The Left's Big Blunder

New at zombietime, an analysis of the presidential campaign you’ll read nowhere else:

The Left’s Big Blunder: The disastrously counter-productive strategy of Obama’s supporters

If you read only one essay this election season, let this be the one!

Comments welcome.

433 Responses to “The Left's Big Blunder”

  1. 1ZeroDamage on Oct 15, 2008 at 3:20 pm:

    Great essay Zombie. I just finished it up and I have to say, it is brilliantly thought out and put together. Nice job my friend.

  2. 2Obama2008 on Oct 15, 2008 at 3:30 pm:

    It’s okay, Anonymous. You don’t have to fear Barack Hussein Obama. You don’t have to fear change. Conservative knees are shaking across the nation, but you need not fear.

    We are all American. We will work together.

    Understandable that you don’t want your name associated with this diatribe. Very understandable, my friend.

  3. 3ec on Oct 15, 2008 at 3:47 pm:

    One area that you didn’t touch on is the huge difference between “self-report” ( answers to poll questions) and “observational behavior” (the observed actions of people in the voting booth). A quick non-shrink-speak explanation which every psych student from 101 to 441 and beyond gets burned into their consciousness is that “self-report” is notorious for inaccuracy. The MSM will never learn that lesson. Since the voting booth is designed to prevent observation the two can never be accurately correlated. Which explains the fallibility and preponderance of new pollsters all promising more accurate data every election.
    It’s not gonna happen.
    People lie knowing they can’t be caught.
    Any poll showing McCain as less than 6 point underdog means he will win. I base that on the 3% of Dems that never show up at the polls and the 3% of polled who intentionally lie. Due to the charges of ‘racist’ flying around I assume that number is significantly higher this election.
    The Dems really have no idea how counterproductive that charge is. This election, people will lie to the pollsters to avoid being considered racist, the polls will report the results, and Dems will stay home because they perceive, based on the polls, the race is won.

    I touch on the above topic with a famous example here:

  4. 4anonymous on Oct 15, 2008 at 3:49 pm:

    Polls don’t bother me, the ridiculous coverage by MSM and fraudulent voter registrations by groups like ACORN do.

  5. 5Richard on Oct 15, 2008 at 3:51 pm:

    The above comment reminds me of the movie the Invasion of the Body Snatchers. You have nothing to fear. Just go to sleep and everything will be okay. Sorry Obama2008, but I will not be lulled to sleep.

  6. 6Fersboo on Oct 15, 2008 at 3:54 pm:

    Nicely written. You managed to hit many of the themes that have been running through my head lately. It seems that this is the third Presidential election in a row that I’ve heard that the Democrat would run away with the election.

  7. 7bluto on Oct 15, 2008 at 4:02 pm:

    nice work Zombie! i think you are correct but the absence of poll booth voting may nullify this. i’m not positive about this but just a thought as my state is almost all mail in voting.

  8. 8The bald eagle on Oct 15, 2008 at 4:05 pm:

    I hope and pray that you are right,,,,,because if you are not,,,then you will not recognize this country in four years or less.

  9. 9zombie on Oct 15, 2008 at 4:06 pm:

    3 ec said:

    “I touch on the above topic with a famous example here:

    Nice companion essay to my own! Recommended.

  10. 10John on Oct 15, 2008 at 4:08 pm:

    Nice read….we will have to see Nov 4.

  11. 11zombie on Oct 15, 2008 at 4:08 pm:

    2 Obama2008 said:
    “It’s okay, Anonymous….
    Understandable that you don’t want your name associated with this diatribe.”

    I go by the online name “zombie.” I am no more anonymous than you.

  12. 12Obama2008 on Oct 15, 2008 at 4:13 pm:

    The bald eagle: “I hope and pray that you are right,,,,,because if you are not,,,then you will not recognize this country in four years or less.”

    I certainly hope the America of four years from now is unrecognizable from the anti-intellectual, ignorance is glorified, DURRR, They’re making another left turn!, dullard society we’ve devolved into.

    The advances Obama will enable in Science and Technology alone give me a nerd-boner.

    Waking up on January 20th, 2009 will be… sweet. Aside from the hangover I’ll have from celebrating the inauguration the night before :)

    I’m really looking forward to the first time I hear a right-winger say “Not My President!” Goddamn that’s gonna be music to my ears!

  13. 134thGenerationBuck on Oct 15, 2008 at 4:14 pm:

    Fantastic essay Zombie.

    I do believe however that you now owe my boss for an hour of my time.

  14. 14Obama2008 on Oct 15, 2008 at 4:16 pm:

    Anonymous zombie: “I go by the online name “zombie.” I am no more anonymous than you.”

    Understandable why you’d rather hide behind an internet pseudonym than attach your legal name to this diatribe. Very understandable, my friend.

    I am also not the one expelling the diatribe.

    Were I to author a document I believed in, I would attach my name: Jason Miller of Auburn, CA.

    I imagine if you authored a document you believe in, you’d do the same.

  15. 15Barking Pumpkin on Oct 15, 2008 at 4:16 pm:

    Extremely well thought out, very informative but not heavy handed, but you’re preaching to the choir. Should be required reading by the MSM.

  16. 16Jay on Oct 15, 2008 at 4:26 pm:

    I’d add my support to this theory by noting that during Gore we were told he was going to win handily, in fact because the new outlets supported this view outside of any facts supporting it many Florida Gore voters stayed home thinking it was in the bag already.

    We heard the same thing during Kerry, he’s going to win it’s all over! Well he lost too, in defiance of the left wing bias media reporting.

    I honestly believe that the left wing media really does believe that if they say something loud and long enough it will suddenly become true, yet despite being proved wrong over and over again they cannot imagine any other strategy. Certainly reporting honestly and applying the same amount of criticism on both candidates has never crossed their minds.

    Either way it’s a win from my perspective. We all know what happens to the party that inhabits the presidency, the house and the senate. Americans detest a majority of power swung to far to one side, republicans learned it now the Democrats get to have their lesson once again.

    And 4 years of Obama will not change America, every candidate has been for “change” since we started voting, yet their ability to create sweeping changes is small and incremental. So don’t lose heart even an Obama win isn’t the end of the world and I think he will lose anyways.

    Regardless of left wing message just be sure to go to that voting booth and vote regardless of what you hear or see, that is reality.

  17. 17Jack G. on Oct 15, 2008 at 4:31 pm:

    Good coverage Zombie.

    Obama2008. Examine the rest of Zombie’s site. If you were to get the amount of death threats Zombie gets, you would not use an easy to trace name either. Not if you wanted to remain in the corporal realm.

  18. 18Uncle Jefe on Oct 15, 2008 at 4:34 pm:

    Great stuff, Zombie.
    But do you factor 40 years of leftist ‘battlefield prepping’ towards an informational conformity view, ie; getting people to believe in white guilt?
    The left’s conditioning of America has been such that now is the time to finally throw all the arguments together, so that redemption through The One candidate is the easiest choice you’ll ever have to make.
    You know, suicide is painless…

  19. 19Dr S on Oct 15, 2008 at 4:39 pm:

    It’s possible the polls are just one big Dan RatherGate.

  20. 20hermeneutics on Oct 15, 2008 at 5:01 pm:

    Jason Miller of Auburn, CA, has been so coddled by affirming leftists that he simply can’t understand why conservatives must hide their political inclinations, particularly those working in academe or other left-dominated occupations.

    So let me spell it out, Jason — Zombie would probably lose his/her job because of her/his political beliefs. Consider it a climate of fear. We do fear you — not your ideas, but your ability to make life miserable for us.

    Next time you decide to spill your disingenuous platitudes, remember that conservatives are truly human, with human aspirations and feelings … and Americans. An ounce of compassion could help you hold your tongue.

  21. 21River on Oct 15, 2008 at 5:03 pm:

    Brilliant and insightful analysis. I’ve been thinking along the very same lines, but it’s great to see it documented and laid out so irrefutably. As a veteran of 11 presidential campaigns, I must say this is by far the most diabolical and twisted. The MSM has surrendered any and all credibility and honor, and have become the worst kinds of propagandists; and the far Left is bordering on psychosis. We must be concerned for the future of the nation; after we beat the hell out of them in the election. The force behind the Left now is an unholy alliance of the enemies of human liberty.

    The Nazi propagandists, Goebbels and his minions; and the Soviets in their quest for the “perfect communist man”; would be thrilled to see how their principles have been polished and perfected by, the Daily Koz; and the Huffington Post.

    If McCain wins, be ready to witness a major league psychotic breakdown in the U.S.

  22. 22zombie on Oct 15, 2008 at 5:05 pm:


    I receive death threats on a near daily basis, from leftists, Islamists, and other friends of yours. You can read a small sampling of them here:

    For this reason alone, I need to preserve the safety of my family, as do most bloggers, the vast majority of whom also use online nicknames.

  23. 23The Pope on Oct 15, 2008 at 5:10 pm:

    “… they’ll turn out to be a silent majority after all.”

    Shh! Now who’s being counter-productive? One way or another, I hope you will revisit this after the election, gloating or eating crow as appropriate. It looks to me like you’re putting yourself through the wringer to justify your denial, but we’ll see.

  24. 24CattusMagnus on Oct 15, 2008 at 5:14 pm:

    Oh my God Zombie! That was sooooooooooooooooo good. Loved it. Loved it. Very perceptive. I admit, I have been pushed into normative conformity once or twice in my lifetime. The post was impressive. I’ll be forwarding it to friends.

    Jason Miller of Auburn California: Zombie would be eaten alive by the malignant, daft, cutthroat flower children of the bay area if he were to reveal his true identity. Even in the politically calmer climate in the People’s Republic of Portland, openly expressing conservative opinions will get you a Molotov cocktail thrown at your house.

  25. 25Oligonicella on Oct 15, 2008 at 5:31 pm:

    Brilliant. The Bradley effect will be on my fingertips from here out.

  26. 26Jason Miller's Mom on Oct 15, 2008 at 5:48 pm:

    Well written, Zombie. An incisive thumb in the collective squinty eye of the unwashed Left.

    Jason, get in here and stop bothering the nice person. Honestly, he’s been in such a funk after he moved back home here. The poor dear couldn’t find a job after he graduated from Berkeley 4 years ago, and he had a solid 2.5 GPA in Journalism, too.

  27. 27LesArts on Oct 15, 2008 at 5:51 pm:

    Fascinating piece of research, zombie! I am in total agreement. I personally know at least two people who have been polled and told the pollsters that they were voting for Obama because they were tired of hearing the canard that if you don’t vote for Obama, you are a racist. They fully plan on voting for McCain behind the curtain on Election day.

    I pray you are correct.

  28. 28yochanan on Oct 15, 2008 at 5:56 pm:


    can you put in more moonbat pics

  29. 29rk on Oct 15, 2008 at 5:59 pm:

    I think liberals understand quite well that they are a minority group. Otherwise no need for vote fraud and other distortions. In fact, just the fact that the media can’t report an straight election story (and even sometimes brags about the % swing they can get in an electorate) shows that they feel the need to “shape” the election, because they know it ain’t going their way if they don’t.

    And now we all know that from an Alinsky POV, the ends justify the means. Because the rich plutocrats are so evil.

  30. 30Rob Crawford on Oct 15, 2008 at 6:04 pm:

    Back in grade school we had a section of some class dedicated to recognizing propaganda techniques. What you’re describing, zombie, was called the “bandwagon technique”: “hey, everybody’s doing it! you don’t want to be the outsider, do you?!”

    Have they stopped teaching that kind of thing? Or have the Obamatons simply stopped caring?

  31. 31EdSki on Oct 15, 2008 at 6:26 pm:

    I’ve had the same opinion for some number of years, but I’ve been looking at it from a slightly different angle. If I were an Asch study volunteer, and was asked afterwords why I selected the obviously wrong answer, I would have told them the truth, I was bored being surrounded by morons and would say anything to get my check and the heck out of there.

