number of electoral votes per state, showing a potential landslide for Barack Obama.   (©sioenroux)

Calm down, writes Nate Silver at There's no need to panic over a couple of polls, trumpeted by Drudge, showing the race tightening. “Man, I thought I trained you guys better than this,” he notes. One, the Mason-Dixon poll, shows Obama up by only 4 in Pennsylvania. The other, a Fox News poll, has him leading by just 3 nationwide. Neither is persuasive evidence of real movement, Silver says.

Sometimes, writes Silver, a poll just comes up with an aberrant result. It doesn’t mean the pollster is biased, or even wrong. It’s just part of the nature of random sampling, especially for pollsters who don’t weight their sample by party. Nothing Silver’s seen adds up to evidence of a tightening race. He reiterates: for a game-changer, John McCain would need to be polling "within 2 points in 2 or more non-partisan polls in at least 2 out of the 3 following states: Colorado, Virginia, Pennsylvania." (More Election 2008 stories.)

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