    There’s a somewhat interesting book titled The Myth of the Rational Voter, I don’t remember the author. One of the author’s propositions is the idea of rational irrationality, which goes something like, when there is no economic cost to being irrational, humans will be irrational as hell. But when the cost of being irrational becomes clear, suddenly, more people than you would expect.

    The best example I came up with to explain this to a liberal friend was, suppose you’ve dreamed your entire life to own a 1968, candy apple read, convertible Shelby Ford Mustang. And there is nothing more important than getting one. Fine. No problem. Desire it all you want, insist it’s the greatest car ever built. Then go down to the auto dealer and take a look at the terms of the loan. Suddenly, the 1972 Dodge Polara over in the corner i’s starting to look not too bad.

    I agree, when some one is standing in the voting both, the cost of irrationality starts to sink in.

    Excellent post Zombie. And here I thought you were just a whiz with a camera and rapier wit with one line captions!

  32. 32Czarmangis on Oct 15, 2008 at 7:03 pm:

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you Zombie….
    You sought out and collated the information that explains clearly exactly what has been eating at me for years now.
    I can now stop explaining it all to myself in an attempt to make sense of it all. I expect this essay to make waves throughout the Blogosphere and whatever the Blogosphere becomes in the future. Thank you for your service.

  33. 33Noam Sayin' on Oct 15, 2008 at 7:07 pm:

    A most excellent post, Zombie. Very scholarly, yet written for anyone to follow. Great work.

  34. 34Gabriel on Oct 15, 2008 at 7:15 pm:

    Worth the read and exactly what I have been pondering the last few weeks.
    There is no way the main stream media will keep me from the polls on Nov 4th.
    Fight the good fight!

  35. 35Agoraphobic Plumber on Oct 15, 2008 at 7:16 pm:

    “I’m really looking forward to the first time I hear a right-winger say “Not My President!” Goddamn that’s gonna be music to my ears!”

    This smacks of projection. Not even Rush Limbaugh is going to be disowning the president of the United States. Lay 4 years of zingers on him and be a PITA, absolutely.

    Look at the last 8 years of bleating, screaming, crying, temper tantrums, failed anti-Prez movies, books and plays fantasizing about his assassination, and so forth. It’s the LEFT that does that kind of ridiculous crap en masse. And a lot of those are supposed “intellectuals”. The right has its kooks as well, no doubt, but very few who would make you uncomfortable in a conversation, much less bomb an abortion clinic. When was the last time one of those was bombed again, or a doctor attacked?

    I know firsthand what Zombie is talking about here. I made a calculated decision not so long ago that in meatspace, if somebody I don’t know asks–including pollsters–I’m an Obama supporter. Because I’d much rather run afoul of a McCain supporter than an Obama supporter. It’s much safer.

    I can’t IMAGINE why Zombie still lives in CA. It’s possibly the last place I would consider living just because of the political climate. That’s pretty bad, considering all the advantages that place would normally have (weather, mountains, ocean, etc).

  36. 36danzo on Oct 15, 2008 at 7:49 pm:

    Great article. If Obama wins a lot of conservatives will shake their heads and go on about their lives. If Obama loses, I fear there may be riots, screams about a racist America, declarations of voter fraud, and so on.

  37. 37Uncle Jefe on Oct 15, 2008 at 7:59 pm:

    Agoraphobic Plumber, I live in California because I’m actually from here, and don’t intend to let it simply be handed to the leftists. Let’s look at San Francisco, and all that Zombie has documented…The City was a great city before the 60′s. Although always known for eccentricities and wildness, it was historically a patriotic place full of mixed cultures and strong families. Along came the hippie movement, with folks moving here from the rest of the US, the rest of the world. They changed what SF was, and made it what it is today. It’s safe to say that much of weird CA suffered the same fate. But for those of us who have generations here, we’re not giving up. Pendulums swing. Some day yet we may move out of the leftist hold on academia, government, hollywood, and the MSM.
    And I wouldn’t be surprised if that started in weird, wacky California.
    By the way, it’s otherwise a great place to live, and we make great vino.
    One anecdote from this year…
    I’m not seeing even a quarter of the bumperstickers for Obama that I saw for Gore or Kerry, and I wonder if that’s a good sign, or if obama just figured California wasn’t even worth the spend, as it was in the bag…but then again, it was for the other guys as well, so hmmmm…

  38. 38wee fury on Oct 15, 2008 at 9:14 pm:

    Well done and thought provoking, Zombie. Kudos!

  39. 39Who Fan on Oct 15, 2008 at 9:25 pm:

    Well done Zombie. You write as well as you shoot! I was aware of the Bradley Effect, but you definitely enlightened me about other issues of polling and assessing public opinion. This was a great read and I will be sharing it with friends. You have also brightened my outlook abit about the upcoming election. Thank you so much from a regular visitor to your site.

  40. 40newton on Oct 15, 2008 at 9:25 pm:

    Good essay, Zombie. But I’m afraid that the impulse to “belong” will win over any reason this Election Day. After all, who doesn’t like “Change”? Who doesn’t like “young”, “different”?

    Liberals have been using psychological warfare for so long that we have stopped recognizing it. And they will win this war, unfortunately, because most Americans don’t study the issues, but just go along like sheep. “Four legs good, two legs baaaad.” Nowadays, they’d rather vote for the one who gives them the most goodies. I never believed a President was supposed to be a Rich Uncle or a Santa Claus, but we have reached that point, and beyond. Now, he’s the “Messiah”?

    I have become disillusioned with the process. I have come to the conclusion that my vote, even if secret, will make no difference whatsoever this time around. I will do early voting when it comes here (TX), and I will vote for McCain. But I have no reason to hope for a good outcome. In fact, after I’m done, I’m shredding my voter registration card, and probably not re-register again. Why should I vote again, if my vote is going to be canceled out by fraudsters, moochers, and just plain idiots? A constitutional republic cannot stand for long with this. It will only decline and fall. I unfortunately believe that it will happen, possibly by the eventual breakup of this nation into two or more nation-states.

    To steal and paraphrase a verse from the book of the prophet Hosea, “America is joined to an Idol. Leave her alone.”

  41. 41Fan of Zombie on Oct 15, 2008 at 9:30 pm:

    Most excellently said. Zombie, you are a national treasure.

    Your passing comments about noncomformists being more acceptable now than in Asch’s 1950s feels only half right: I accidentally got off the 101 a week or so ago, smack into the aftermath of the Polk Street fair in San Francisco. Never have I seen so many bizarrely dressed people all dressed very much alike. The conformity of nonconformity.

    I wonder why if Asch was a professor at Swarthmore (a women’s college) he ran his experiments on men. Hmmm.

    Keep up the great work. I shall, in my small way, continue motoring around the Bay Area with my McCain/Palin sticker, letting closet conservatives know they are not alone.

  42. 42Roger Godby on Oct 15, 2008 at 9:52 pm:

    An interesting read, indeed. From abroad, 2008 seems to me to be a repeat of 2004: It’s not so much people voting for Bush/McCain as voting against Kerry/Obama; I hope the end results will be the same this year.

    Honestly I hope for a supernatural (or ACORN ;-) intervention that puts Bob Barr in the Presidency, but I’m not voting for him.

  43. 43bayareavoter on Oct 15, 2008 at 9:59 pm:

    Thanks for the great essay–someone linked it from NQ. I hope you’re spot on.

    I am in Marin County and I have a Nader sticker next to my PUMA sticker. It’s my little form of rebellion and I wouldn’t dare put a McCain sticker on my car. I had a Hillary sign in my yard that was repeatedly vandalized and thrown in the street during the primaries.

    My husband and I are voting Repub for the first time in our lives and even though I tell friends and family I’d never vote for the Fraud I let them believe I’m voting for Nader. And there are plenty of friends who assume I’m voting for Barky and I don’t disabuse them of their idea. Not worth the hassle or the charges of racism.

    Hey, Fan of Zombie, thanks for your bumper sticker–I get excited every time I see one.

  44. 44Jason on Oct 15, 2008 at 10:05 pm:

    It’s not often that I see an article this long online and read it from start to finish without becoming distracted, but this one I “could not put down” so to speak.

    You solidified thoughts that have existed as vague clouds in my mind for some time now. Mass psychology is indeed a fascinating subject and its effects mean that reality is a far cry from the cereal box simplicity peddled by the mainstream media.

    Did anyone see the video on YouTube of the pro-McCain march through the Upper West Side of Manhattan? It was mentioned by Michelle Malkin in today’s New York Post and I couldn’t resist having a look. Wow – what a perfect illustration of the kind of atmosphere of collective hate which persuades people that it’s just not worth expressing your real views in public. The left are, incredibly, whining about an “atmosphere of hatred” on the right – based on the comments of a couple of lowbrow loudmouths at McCain rallies (whom I’m still not convinced weren’t pro-Obama plants) – and yet for the last eight years they have done their best to demonize conservatives to the point where walking through a liberal neighborhood wearing a pro-Bush or pro-McCain button is almost as dangerous as walking through a Bloods neighborhood wearing Crips colors. As far as they’re concerned you’re either a racist, a fascist, a Nazi, a baby killer or all of the above. I’ve written some pro-capitalism essays in the past which I’ve posted on forums such as Craigslist and I’ve received some of the most violently hateful emails in response from leftists, who insist that once the Messiah is president they’re going to “kick capitalist bastards” like me “out of America” and that a violent revolution will ensue which will see “chickens come home to roost” to evil people like me who “deserve to be shot.”

    I don’t think it unreasonable to predict that should such a socialist revolution ever occur in America, people like this would be the first to don peaked caps and herd dissenters into the Gulag.

  45. 45ChenZhen on Oct 15, 2008 at 10:09 pm:


    While I commend you on putting this all together and relating it to the current presidential election, I have to say that most this stuff is well known and documented and clear to anyone who studies statistics, market research, polling, etc. In other words, the professionals who actually conduct the polls are well aware of all these dynamics. It’s the reason why there are margins of error and why legit polls are conducted in consistent and standardized ways. The science behind it is well-established.

    However, you make a good point about the media’s role in the principal of social proof, and that polls can shift from gauges of opinion to drivers of it. People can debate all day about what would happen if the poll results were confined to the members of the campaigns themselves and not broadcast across the media, or what percentage of people are going to change their mind in the voting booth vis-a-vis the Bradley effect. But I must have skipped past the part where you provided actual evidence that there is a concerted effort coming from Obama’s side to “poll-stuff”, beyond speculation of what an Obama supporter might do when coming across an online poll. Also, you seem to ignore the fact that the exact same phenomenon could/would occur on behalf of McCain. Why wouldn’t they just cancel each other out, and the net result is the real number?

  46. 46David on Oct 15, 2008 at 10:13 pm:

    Interesting essay. Here in Australia, politicians fight to be portrayed as the “underdog” – as having no hope of winning, on the assumption that voters will want to take down any politician who gets too big for his boots. Voters tend to “correct” landslides to turn them into close contests. Politicians freak out when the media on election day says they’re going to win by a mile.

    Case in point – the 1996 Federal election. the polls in Western Australia closed about 4 or 5 hours after the polls on the East Cost (where the vast majority or the population lives) – because of summer time-zone anomalies. WA voters were voting for hours after the election had been decided in favour of the Howard Coalition – the results were so skewed that the result became apparrent within an hour or so of polls closing on the East Coast. Howard was expecting a big swing in (ordinarily conservative) WA, but the swings in his favour there were actually much smaller than the (ordinarily more left wing) NSW and Victoria.

    So, anecdotally, I think there is something to what you are saying.

  47. 47Jason on Oct 15, 2008 at 10:24 pm:


    “Also, you seem to ignore the fact that the exact same phenomenon could/would occur on behalf of McCain.”

    There is a difference. For instance, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of an example of a Republican election campaign doing something like explicitly inciting its supporters to carry out coordinated attacks on radio stations featuring anti-Obama guests by bombarding them with angry phone calls:

    Another example of this kind of behavior I can think of from the left was when left wing bloggers launched a massive campaign to “link bomb” Google so that the search query “failure” would yield as its first result George Bush’s web page.

    Take a look at this webpage which has been deleted from Obama’s website but which Google still holds as a cached page….

    This kind of mentality is far more pronounced on the left.

  48. 48Bev on Oct 15, 2008 at 10:36 pm:

    Excellent article. I live in Los Angeles and have always voted Democratic, but after watching the behavior of the Obama campaign, the media and his supporters I cannot in good conscience support these people and I will be voting for Mccain Palin. At work depending on who I’m talking to, I’m either voting Mccain secretly or Nader. 2 young men I could tell were secretly unsure about Obama, after talking privately, it came out one will definitely support Mccain and the other was undecided but he is moving toward Mccain (especially when an Obama supporter friend hung up on him when he said he was undecided). He’s been watching Acorn, Ayers unfold and he is becoming increasingly uncomfortable with Obama and says, “we’ll if I vote for Mccain, I can’t tell anyone here”. We are a silent minority.

    The people who I tell I’m voting for Nader, are the ones I know will vote Obama or who will never vote Mccain but possibly could vote Nader. I tell them Obama will win California vote your conscience and go with Nader. It’s my way to push back and undercut the obamamediamachine.

  49. 49ptg on Oct 15, 2008 at 10:36 pm:

    Outstanding, Zombie. You make it all so scientific. I mean that as a great compliment. The science you cite is pre-psychobabble science. My old Sociology professor at ISU, Elmer Schwieder would have loved this piece. When I went to college, there was no separate Sociology department; it was the Department of Economics and Sociology. Thats where I learned of Clever Hans and Solomon Asch. Thank you for pulling this all together so concisely.

  50. 50Bev on Oct 15, 2008 at 10:39 pm:


    Just wanted to add also, Obama 2008 is a perfect example of why I detest Obama’s campaign and his supporters.

  51. 51Bev on Oct 15, 2008 at 10:47 pm:

    “I have become disillusioned with the process. I have come to the conclusion that my vote, even if secret, will make no difference whatsoever this time around. I will do early voting when it comes here (TX), and I will vote for McCain. But I have no reason to hope for a good outcome. In fact, after I’m done, I’m shredding my voter registration card, and probably not re-register again. Why should I vote again, if my vote is going to be canceled out by fraudsters, moochers, and just plain idiots? A constitutional republic cannot stand for long with this. It will only decline and fall. I unfortunately believe that it will happen, possibly by the eventual breakup of this nation into two or more nation-states.”

    This is exactly, as the article states, what Obama’s campaign wants you to believe. Think back to the primaries, they did the same thing, even said he would win California by 10pts and he ended up losing by 10pt. Most of his wins came in caucauses where there was voter intimidation and you have to vote in front of your peers. His strength is fabricated.

  52. 52Boxman on Oct 15, 2008 at 10:51 pm:

    I live in Marin County too and travel throughout the Bay Area for business, and I wouldn’t be so foolhardy as to put a McCain sticker on my vehicle. A McCain/Palin one would really be inviting disaster! Even my customized removable magnetic sticker that says “Defeat Jihad —” I put on occasionally stays on only when the car is moving; I can’t afford to risk it while parked. We all know how “tolerant” those passionate folks are on the left …

    Keep up the good work Zombie!

  53. 53zombie on Oct 15, 2008 at 11:26 pm:

    45 ChenZhen says:

    “But I must have skipped past the part where you provided actual evidence that there is a concerted effort coming from Obama’s side to “poll-stuff”, beyond speculation of what an Obama supporter might do when coming across an online poll. Also, you seem to ignore the fact that the exact same phenomenon could/would occur on behalf of McCain. Why wouldn’t they just cancel each other out, and the net result is the real number?”

    I originally wanted to provide such proof, by linking to the many posts, “diaries” and comments on left-wing blogs encouraging people to poll-stuff MSM reaction-polls to news events like debates. However, I ran out of time (for that issue and several other issues) in regard to digging up “research links” which prove my assertions beyond all doubt.

    Purely anecdotally, in my scanning of the Internet, I rarely if ever see conservative blogs advocated poll-stuffing, but it is a standard practice on left-wing blogs. And not just all going over to vote, but going over to vote multiple times by deleting cookies, etc. I think we’re all familiar with the pattern by now. That’s why the poll-stuffing doesn’t cancel out — one side does it habitually, the other doesn’t.

    Yes, my essay would have been stronger with some evidentiary links, but I had the choice of publish as is, or let it become outdated and a moot point. So I pressed the “launch” button come what may. In a perfect world, I’d have a hundred more hours to work on this; in reality, I don’t even have a hundred more seconds.

  54. 54Anonymous Too on Oct 15, 2008 at 11:30 pm:

    Ah, the irony of someone posting under a pseudonym claiming that anything posted under a pseudonym is invalid.

    What a genius!

  55. 55AnonAnon on Oct 16, 2008 at 12:18 am:

    Re: poll stuffing – I’m a member of the fairly small (from a percentages perspective) community known as “gun nuts”, and I almost hate to admit it, but we stuff the CRAP out of online polls. I refer to this as “the arfcom effect” – as soon as a gun-control polls goes online it hits arfcom ( for those of you who don’t know) and after that the voting is usually about 3 to 1. You can actually watch the polls shift as us gun-nuts spread the word. It’s pretty amazing.

    From what I’ve personally seen, the right-wing has generally been far more effective than the left in stuffing online polls because conservatives culturally get all worked up about stuphs on teh interwebz while liberals usually just go “oh, um. yeah. geeze that’s lame…” and then do absolutely nothing.

    Obama is the first guy in a long time to have liberals just as worked up as conservatives almost always are.

  56. 56Joe on Oct 16, 2008 at 12:43 am:

    I had to laugh, ruefully, at the Obama guy from Auburn CA saying he was gonna get a “nerdboner” from all the science and technology advancements under an Obama regime. The sad fact is, during Obama’s sole foray into academic enhancements, as chairman of the Annenberg Challenge under the tutelage of anti-American shithead William Ayers, money they were allotted to dedicate to improving math and science scores for Chicago schoolchildren went instead to indoctrinate the kids into leftist political brainwashing. Math and science scores declined under Obama/Ayers reign. As with most Obama supporters (and Obama himself), NerdbonerBoy attributes to Dumbo acheivements and accompishments that do not exist and have no basis in fact.

  57. 57Aaron on Oct 16, 2008 at 12:53 am:

    Fascinating article, Zombie! I found myself glued to the content (it’s past 1am!). Possibly because I’m in marketing myself. As a result, trends and psychology are important to me.

    The psychological analysis are spot on. However, there is one other social mechanism at work in this election that will likely aid Obama. Our culture goes through a shift roughly every 40 years. Think of it as a pendulum with a 40-year swing from one side to the other.

    The opposite ends are “conformity” and “individualism”. We have just come out of a period defined by the individual – approx 1963 to 2003 – and are well entering another conformist phase.

    So as not to make this post overly long, here’s some anecdotal evidence. First of all for the pendulum swing itself: Simply look at the historical march of American Presidents and you’ll notice that our greatest presidents occur about every forty years. Washington – A. Jackson – Lincoln – T. Roosevelt – F. Roosevelt – Reagan. (Expect the next great one around 2016-2020.) Each of these presidents appeared around the fullest extent of the pendulum’s swing, to one side or the other. Each of these great leaders was essentially the ultimate product of that particular 40-yr phase.

    Now alternate each of these presidents and you’ll see the swings. Washington, Lincoln, FDR all focused on the society as a whole and the expansion of federal powers. Meanwhile, Jackson (champion of the common man), Teddy (the ultimate rugged individualist), and Reagan (the original “cowboy” president) were all individualists.

    As a result, “going against the flow” may no longer be as hip and there will be serious societal reprecussions for people who continue to live “lookin’ out for #1.” There is a definite undercurrent of not wanting to stand in the way of history about the Obama campaign. The time may be right for exactly the type of campaign you described to be successful.

    On the other hand, this could also work into McCain’s favor. Since the conformist society also greatly values personal sacrifice for the greater good, John’s past may be the ticket to his Presidential future.

    One final note: The Star Trek movies were entirely a product of an “individualistic” phase. A recurring plot device in each of the movies involved Kirk’s defiance of direct orders or established procedures to achieve his desired goals.

  58. 58Aaron on Oct 16, 2008 at 1:13 am:

    3ec on Oct 15, 2008 at 3:47 pm: “Any poll showing McCain as less than 6 point underdog means he will win. I base that on the 3% of Dems that never show up at the polls and the 3% of polled who intentionally lie. Due to the charges of ‘racist’ flying around I assume that number is significantly higher this election.”

    Absolutely right! In both of the last Presidential cycles – and even into the Clinton years – national polls have overestimated Democrats by about six points and underestimated Republicans by about three points. Apply those corrections to national polls and you’ll be closer to the truth. I mention the two Clinton campaigns as well because he won both times by less than the national polls predicted.

  59. 59a market researcher on Oct 16, 2008 at 1:57 am:

    I have been conducting focus groups in Europe and the States for 20 years as well as overseeing all kinds of quantitative market research surveys – one cost $ 5 million but that was a few years ago.

    Your blog post is stupendous, well written, well argued and spot on in terms of how polling is conducted and respondents contribute.

    I remember the night Neil Kinnock was supposed to walk it….and of course all the surveys that said Gore and Kerry had it. This worked very well for me at my local betting shop. I voted for Bush and got 7/2 so a nice little return. In fact, I went into the shop the morning after, when the BBC was saying it was definitely Kerry’s win, but Ladbrokes wouldn’t take another bet on Bush, only on Kerry. So I knew the result before most Londoners.

    William Hill would not take my money on McCain the other day. One guy in the shop offered me 10 to 1, when I reached for my wallet he backed off and said he was kidding. But I thought Obama had it in the bag???

  60. 60VinnyT on Oct 16, 2008 at 2:58 am:

    Very well written, Zombie you’re the kind of journalist America needs.

  61. 61Fred on Oct 16, 2008 at 3:00 am:

    Look at the state-by-state polls, too. They are, of course, subject to the same errors that zombie points out. But they may indicate who will win the states. Obama has been ahead for a long time, and is even further ahead now.


    Obama is ahead in electoral votes by a 2-to-1 margin. Not by a few percentage points.

  62. 62Fygsmom on Oct 16, 2008 at 3:03 am:

    Wow Zombie,

    Your analysis is amazing. I will spread this far and wide. All Americans need to see this.

  63. 63MarkJ on Oct 16, 2008 at 4:16 am:


    “We will work together.”

    Define: “We.”
    Define: “will.”
    Define: “work.”
    Define: “together.

    Well, what if “we” don’t want to work together to build the Obamanarian Revolution? What are you and your Messiah going to do? Give us non-compliers an “offer we can’t refuse?”

  64. 64Stray Yellar Dawg on Oct 16, 2008 at 4:41 am:

    Wow! You nailed it!! Everything I have been observing and feeling since the Dem Primaries began.

    And I so hope your analysis turn out to be spot on.


  65. 65SiouxLady on Oct 16, 2008 at 4:53 am:

    Great Zombie! Just the pick me up I needed. Bev 48 -”vote your conscience” I love it! Wish my mind worked like that. P.S. I was referred here from LGF

  66. 66Yaacov ben Moshe on Oct 16, 2008 at 5:07 am:

    This is quite brilliant. I have been working on the media part of the illusion very intensively and have come up with a more detailed look at the media’s role. It’s here if you are inclined:

  67. 67daniel on Oct 16, 2008 at 5:24 am:

    Great article, wish I lived in the US

  68. 68Reader on Oct 16, 2008 at 5:26 am:

    Wow, the right is really losing it…
    Hope you all will be able to rejoin the rest of us
    in real America after Nov. 4.

  69. 69Former Belgian on Oct 16, 2008 at 6:00 am:

    Great piece of work, Zombie. I have a fair idea what you do for a day-job now, and if I am correct, I can understand very well why you stay anonymous.

    As it appears this is comment #69, let me recall that one of my guilty pleasures,, refers to the lame-stream media as “Obama’s 69th Tank Brigade”. It is appalling that in order to learn anything other than zer0bama talking points about the C[r]ook County Machine Messiah, one has to refer to LGF, Zombietime, BRITISH newspapers (The TImes, the Daily Telegraph),… and occasionally the Chicago Sun-Times.

  70. 70Former Belgian on Oct 16, 2008 at 6:04 am:

    Afterthought: I hope and pray Zombie and I are both dead wrong about Obama. But I fear we are both right. And that this will AT BEST be a “fallen upward” hack politician, and at worst somebody who will wreak more damage to the US (and the West in general) than even Dhimmi Carter did.

  71. 71Sgt Brennan on Oct 16, 2008 at 6:31 am:

    Totally explains the herd mentality of our most uninformed voters.
    Also, much appreciated ray of hope for the amazed and disgruntled patriot.

    McCain: SIlver Star vs Obama: red star- is there a choice? Only for the ignorant, racially blind or “small c communist”.

    keep the faith.

  72. 72jms on Oct 16, 2008 at 7:02 am:

    > the pressure to conform drops precipitously if the subject is aware
    > of even a single fellow dissenter. All it takes is one person to shatter
    > the facade of unanimity, and suddenly the number of conformist answers
    > drop from around 33% to around 8%. With more dissenters, it drops
    > even further.

    This is the true brilliance of the Palin VP pick. She became a role model for those who would dissent against the Obama inevitability. She showed that it was possible to mock Obama and cut him down to size, and that it was possible to do it with style.

    She showed that it was possible to neutralize the main weapon of the Obama camp — the ability to twist any criticism of Obama into a “racist” or “racially tinged” attack. People piled on Palin after her nomination speech for being “snarky”, snide, etc. But no one said that she was racist. And the Obama camp has been trying unsuccessfully to smear her with the racist tag ever since. In doing so, they have not only failed to hit home, but have likely diluted the power of the “racist” accusation by overplaying their hand.

    I also wanted to mention that the strongest evidence that Zombie has correctly identified the Obama strategy is in Obama’s own words — telling his supporters to confront McCain supporters — to get in their face and argue. I’ve noticed a big change in Obama supporters since then, and my response now when confronted with one of them is to simply smile and change the subject.

    But you can be sure I’m voting a straight Republican ticket, and I don’t think I’m alone. This isn’t over.

  73. 73concerned on Oct 16, 2008 at 7:28 am:

    Great read. But it makes me worry all the more. The over reliance on polls and obvious slant toward one candidate is a dangerous tactic, whether intentional or not.

    Obama’s reported inevitability has become an ingrained fact to so many on one side. The cognitive dissonance if it does not come to pass will lead to a strong feeling of disenfranchisement. The protests will become louder and more violent.

    On the other side, the obvious bias and cheer leading itself leads many to feel disenfranchised. I fear the same result from an Obama win AND a move toward a more socialist government.

    It is truly a disheartening state that we find ourselves. It is actions like these that are removing civil discourse from our national affairs.

  74. 74Lembley on Oct 16, 2008 at 7:59 am:

    Very interesting article. I have had similar thoughts but lacked the cohesion to put it all together. Some data I would be interested in seeing:

    - How did polls reflect actual voting during the Republican primary. Wouldn’t they be free of the effects described in the article? If the choices are all white conservatives wouldn’t there be no need to hide one’s true feeling from a pollster?

    - The same data but for the Democratic primary. Were Hillary supporters pressured into saying they would vote for Obama, or did the gender factor allow them to voice their opinions without fear of being marked as a bigot? i.e ‘I am voting for Hillary and don’t feel I am a bigot because I am voting for a woman.’

    Again, great article. Let’s hope you are correct.

  75. 75ec on Oct 16, 2008 at 8:01 am:

    67 daniel

    Great article, wish I lived in the US

    Well you can still vote. Leave your address here and a
    representative from ACORN will contact you shortly
    with an absentee ballot.

  76. 76Tantor on Oct 16, 2008 at 8:37 am:

    Well argued, Zombie, and persuasive. I am indeed one of the army of glum, dispirited and pessimistic conservatives who will reluctantly trudge to the polls on November 4 to vote for McCain. Your essay reminded me of the obvious: Don’t believe anything the MSM says. I should know better than this. It was with a shock that I realized at the end of your essay that I had made the mistake of a rookie poker player and believed the table talk, believed the media polls. I was blind, but now I see.

  77. 77Phillymiss on Oct 16, 2008 at 8:50 am:

    Excellent article. Although I am an Independent, I am leaning toward supporting McCain. I work in an office with 99% Obama supporters, in a liberal city (with, however, some conservative, white working class enclaves), and a predictably biased media and (GULP) I am African American. I DARE NOT say that I am considering not voting for Barack and I’m sure that the other few black people who do not see him as The Messiah feel the same way. To do so would risk being called an Aunt Jane, a handkerchief head, traitor, etc., and face social ostracism. I only express my opinions to my very closest friends. Your essay was very interesting and I will spread it around to those of us who are getting discouraged over the election.

    Thank God for the internet!

  78. 78Stone K on Oct 16, 2008 at 9:21 am:

    I came to similar conclusions a while ago, but in no way could I ever come close to expressing it the way you have.

    It is strange, but it reminds me of the stuff the Ron Paul followers were doing, except Obama actually has a shot and a real support base. Granted his base is made up of people who historically do not vote in large numbers.

  79. 79Idaho Coyote on Oct 16, 2008 at 9:22 am:

    Thank you for well-written and thought-provoking piece, but I have a hard time believing the picture you paint is going to prove out on election day. You yourself have expressed the basis of my belief, and I especially appreciate the intellectual rigor with which you point out a potential flaw in your own analysis: “…it may be that less than 50% of the population was ever interested in voting for McCain in the first place, and that an Obama victory was a foregone conclusion long before the campaign even began; I simply don’t know.” Bravo. None of us know, nor will we until election day is over. I will analyze this flaw to some extent, and I see another flaw in your argument, that I will get to later.

    Deciding on one’s vote for president (or any political office) under our political system is hardly like pointing out the matching line on one of Asch’s charts. There is no measuring tape we can pull out of our back pocket, hold up to the line, and say “look, 12 inches here, 12 inches there, they match, and y’all are just messing with me on purpose.” Deciding who is the better candidate is a much more subjective choice. Speaking for myself, I look at the two candidates and say, “Yeah, Obama looks like the better choice to me.”

    Note that I did not say “Best choice”, “obvious choice”, or “messiah”. Simply the better choice. And despite what you and I both said above about what we don’t know, from where I stand it looks like a majority of voters in an electorally decisive number of states are looking at the two candidates and coming to the same conclusion.

    About where I’m standing: I’m a humanist liberal with Christian roots and a populist bent living in a college town in one of the reddest states in the nation (Idaho), and I like to think I have a fair degree of insulation from the sort of social pressures you describe in your piece and which many of the commenters testify they are subject to. Being a Democrat in Idaho is like being a Cubs fan; if you don’t believe in a long hard road you might as well not show up at all. That insulates me from any pressure to conform locally to the liberal bandwagon – the politics of Idaho are so skewed no one could ever pretend it would work here. The town is liberal but only relatively so, and it’s the Obama signs, not the McCain, that are being pulled up in my neighbor’s yards (not by me I’ll have you know – the thought is repugnant to me). So all that insulates me from the immediate social pressures some of the commenters have described. Secondly, I live in a self-imposed media vacuum. I don’t watch TV or take a newspaper, and while I spend a fair amount of time online, very little of it is spent following the news, the polls, or the blogospheres. I simply don’t have the time or the temperament to subject myself to the sensory inputs, and it’s only because this presidential race is so important and interesting that I’ve come out of my cocoon at all in the last few weeks. Soon after the election, regardless of the outcome, I will likely go back in. So overall I think I’m insulated from the online pressures as well.

    So, no-one is pressuring me to say I want to vote for Obama, nor is anyone really asking. Asch and Clever Hans seem to be irrelevant to me. The wee droplet of my vote will be lost in the Republican electoral tide that is Idaho. Yet I still will vote for Obama. And call me a cockeyed optimist but I can’t help but believe that Obama will win because of votes from people like me who really want to vote for him, and that the current polling (the real polls, not the online popularity contest click-fests) are a reasonable representation of the mood of the electorate.

    About the other flaw in your argument: you make it seem as if the poll-pounding and opinion pressures are the only tactics in the Left’s arsenal this time around, and that they are unique in using them. Further, you imply that because of all the shenanigans influencing how people *say* they will vote, there has been nothing done in this campaign that might genuinely influence people’s actual vote. I quote the same passage as before: “And it may be that less than 50% of the population was ever interested in voting for McCain in the first place, and that an Obama victory was a foregone conclusion long before the campaign even began….” You write as if a person’s vote is deterministic and fundamentally unchangeable. For some yes but not for all. I think *both* candidates had less than 50% of the electorate interested to begin with, and the Obama campaign has done, and is continuing to do, what it takes to get those people in the middle on their side of the election. I’m talking about on the ground, door to door, mailbox to mailbox, one on one political action and persuasion. The organization and effectiveness of this part of the Obama campaign are like nothing I’ve witnessed from the Democrats in my 3 decades of political observation. If/when the Obama campaign wins, it won’t be despite the social pressures you describe from the left, it will be *because* of the things they did to genuinely sway the swing voters.

    Let me echo the statements of a few other commenters and point out the American Left(tm) is hardly alone in manipulating metrics of public opinion and putting pressure on people to answer questions in the socially acceptible way. People of all stripes in all times and places have done it and ever will. Growing up in small-town western states I certainly felt it, and hard, from the right, and I know very personally the decision-making process that leads one to say, “it isn’t worth standing up this time.” I would never claim the left doesn’t do it to, and I’m sorry for those of you who feel shut out of the public debate. I don’t condone the practice regardless of who does it, and I think it’s a valuable service to all people to point out when it’s happening and to teach people skills to recognize and resist it. I’m trying to say Zombie’s admonishment to the Left is well-founded and for this correspondent at least, well-taken. However, for one side of any conflict or issue to claim overall moral superiority because the other side is doing it in a particular circumstance, as some commenters here have done, is disingenuous.

    I’m hoping to wrap this up before it reaches book length, but would like to send a little tweak your way. Maybe, in a small way, the online right-wing community is unwittingly subjecting themselves to the Solomon Asch treatment. Maybe, I submit, the polls really are an objectively reliable measure this time, and maybe Obama really does have a decisive lead in this election. Just like the guys in the Asch experiment saying the short line matches didn’t make it so, sitting around in your blogs telling each other it ain’t real has no effect on the reality of this election. Obamas lead is real or it isn’t, and what someone says in a meta-discussion makes no difference. Nor does repeating the strikes you have against Obama make them meaningful to anyone else. Remember, the choice of who to vote for is only an objective decision one person at a time. It’s obvious to you McCain is the choice, but it’s not obvious to me and to a lot of other people. If your arguments aren’t working on enough people to sway the election, find better arguments, get to people one-on-one, do what it takes. If you can’t find good enough arguments then maybe the Democrats really have the better candidate in the eyes of the majority of people, and he built the better fundamental (not gloss and opinion but fundamental) campaign. And that makes him well qualified to be president right there. Being president is, if nothing else, about choosing effective people and getting things done, and I think Obama has proven he is capable.

    Finally, I would like to thank you again for your well-written article, and say how sorry I am you have found it necessary to hide your public identity (while admitting I’m not exactly stepping out with my own identity myself). I like to think our country and people in general are better than that, and am resigned but disappointed when I find it’s not so. Also an appeal for civility to other readers. I think I have been respectful in my disagreement and tried to engage in this dialogue without the sort of name-calling and cliche-mongering I find so tiresome in other forums on both sides of the spectrum. I hope my comments will be greeted with the same respect.

  80. 80physics geek on Oct 16, 2008 at 9:24 am:

    Wow. Fabulous analysis, some of which I’ve tried to say to my friends and family, in a much less cogent fashion.

    I’m old enough to remember the Nixon-Humphrey election, and I remember the flabbergasted surprise on the part of many , most notably Pauline Kael. I cannot begin to tell you how happy it would make me to see a similar reaction nationwide on November 5.

  81. 81Tantor on Oct 16, 2008 at 9:37 am:

    I seem to recall some surprise in an election past when the polls overstated the liberal president candidates popularity. The Left took those polls as proof the election was rigged, rather than the polls.

  82. 82madmax on Oct 16, 2008 at 9:43 am:

    Great analysis, but consider also this: this strategy has an additional advantage for Obama. By highlighting all the public support and the inevitability of victory, in the event of a McCain win Obama will have additional evidence of a rigged or unfair election, and O supporters will have another reason to be aggrieved. Likewise, in a split electoral college/popular vote, the MSM can use the recent ‘historical evidence’ to push for the abolition of the great normalizer of the Republic.

    Again, well written, and well thought out. Thanks!

  83. 83Robyn on Oct 16, 2008 at 9:44 am:

    You sir, are a great American and I thank you for this article. It was the good kick in the pants I needed to make me believe McCain does have a shot in hell of winning.

  84. 84readitfirst on Oct 16, 2008 at 9:50 am:

    Excellent analysis zombie! It made me late for work but couldn’t stop reading until the end. I hope the Big Zero is trounced because we won’t have a recognizable America if he isn’t. I’m happy to report I saw to other McCain/Palin signs on neighbors’ lawns yesterday; a surprise here in Silicon Valley. Keep the faith all and thanks again for your blog.

  85. 85Phillymiss on Oct 16, 2008 at 10:02 am:

    I have a question for Zombie: what do you have to say about the electoral college map, which shows Obama substantially ahead?

  86. 86Sirkowski on Oct 16, 2008 at 10:14 am:

    Get your tin foil hats, the black helicopters are comin’!

  87. 87GOP08_DOA on Oct 16, 2008 at 10:21 am:

    Delusion: The New GOP.

  88. 88Andrew Pandap on Oct 16, 2008 at 10:27 am:

    I came to this via a link on No Quarter. Thanks for the incisive analysis. It’s especially good to see the distinction drawn between racism and perceived racism in discussing the “Bradley Effect.” Most commentators completely miss this important point. Something that I recall about the election that gave us the “Bradley Effect” is that Tom Bradley actually won the larger number of votes cast on election day—it was the absentee balloting that gave the governorship to George Deukmejian. At the time the conventional wisdom was that more Republicans voted as absentees; I’m not sure that is the case now. I’m not trying to undermine any of the points in this essay—not that this information would—but it’s something I have thought about after learning that Ohio is allowing people to vote far in advance of the election. I wonder if it has any relevance.

  89. 89GOP08_DOA on Oct 16, 2008 at 10:31 am:

    Same as the old GOP.

  90. 90Andrew on Oct 16, 2008 at 10:37 am:

    I didn’t think it was possible to author an entire essay on polling while completely ignoring statistical analysis in favor of pop psychology– but somehow you did it. Congratulations.

  91. 91Curt Barnes on Oct 16, 2008 at 10:44 am:

    I didn’t finish your blog, nor read any of the other comments, but I have only one caveat in an otherwise substantive and almost convincing essay. Most people are uncomfortable lying, and IF they report to a pollster (or to friends) that they are voting for one candidate, they will be unlikely to vote for another in the voting booth if they anticipate subsequent conversations with friends in which they discuss the election. Even if they aren’t forced, then, to lie about their vote, they will feel uncomfortable and squeamish and hypocritical while their friends discuss their hopes about the outcome and they secretly are hoping otherwise.

    So they are likely to “go along” with their friends’ announced preference to avoid the psychological distancing that comes with saying one thing and doing another, holding a secret between themselves and said friends, the day-to-day comity with friends being more important to most citizens (alas?) than their political convictions or biases.

  92. 92muttmutt on Oct 16, 2008 at 11:02 am:

    Uhhh, or not.

  93. 93Mike on Oct 16, 2008 at 11:03 am:

    The fundamental element of your entire essay is flawed.

    Online opinion polls are all over the Internet, started by sites slanting to the left, the right, or right in the middle. Polls on left-leaning sites tend to favor Democrats, and polls on right-leaning sites tend to favor Republicans. It’s just a fact. Internet polls are completely unscientific and are *never* used as the sole litmus test for public opinion on a policy.

    After the debate last night, polls were taken and it showed Obama with a massive lead in nearly every demographic on every question. Those polls weren’t on a website, they were taken by all the major media organizations.

    Even the focus group at FOXNEWS said that Obama won and that 4 of the undecided people in the group are now going to vote for Obama. FOXNEWS snap poll said that Obama won, and not by a small margin. If you say that most major media organizations lean left, then surely you agree that FOX NEWS leans right, and *even their poll* said that Obama won. Where’s the bias?

    The bottom line is that Obama won all three debates. He may not have “won” on individual points, or on giving specific answers, or on being the most interesting, but he was chosen the winner by the American people debate after debate, in poll after poll.

    Obama’s campaign is outperforming McCain’s, there’s just nothing else to it. They raised more money, have a better ground team, have more focused answers to pocketbook issues (McCain doesn’t even bother talking about the middle class in debates, which tells a lot), and Obama simply appears more presidential to Americans.

    The right wing pundits and bloggers are already trying to explain away the devastating loss that the Republicans are inevitably facing in November and this is just another example.

    These November elections will put Conservatism in America back 10 years. Tell me I’m wrong.

  94. 94Proud Liberal on Oct 16, 2008 at 11:04 am:

    Your essay, while extensive, is really nothing more than republican rationalizations as to why the country en masse is rejecting your candidate. Obama is extremely popular. It is not smoke and mirrors, online poll-stuffing or a myth forced upon the country by the McCainstream media. That is your most ridiculous claim, that the media has been pro-Obama. The corporate media is John McCain’s base. Face it: AMERICA HATES THE REPUBLICANS!!!!!!!!!

    This election is over and has been since since Super Tuesday last February. The media has pretended that its a close race to keep their ratings high but its not. Obama will crush McCain on election day to the tune of 400 electoral votes. McCain and his girlfriend will have to live with the most humiliating defeat in political history. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  95. 95truth machine on Oct 16, 2008 at 11:24 am:

    Lots of wishful thinking by you fascists, but Obama really will win.

  96. 96truth machine on Oct 16, 2008 at 11:26 am:

    “I didn’t think it was possible to author an entire essay on polling while completely ignoring statistical analysis in favor of pop psychology– but somehow you did it.”

    All it takes is being a right wing hypocrite liar.

  97. 97Nicole on Oct 16, 2008 at 11:26 am:

    I am a psychology teacher and familiar with the psych studies that you present. You have totally missed the point though. First of all your logic does not make sense. A lot of areas where people are changing their minds are in areas that are heavily REPUBLICAN. Rural areas in Florida, Ohio ect. Don’t you think that people that spoke up for Obama in these areas would risk being ostracized. Yet they continue to speak up and say that the last 8 years have not worked for them. My parents live in a very REPUBLICAN area of Florida and my mom got an Obama sign and put it out front of the house. She was a little concerned about being ostracized but this move caused neighbors to come and talk to her and offer support. They said they thought they were the only ones on the block that felt that way. A woman that never talks to my parents came across the street and felt better knowing someone else shared her views. The rest of the neighborhood is filled with McCain signs. You wrote an entire article with no data to back it up and no one else to verify your standings other than some outdated psychology experiments. This is 2008 not 1950. You can’t not help people out for 8 years and have most of the country worse off and then expect people to vote the same party back into office. There are so many problems with your article. I just don’t know where to begin.

  98. 98rebelbuc on Oct 16, 2008 at 11:32 am:

    Thanks for a very insightful and hopeful (the real hope… not the “hope and change of socialism” brand) essay. You touch on my gut feel and explain it with pertinent examples. I’m not trained in psychology, but I feel that at least one previous commenter missed the point in that your essay deals more with polls by anonymous pollers and not the “sheeple” instinct to go along with friends. I do believe that one can get caught up in the opinions of the crowd that they hang around with, but that’s not what this is about. You make a good argument as to why polls have been so far leaning to the left and very inaccurate for many years. How did Bush win the last two elections? Why did Clinton win with much smaller margins than polls indicated. I’m not a McCain man by any measure, except that I think that he is magnitudes better for American than Obama the sham! I plan to continue reading from your website and look forward to future essays! Thanks again!

  99. 99The Third Policeman on Oct 16, 2008 at 11:35 am:

    Of course, there is a critical flaw in your basic premise – you assume that your opinions and your perceptions are solid, uncontested reality. Your assertions are nothing but, and to attempt to build a logical argument on the basis of a tenuous reality means you fail.

    Your first example says it all, it’s based on the premise that Sarah Palin “won” her debate against Joe Biden. Perhaps she did, but based on what criteria? If it was the number of times the candidates winked, then she did win. If it was their skill at inserting campaign slogans into every answer, ditto. If it was on the basis of providing a comprehensible answer to questions . . . I would say that the reality is that whether you agree with him or not, Biden conveyed understandable ideas about policies, and Palin speaks in gibberish that uses English words but completely defies meaning and comprehension. The debate itself is an example of real-world issues vs. meta-issues, and you prefer meta-Palin. Odd, then, that you would whine so that the meta is not going your way. Here’s a clue as to why; the only men who find Sarah Palin sexually attractive are coddled, ignorant, whining losers with mommy issues and a sense of entitlement. Strong, successful, confident, secure men do not find her attractive. They’re going to vote Obama.

  100. 100truth machine on Oct 16, 2008 at 11:40 am:

    “Purely anecdotally, in my scanning of the Internet, I rarely if ever see conservative blogs advocated poll-stuffing, but it is a standard practice on left-wing blogs.”

    You’re an intellectually dishonest buffoon. The standard internet term for poll-stuffing is “freeping”.

  101. 101eric on Oct 16, 2008 at 11:57 am:

    But what if I actually do think that Palin is a disasterously unprepared candidate with severe ethical lapses on her record, and McCain is dangerously erratic and has a history of extremely poor ethical judgement, as well as being a very poor communicator with serious anger-management issues?

    What if I actually believe those things, even after reading your meta-suggestion that I might actually be crazy to do so?

    I see your Clever Hans Effect, and I raise you Gaslighting:

  102. 102i am now dumber on Oct 16, 2008 at 11:58 am:

    for having read this article… this is the most convoluted argument in the history of mankind. no wonder conservatism/the republican party is now dead in this country

  103. 103Magic Dog on Oct 16, 2008 at 12:02 pm:

    I was meaning to read the essay, but I haven’t finished Oswald Spengler’s “Decline of the West” yet.

  104. 104CommonCents on Oct 16, 2008 at 12:12 pm:

    Zombie, I enjoyed the read. In the Bradley Effect paragraph one, I believe you meant to use misrepresentation instead of misapprehension.

    “But this is a gross misapprehension of what the term means.”

  105. 105FCD on Oct 16, 2008 at 12:20 pm:

    It seems like it would be easy to test your theory Zombie, you just need to find another national campaign run by Obama with a complicit media doing all they could to get him elected. Fortunately, we have had that happen already. You could simply compare the polling data per state versus the actual outcomes in the Obama / Hillary campaign.

    It would be an interesting follow-up to your essay to see if the polling data was far enough off to make a difference then, and eventually to compare that to after the election.

    While I am not an Obama supporter, I do not really think the polling data is falsified or exaggerated. I do think he will win the election. I can’t understand why Americans are so determined to become socialists, but it just seems to be the way it is. On the other hand, I’m pretty young so maybe it’s just the peer group I’m in still.

  106. 106truth machine on Oct 16, 2008 at 12:21 pm:

    “But what if I actually do think that Palin is a disasterously unprepared candidate with severe ethical lapses on her record, and McCain is dangerously erratic and has a history of extremely poor ethical judgement, as well as being a very poor communicator with serious anger-management issues?”

    Then, unlike the zombies, you have a brain.

  107. 107gambolputty on Oct 16, 2008 at 12:24 pm:

    Great article, site, particularly the Concourse section.

    I love the anonymity of the internet; you go girl/boy/zombieperson.

    My biggest fear: not that obama gets elected; rather, god forbid, something really bad happens to the guy afterwards if he does. God save us all.

    So, only “strong successful, confident, secure men only vote for obama” – interesting. And I thought only frilly, week-kneed, coddled, ignorant whining losers voted for Hillary. (And that was only the women.)

  108. 108bobdog on Oct 16, 2008 at 12:29 pm:

    77Phillymiss said:

    (GULP) I am African American. I DARE NOT say that I am considering not voting for Barack

    Very interesting! I have always assumed that the Bradley Effect applied to white voters not wanting to admit that they weren’t voting for a black. But it could apply just as well to blacks, perhaps even more so, couldn’t it? Perhaps overwhelmingly more so. I can imagine a black person feeling a lot more pressure to conform. After all, a white person admitting to voting for a black tends to be viewed as open-minded and non-racist, while a black person voting for a white is more likely to be viewed as a traitor to their race.

    Let’s hope there’s a big Bradley Effect on both sides!

  109. 109truth machine on Oct 16, 2008 at 12:30 pm:

    “I can’t understand”

    Humility is a good first step. Recognize that you’re stupid and ignorant, and you won’t fret so much about things seeming incomprehensible to you. But here’s a clue: consider the statement “I can’t understand why Oedipus wanted to screw his mother” and then look up “Leibniz’ Law” and “intensional context”. In the case of Oedipus, even though what he wanted amounted to screwing his mother, he didn’t want to screw his mother. In the case of Americans, not only aren’t they determined to become socialists, but what they are determined to do doesn’t amount to becoming socialists — no matter how much it may seem that way to you; it’s irrelevant how things seem to a stupid and ignorant person. And, BTW, socialism isn’t automatically bad.

  110. 110truth machine on Oct 16, 2008 at 12:33 pm:

    “while a black person voting for a white is more likely to be viewed as a traitor to their race”

    So it may seem to ignorant racists like you, but blacks have always voted for whites; over 90% voted for Bill Clinton.

  111. 111libarbarian on Oct 16, 2008 at 12:36 pm:

    The libs swamped the polls in 2000 and 2004 too but it didn’t cost W the election.

    McCain isn’t losing because liberals are manipulating voters into having some sort of “false consciousness”. The very theory is leftist in it’s world-view and conception.

  112. 112truth machine on Oct 16, 2008 at 12:37 pm:

    I believe you meant to use misrepresentation instead of misapprehension.

    No, fool, the context makes it clear that he meant what he wrote.

  113. 113bobdog on Oct 16, 2008 at 1:10 pm:

    110truth said:

    “while a black person voting for a white is more likely to be viewed as a traitor to their race”

    So it may seem to ignorant racists like you, but blacks have always voted for whites; over 90% voted for Bill Clinton.

    A slight non-sequitor here. If I’m not mistaken, this is the first election in which blacks have had the option of voting for a black man.

    You have a nice day, too.

  114. 114Anon on Oct 16, 2008 at 1:24 pm:

    @57: If you think a mass-murdering lunatic like Andrew Jackson was a good president, go to hell.

  115. 115burgin99 on Oct 16, 2008 at 1:31 pm:

    I think I’m actually more stupid for having read that. Can’t wait to read your Nov. 5th essay!

  116. 116duh on Oct 16, 2008 at 1:53 pm:

    Riiiiiiiiight. And all the evil, left wing MSM polling that had McCain consistently ahead nationally up until about 3 weeks ago? What happened with that? I second burgin99 — will be checking back here on Nov 5th to get your insights.

  117. 117eric on Oct 16, 2008 at 2:11 pm:

    You got some big words in that one. And pictures too. And it’s long. Now if we could just figure out a way to channel all of that energy into something less rediculous. Then you might have something here.

  118. 118SI on Oct 16, 2008 at 2:14 pm:

    Mr. Zombie:

    “Yet it may very well be that an army of glum, dispirited and pessimistic conservatives will reluctantly trudge to the polls on November 4, each one imagining they are the only remaining person in the entire country voting for McCain …”

    If the post I linked to my name is any indication, they have every right to be glum and dispirited . . . and they’ll probably wake up the next morning feeling even worse.

  119. 119Pseudonymous on Oct 16, 2008 at 2:15 pm:

    You make all these arguments as to why Obama is going to lose because the polls say he’s going to win. I say, put your effing money where your mouth is, and go buy “McCain wins presidency” shares at for $50 a piece. If you’re as right as you think you are, you’ll double your money. Your guy gets in the White House and you double your money. Pretty good deal, right?

    Unless, of course, you don’t believe the crap you’re spouting.

  120. 120Chris on Oct 16, 2008 at 2:20 pm:

    Even if all of this affects the polling, you really think ALL of the polls are 5-10 points off? Has there been a rash of poor poll data this election cycle?

    @ FCD

    Bush is a bigger socialist than Obama or McCain could ever be. Nationalizing the banks? Gifting military contracts? That’s socialism defined.

  121. 121afanter on Oct 16, 2008 at 2:22 pm:

    Thank you this was a fantastic piece. I am not alone – I just need to keep hearing that.

  122. 122Miss Mari-Nanci on Oct 16, 2008 at 2:22 pm:

    Thank you!!!!!!!! I needed this!

    Miss Mari-Nanci
    My “Other” blog {‘In The Mind Of A Grand Mother’}

  123. 123McCain 08 on Oct 16, 2008 at 2:34 pm:

    You lost all credibility with me after this:

    “And yet readers of DailyKos, the Huffington Post, Democratic Underground and dozens of other top left-wing blogs swarmed en masse to vote (often repeatedly) in mainstream online polls about the debate, so that afterward, CNN (among many others) could run headlines that said “57% Think Biden Won Debate,” basing their conclusion on the results of the online polls.”

    The polls conducted by news organizations like CNN, CBS, etc. and cited after the debates are not online polls. They are scientifically conducted polls, like all the other polls these organizations do. While they’re certainly subject to the same sampling errors all polls are subject to, they are not able to be manipulated by liberal bloggers voting online. The fact that you think so shows an extreme lack of knowledge about polling and the media’s coverage of it. Or perhaps you know this and chose to ignore it.

  124. 124dk on Oct 16, 2008 at 2:38 pm:

    You’re a loon. Keep up the self-delusions!

  125. 125zombie on Oct 16, 2008 at 2:52 pm:


    After reading this article which questions the motivation for and wisdom of announcing Obama’s inevitable victory, all his supporters come here and do what? Announce Obama’s inevitable victory.

    Did any of you actually read the article?

    You’re doing the exact thing I describe in the essay — in the comments about the essay itself! You STILL haven’t stopped to ponder why you’re even doing it!

    Perhaps if I put it more simply for all of you Obama supporters:

    There are only two possibilities: Obama is either winning in factual reality; or he is not. But in neither case is it to your benefit to announce that he’s winning.

    If he is actually winning, then all you’re doing is inspiring a more aggressive fighting spirit among McCain supporters who feel they must play catch-up at all costs; and inducing a sense of complacency among Obama supporters. So the result of your strategy will be to suppress Obama votes and increase McCain votes on election day.

    If Obama is actually not winning, but you say that he is, then you’re bluffing with a weak hand in a game where you can’t avoid a showdown. Obama supporters will falsely feel they can relax and coast to victory — when in fact they need to redouble their efforts.

    As a commenter pointed out above, in Australia the politicians seem to understand this principle thoroughly, and strive to portray themselves as the underdog. Why? Because the electorate sympathizes with underdogs.

    So, really, be my guest! I encourage you: Continue declaring that Obama has an insurmountable lead. Continue to bash my essay. Continue to laugh at McCain.

    If you can’t see that you’re in fact being counter-productive — which the entire point I was trying to make — then all the better.

  126. 126zombie on Oct 16, 2008 at 2:56 pm:

    Oh, and I now see what was going on before — I accidentally had gotten logged out of my blog without realizing it, and when I was commenting above the comments were appearing as by “Anonymous” and not by me, “zombie.” I didn’t notice that until just now. It explains why people were asking why I was posting as Anonymous. I’ve now re-logged back in as “zombie,” the proprietor around here. Sorry for the confusion.

  127. 127george on Oct 16, 2008 at 2:57 pm:

    Seriously, dk. This is the most preposterous and petty thing I have ever read! I’d like to tell you all the reasons why, but if I think about this essay too much I’m afraid I’ll barf. (No wonder you wish to remain anonymous.)

  128. 128K. Signal Eingang on Oct 16, 2008 at 3:05 pm:

    I’m guessing on Nov 5th we’ll see an equally well-argued piece about how Obama actually *didn’t* win the election, and this is all a Matrix-like illusion fostered by the liberal MSM and the Stanford Effect.

  129. 129truth machine on Oct 16, 2008 at 3:05 pm:

    A slight non-sequitor here. If I’m not mistaken, this is the first election in which blacks have had the option of voting for a black man.

    It’s not a non-sequitur, nitwit. You claimed — with no evidence, only your racist assumptions — that “a black person voting for a white is more likely to be viewed as a traitor to their race”; if you meant “for a white instead of a black” you should have said it. But early in the primaries, before Obama proved his ability to win, blacks mostly supported Clinton.

  130. 130truth machine on Oct 16, 2008 at 3:08 pm:

    After reading this article which questions the motivation for and wisdom of announcing Obama’s inevitable victory, all his supporters come here and do what? Announce Obama’s inevitable victory.

    All his supporters did that? Really? I’m surprised your ISP was able to handle all those hits.

    Did any of you actually read the article?

    You’re doing the exact thing I describe in the essay — in the comments about the essay itself! You STILL haven’t stopped to ponder why you’re even doing it!

    Yeah, because you couldn’t possibly be wrong, and so anyone acting against your advice must be acting foolishly.

    What a stupid arrogant fuck you are.

  131. 131zombie on Oct 16, 2008 at 3:11 pm:

    Many commenters above seem to think that I am predicting a McCain victory, and ask me to either bet money on McCain to prove my intentions, or they wish to return here on November 5th to gloat as I eat crow.

    Again: Did you even read the essay? I never predict that McCain will win. In fact, I make it quite clear he may not win at all. Perhaps this passage from the “Conclusion” section will enlighten you:

    “Now, it could very well be that, after all is said and done, Obama will indeed win this election — I can’t predict the future any better than can anyone else. The Obama campaign and its supporters are also engaging in many other strategies (unrelated to the exaggeration of his popularity) that have likely been effective — such as blanketing the airwaves with advertisements, disparaging McCain, insulting Palin, and so on. The unabashed and unapologetic Obama boosterism from the traditional media certainly isn’t hurting either. In prior elections, candidates worried about an “October Surprise,” some last-minute revelation or scandal that threatens to realign the entire race. But in 2008, two or three October Surprises seem to be cropping up every single day, and there’s no reliable way to predict what will happen next (other than that the media will try to emphasize the anti-McCain news and downplay the anti-Obama news). And it may be that less than 50% of the population was ever interested in voting for McCain in the first place, and that an Obama victory was a foregone conclusion long before the campaign even began; I simply don’t know.”

    So, please tell me, where in that paragraph do you see me predicting a McCain victory? Hmmmmm?

    The essay is about strategies: The utility and effectiveness of portraying your candidate as the overdog, the unstoppable inevitable winner. I’m simply pointing out that you’re doing yourselves no good by announcing in advance that you are sure to win. Yes, Obama may in fact win in the end, and his lead may in fact be insurmountable, but your unconscious autopilot strategy of bellowing pre-emptive victory from the mountaintop will in no way have contributed to it, and more likely will only serve to make the election closer than it otherwise would have been, should Obama emerge victorious.

    But, I’m actually quite pleased that most of the Obama supporters here utterly fail to grasp the point of what I’m saying. Once again, I encourage you to keep bellowing.

  132. 132ibc on Oct 16, 2008 at 3:12 pm:

    “Zombie”? wrote:

    “If he is actually winning, then all you’re doing is inspiring a more aggressive fighting spirit among McCain supporters who feel they must play catch-up at all costs; and inducing a sense of complacency among Obama supporters. So the result of your strategy will be to suppress Obama votes and increase McCain votes on election day.”

    In factual reality, you are forgetting a very real alternative possibility: Obama supporters could merely be posting comments here to provoke and ridicule you. People can be unkind and irrational.

    Oh, and “in factual reality” is going to be my new catch phrase when arguing over my head. Thanks for that gift!

  133. 133truth machine on Oct 16, 2008 at 3:13 pm:

    If he is actually winning, then all you’re doing is inspiring a more aggressive fighting spirit among McCain supporters who feel they must play catch-up at all costs; and inducing a sense of complacency among Obama supporters. So the result of your strategy will be to suppress Obama votes and increase McCain votes on election day.

    Yeah, right, a handful of people noting on your blog what a deluded loon you are will have such a powerful effect as to tilt the election, so anyone who actually offers their honest appraisal is making a tactical error. Well, you hypocritical dumbfuck, what about your tactical error of warning us about our egregious mistake?

  134. 134ibc on Oct 16, 2008 at 3:15 pm:

    “Yeah, because you couldn’t possibly be wrong, and so anyone acting against your advice must be acting foolishly.”

    Surely *you* remember being young and idealisic. Ah, fall days on the quad; coeds; to be young and full of new ideas you only barely understand! Heady days!

  135. 135truth machine on Oct 16, 2008 at 3:15 pm:

    Many commenters above seem to think that I am predicting a McCain victory

    Most of them are McCain supporters, ever the cretins.

  136. 136ibc on Oct 16, 2008 at 3:18 pm:

    “Yeah, right, a handful of people noting on your blog what a deluded loon you are will have such a powerful effect as to tilt the election…”

    This is similar to the phenomenon whereby–when you point out that most voters who are undecided at this point are drooling, gape-mouthed imbiciles–said undecideds get all shirty about how your side will never win now that you’ve offended them personally.

    There’s no arguing with pathological narcissism.

  137. 137truth machine on Oct 16, 2008 at 3:19 pm:

    I can’t predict the future any better than can anyone else.

    That’s quite an admission — that you are the worst, or among the worst of predictors. But many people can do much better than you — prediction is the business of empirical science, and everyday human cognition is an informal sort of science.

  138. 138Southern Gal on Oct 16, 2008 at 3:23 pm:

    Very, very nice! Thanks for your hard work on this.

    Much food for thought.

  139. 139ibc on Oct 16, 2008 at 3:24 pm:

    I would pay good money to have Wallace Shawn read Zombie’s posts using his voice from the Princess Bride. He sounds just like Shawn’s character elaborately “reasoning” out which glass contains the poison. Just before dropping over dead…

  140. 140truth machine on Oct 16, 2008 at 3:27 pm:

    This is similar to the phenomenon whereby–when you point out that most voters who are undecided at this point are drooling, gape-mouthed imbiciles–said undecideds get all shirty about how your side will never win now that you’ve offended them personally.

    There’s no arguing with pathological narcissism.

    That’s exactly how the so-called PUMAs acted for a while. Fortunately, most of them have since come to their senses, and John McCain’s air-quotes around women’s health last night sealed the deal for many lingerers — talk about “bellowing”. It’s funny how Brainless — er, Zombie — when talking about empirical events that might interfere with his ability to predict only mentions “The Obama campaign and its supporters” and their “such as blanketing the airwaves with advertisements, disparaging McCain, insulting Palin, and so on”, as if the McCain campaign is inert, and then repeats the standard right wing talking point about “unabashed and unapologetic Obama boosterism from the traditional media” — what was McCain’s self-described “base” before he so tarnished his “straight talk” reputation that even they couldn’t stay with it. What a pathetically transparent intellectually dishonest ideologue this Zombie is — a typical right winger.

  141. 141truth machine on Oct 16, 2008 at 3:28 pm:

    He sounds just like Shawn’s character elaborately “reasoning” out which glass contains the poison. Just before dropping over dead…

    Yes. It’s called sophistry.

  142. 142zombie on Oct 16, 2008 at 3:28 pm:

    128 K. Signal Eingang said: I’m guessing on Nov 5th we’ll see an equally well-argued piece about how Obama actually *didn’t* win the election, and this is all a Matrix-like illusion fostered by the liberal MSM and the Stanford Effect.

    No, that’s what the Left did in 2000 and 2004. That’s from your playbook, not mine.Your comment is a textbook example of the phenomenon known as “projection.”

  143. 143truth machine on Oct 16, 2008 at 3:31 pm:

    No, that’s what the Left did in 2000 and 2004.

    So the left said it was a matrix-like illusion fostered by the liberal MSM and the Stanford Effect?

    You’re such a moron and ideologue that you can’t understand, or be bothered to understand, what the argument actually was. Meanwhile, the right is already busy spinning a tail about ACORN and how, if Obama wins, he didn’t really. So much for projection, asshole.

  144. 144jwb2005 on Oct 16, 2008 at 3:35 pm:

    Man, you so need to get a life. I remember reading these same sorts of arguments back in 2004, and they had exactly the same basis in reality then as yours do today.

  145. 145HistoryInAction on Oct 16, 2008 at 3:37 pm:

    I concur with the first poster, a excellent essay juxtaposing psych/political approaches to the election.

    However, my question concerns the ‘folding’/certain confrontation relating to poker. Zombie, you argue that when the vote takes place, the only possibility of “folding” is on the individual level, i.e. people who support Sen. McCain not voting because they think it’s a foregone conclusion that he will lose. I argue that Sen. Obama is seeking to create a Dole-effect, where he drives the RNC out of the presidential campaign, which will hamstring Sen. McCain and clearly hurt his chances at victory. I wonder what your thoughts are on this scenario. I would also be interested to see your thoughts on whether or not there is any way to test your hypothesis before Election Day.

    Thanks, as always, for your insight and bubble-bursting essays. The first 80-90 or so comments were pretty awesome, too. It’s fun to see some nice discourse on the Internet, rare as it may be /grin

  146. 146Lembley on Oct 16, 2008 at 3:37 pm:

    Truth machine,
    Zombie laid out his case rather clearly in his essay. Your responses have been nothing but ad hominem. Maybe offer a post with substance? It seems this essay really got under your skin:

    – Lots of wishful thinking by you fascists, but Obama really will win.

    - All it takes is being a right wing hypocrite liar.

    - You’re an intellectually dishonest buffoon.

    - Humility is a good first step. Recognize that you’re stupid and ignorant, and you won’t fret so much about things seeming incomprehensible to you.

    - So it may seem to ignorant racists like you, but blacks have always voted for whites; over 90% voted for Bill Clinton.

    - No, fool, the context makes it clear that he meant what he wrote.

    - It’s not a non-sequitur, nitwit. You claimed — with no evidence, only your racist assumptions

    - What a stupid arrogant fuck you are.

    If you are certain he is wrong, then you have nothing to worry about. However, due to the reactionary tone of your comments, I would wager that your confidence in Obama winning isn’t all you make it out to be.

  147. 147zombie on Oct 16, 2008 at 3:37 pm:

    144 jwb2005 said:

    “Man, you so need to get a life. I remember reading these same sorts of arguments back in 2004, and they had exactly the same basis in reality then as yours do today.”

    President Kerry agrees with you.

  148. 148zombie on Oct 16, 2008 at 3:39 pm:

    I recommend we all just stand back and let “truth machine” complete his performance uninterrupted. I, for one, find it quite entertaining!

  149. 149mikelotus on Oct 16, 2008 at 3:42 pm:

    Hard to believe that anyone would actually have enough time to spend writing all this content to address udder nonsense. I could not even get through this nonsense on conformity. While polls can have problems, do you think all these polls don’t try and deal with any possible biases? And how about the futures markets? How is the betting with real money looking at it in the UK? We know that futures market and betting lines in the UK are extremely accurate and they actually make the odds of McCain winning lower than any of the polls. Please let me know if you managed to get a college degree and if so where so I can make sure my kids don’t ever think of going there.

  150. 150mikelotus on Oct 16, 2008 at 3:45 pm:

    One more thing. If you are so confident in McCain, bet all your savings and home on that in the UK. Great odds. You’ll be rich when you win. If you don’t want to do it online, fly over there. Its not that expensive and well worth it considering the profit you’ll make on believing this clown. Then post your betting receipt so we can all see it and show that you actually believe this garbage.

  151. 151Acorvid on Oct 16, 2008 at 3:49 pm:

    Who says conservatives don’t have a sense of humor? Good one Zombie!

  152. 152truth machine on Oct 16, 2008 at 3:57 pm:

    Your responses have been nothing but ad hominem.

    You’re a typical cherry-picking right wing asshole.

  153. 153truth machine on Oct 16, 2008 at 3:58 pm:

    Who says conservatives don’t have a sense of humor?

    No one. They love to laugh at cripples and the poor.

  154. 154truth machine on Oct 16, 2008 at 3:59 pm:

    If you are certain he is wrong, then you have nothing to worry about. However, due to the reactionary tone of your comments, I would wager that your confidence in Obama winning isn’t all you make it out to be.

    Ah, another fucking McCain moron who thinks that Zombie is predicting a McCain win.

  155. 155truth machine on Oct 16, 2008 at 4:02 pm:

    If you are certain he is wrong, then you have nothing to worry about.

    Hey, dumbfuck, you really ought to talk to Zombie about what his thesis is — you know, the one he laid out so clearly. Because according to him, if I’m certain that he’s wrong, then I should feel free to bellow.

  156. 156truth machine on Oct 16, 2008 at 4:05 pm:

    I would wager that your confidence in Obama winning isn’t all you make it out to be.

    My view that right wingers are assholes and morons is quite independent of my expectations regarding Obama, fuckhead.

  157. 157Mark on Oct 16, 2008 at 4:10 pm:

    1. Nixon was leading in the polls during the 1968 Election
    2. Do you forget that during all the 2008 debate polls Republicans have flooded sights as well i.e. Drudge Report to inaccurately inflate results
    3. You do terrible research and this paper would never stand up to academic standards…there are way to many holes and faulty thought processes, but of course that will be discounted as words from an idiotic leftist academic.

    Research shows historical polls on the majority accurately predict the election…keep praying for the finger of God to interject in 2008!

  158. 158zombie on Oct 16, 2008 at 4:15 pm:

    People, stop interrupting “truth machine.” He has some more insults and curses to uncork, and we’re messing up his act!

  159. 159Noam Sayin' on Oct 16, 2008 at 4:17 pm:


    You LLLefties afraid of something?

  160. 160reine on Oct 16, 2008 at 4:17 pm:

    153truth machine on Oct 16, 2008 at 3:58 pm, said:
    Who says conservatives don’t have a sense of humor?
    No one. They love to laugh at cripples and the poor

    REINE: whereas the libs love to abort cripples and the poor before they’re born.

  161. 161truth machine on Oct 16, 2008 at 4:18 pm:

    People, stop interrupting “truth machine.” He has some more insults and curses to uncork, and we’re messing up his act!

    You’re just another shallow twit playing to your sycophantic audience. I made some substantive points, but you’re too cowardly to address them.

  162. 162truth machine on Oct 16, 2008 at 4:19 pm:

    They love to laugh at cripples and the poor

    REINE: whereas…

    I’m happy to see you confirm my statement.

  163. 163Mark on Oct 16, 2008 at 4:19 pm:

    Um…I think Truth Machine is just a Republican trying to make us Democrats look like dumb asses …which some are:)

  164. 164truth machine on Oct 16, 2008 at 4:22 pm:

    You LLLefties afraid of something?

    Yeah, right, it’s “lefties” saying things like “I hope and pray that you are right,,,,,because if you are not,,,then you will not recognize this country in four years or less”.

    All right wingers are stupid lying hypocritical scum.

  165. 165truth machine on Oct 16, 2008 at 4:23 pm:

    I think Truth Machine is just a Republican trying to make us Democrats look like dumb asses …which some are:)

    If you think that, then you’re certainly among the “some”.

  166. 166Noam Sayin' on Oct 16, 2008 at 4:24 pm:

    So, what are you afraid of, Truth?

  167. 167truth machine on Oct 16, 2008 at 4:24 pm:

    So, what are you afraid of, Truth?


  168. 168Noam Sayin' on Oct 16, 2008 at 4:25 pm:

    And yet, you’re still willing to vote for one.

  169. 169truth machine on Oct 16, 2008 at 4:26 pm:

    And yet, you’re still willing to vote for one.

    Yeah, I’m going to vote for the scary negro.

  170. 170reine on Oct 16, 2008 at 4:26 pm:

    162truth machine on Oct 16, 2008 at 4:19 pm: said:
    REINE: whereas…
    I’m happy to see you confirm my statement.

    Well, if I confirmed your statement, then I guess you just confirmed MY statement that libs prefer to abort those who don’t meet their standards of “perferction” – wow. Can you say “eugenics”?

  171. 171Mark on Oct 16, 2008 at 4:28 pm:

    That is not true Truth Machine…IT is not proper to categorize individuals just because of their political beliefs. That is what many on the right have done to many fine patriotic democrat and it only adds political poison to the process. We must not attack the individual but stand on the merits of our platform. I for one have many great conservative friends and in the end we all know that all of us love this country and want to take it places, but we have radically different visions on getting it there.

    The conservatives in this country must undertake a massive re branding in order to be viable in the 21st century. One only needs to look at the U.K. and the Minority Govt. leader Cameron. He has done amazing things for his party and will perhaps retake the govt. The conservatives can no longer paint liberals as unpatriotic, they do it every year and it becomes suspicious. How is it even possible that no matter who our candidate is, a yng governor from Arkansas, a former vice president, a former solider from Vietnam, an incredibly bright, visionary young black man, no matter what they are unpatriotic and usually considered the ‘most liberal’ from some cherry picked NGO rating. The American people deserve a fight on the issues

    Stand on our platforms and fight for the truth. End all of this B.S. its a joke.

  172. 172truth machine on Oct 16, 2008 at 4:29 pm:

    Speaking of which:

    Hey, that should really energize the right wingers, according to Brainless’s thesis — racists so afraid of Republicans that they’ll vote for the darkie terrorist. Or, according to his thesis, they don’t have to worry because those folks are only saying that they’ll vote for the darkie, due to peer pressure from their racist friends. Or something.

  173. 173truth machine on Oct 16, 2008 at 4:31 pm:

    Well, if I confirmed your statement, then I guess you just confirmed MY statement that libs prefer to abort those who don’t meet their standards of “perferction” – wow

    Uh no, you confirmed my statement but I did not confirm yours, moron, I elided it.

  174. 174truth machine on Oct 16, 2008 at 4:31 pm:

    That is not true Truth Machine…IT is not proper to categorize individuals just because of their political beliefs.

    Man, you really are among the dumb ones.

  175. 175truth machine on Oct 16, 2008 at 4:33 pm:

    The conservatives can no longer paint liberals as unpatriotic, they do it every year and it becomes suspicious. How is it even possible that no matter who our candidate is, a yng governor from Arkansas, a former vice president, a former solider from Vietnam, an incredibly bright, visionary young black man, no matter what they are unpatriotic and usually considered the ‘most liberal’ from some cherry picked NGO rating.

    I already explained this: because right wingers are hypocritical lying scum.

  176. 176Chris on Oct 16, 2008 at 4:34 pm:

    Wow, “truth machine”, relax, it’s only an election! You really need to get a life. You remind me of one of those angry leftists Zombie photographs at the demonstrations. Take some lexapro!

    Zombie, I hope your theory is correct, but I think there’s so much widespread disaffection with Republicans this year that the polls showing the Messiah winning are only slightly overstated. Witness the deteriorating polls for Republicans in house and senate races. If your theory is correct, then people are planning on ticket-splitting, which I don’t believe. Bad economy, Bush fatigue, the belief that Iraq wasn’t worth it. McCain’s inability to communicate. Occam’s razor says the polls are largely correct and Obama will win.

    I never thought I’d be longing for a Hil and Bill regime about now …

  177. 177truth machine on Oct 16, 2008 at 4:37 pm:

    the ‘most liberal’ from some cherry picked NGO rating

    It’s not actually cherry picked, it’s an election year artifact; both Kerry and Obama returned to the Senate only to vote on the most visible and divisive bills, artificially inflating their rating to “most liberal”. Roll Call magazine, which issues the ratings, has explained this, but the right wingers, being the hypocritical lying scum that they are, leave that out. OTOH, John McCain has been among the most conservative 10 Senators throughout his career.

  178. 178truth machine on Oct 16, 2008 at 4:38 pm:

    Wow, “truth machine”, relax, it’s only an election!

    No, it’s only banter on the blog of some standard issue right wing cretin, you hypocritical jackass.

  179. 179reine on Oct 16, 2008 at 4:40 pm:

    173truth machine on Oct 16, 2008 at 4:31 pm:
    Uh no, you confirmed my statement but I did not confirm yours, moron, I elided it.

    Uh, you can say you “elided” it all you want, but you did not deny it, leaving me with the conclusion that this is what some leftists have come to – eugenics. Not a place I want to be, moronic though I may be.

  180. 180truth machine on Oct 16, 2008 at 4:40 pm:

    Occam’s razor says the polls are largely correct and Obama will win.

    Misapplication of Occam’s Razor, which does not say any such thing. If Zombie’s argument is valid, then the polls are not largely correct.

  181. 181truth machine on Oct 16, 2008 at 4:43 pm:

    Uh, you can say you “elided” it all you want, but you did not deny it,

    You stupid fucking dishonest piece of shit. You said “whereas”, which implicitly confirms my statement. You then said that, if you confirmed mine, I confirmed yours — shear idiocy and logical fallacy. And not denying something is not the equivalent of confirming it — shear idiocy and logical fallacy. The fact is that I do deny that “the libs love to abort cripples and the poor before they’re born”, you pathetic sack of garbage.

  182. 182reine on Oct 16, 2008 at 4:46 pm:

    181truth machine on Oct 16, 2008 at 4:43 pm:
    You stupid fucking dishonest piece of shit.

    heh-heh. Hit a nerve, did I?

  183. 183truth machine on Oct 16, 2008 at 4:47 pm:

    Take some lexapro

    That’s not nearly as much fun as shooting right wing cretins in a barrel.

  184. 184truth machine on Oct 16, 2008 at 4:47 pm:

    heh-heh. Hit a nerve, did I?

    You hit my automatic insult generator for right wing scum, fuckhead.

  185. 185Mark on Oct 16, 2008 at 4:47 pm:

    Haha…Well minus the personal attacks I like truth machine…Thanks for the corrected info.

    And Chris calling someone the “messiah” is another cheap attack. The immaturity is reckless, I find it ridiculous that conservatives say that we have drank the ‘kool-aid’ regarding Obama even though many of us have followed him for 4 years, he has been extensively researched and written about, written two books, and 23 debates, yet Gov. Sarah Palin is nominated and regardless of the fact that hardly ANYBODY knew her or her policies she was compared and ultimately anointed as the next Ronald Reagan. You can respect Gov. Palin and be a supporter, I have no problem with that, but by virtue it eliminates many of these false attacks that you bring upon Senator Obama.

    If you are to criticize those on the left for their actions you should seriously analyze your own, because in the end when you argue with such tactics you lose because it invalidates you argument.

  186. 186Chris on Oct 16, 2008 at 4:48 pm:

    “Truth machine”, I said take some lexapro, not amphetamine. The latter is very bad for reading comprehension.

  187. 187truth machine on Oct 16, 2008 at 4:49 pm:

    I like truth machine…Thanks for the corrected info.

    Ah shucks, I like you too, mostly because you’re not a piece of right wing scum. You’re welcome.

  188. 188truth machine on Oct 16, 2008 at 4:49 pm:

    The latter is very bad for reading comprehension.

    Then you had better lay off of it.

  189. 189truth machine on Oct 16, 2008 at 4:52 pm:

    If you are to criticize those on the left for their actions you should seriously analyze your own, because in the end when you argue with such tactics you lose because it invalidates you argument.

    You’re talking to them as if they weren’t hypocritical lying scum. They don’t care whether their arguments are valid; for them, arguments are just another tool for scoring a win for their “team”.

  190. 190reine on Oct 16, 2008 at 4:56 pm:

    181truth machine on Oct 16, 2008 at 4:43 pm:
    shear idiocy and logical fallacy.

    should be “sheer” idiocy and logical fallacy.

  191. 191truth machine on Oct 16, 2008 at 4:57 pm:

    Case in point, Mark: you say “by virtue it eliminates many of these false attacks that you bring upon Senator Obama”. But what does that mean? It certainly doesn’t mean that they will stop making such attacks — unless their advisors tell them that it’s bad strategy. You and they operate in different sorts of frameworks. You are concerned with whether your arguments are valid and your claims are truthful, and feel shame when you tell a lie.

  192. 192truth machine on Oct 16, 2008 at 4:58 pm:

    should be “sheer” idiocy and logical fallacy.

    Yes, thank you ever so much for the correction. But acknowledge your errors and watch hell freeze over.

  193. 193Mark on Oct 16, 2008 at 5:04 pm:

    I agree, but I know many of my Dem friends that were and are exactly the same way, especially many of the Hillary supporters. I just want to see Indiana go Blue! There has been a lot of pro-Obama movement here as of lately, people I never would have imagined would vote for Obama(understanding that I am stereotyping a bit).

    I think at this point Republicans are very worried, many mainstream, educated conservatives have jumped ship, realizing how sleazy this campaign has been, and now the ones that are left are doing whatever they can to invalidate a pretty inevitable (cross my fingers) democratic win. If these people would take time to read any of the billion articles written on Ayers, ACORN, etc they would see that it is a deliberate attempt to muddy the waters and hood wink the electorate. Watch The War Room and you will see the Republicans have been using the SAME tactics for decades.

    Truth do you have a PhD?

  194. 194mikelotus on Oct 16, 2008 at 5:08 pm:

    wow, let me get this straight. in an incredibly convoluted manner, zombie went to all this trouble just to toss a grenade out and see the reaction? incredible. but in hindsight it does make sense. any wing-nut that believes this could not be capable of writing such a convoluted dissertation. my apologies.

  195. 195Mark on Oct 16, 2008 at 5:12 pm:

    Oh and another thing I need to get off my chest…If I hear McCain bitch one more time about how the U.S. has the highest tax rates I am gonna blow my lid! the GAO reported two months ago how I think 75% of U.S. Corporations have paid 0 taxes at least once in the past 7 years…..ZERO people….but I know for sure I have to pay my taxes, same goes to you Joe the Plumber, and YOU Mr. Republican. You too are being hoodwinked. :) That is the brilliancy of the Republican party, they don’t bring the promises they voice, small govt, low spending etc and somehow get all of you people to follow them. Maybe they are just dumb hypocrites :) ha sorry !

  196. 196Bill on Oct 16, 2008 at 5:12 pm:

    I find it funny that he left out that in all 4 debates the pundits in a majority on the major networks declared the McC camp the winner, then polls were done, NOT online, that showed Obama camp winning big. The MSM was so slanted that they picked McC the winner. Pretty funny.

    This reminds of one of those emails floating around about McC or BO that is a string of supositions built upon half truths that in the end has no scientific merit in any way and is really just an expression of frustration.

  197. 197cb on Oct 16, 2008 at 5:16 pm:

    It’s quite clear the the author of this article lives in a bubble and has little to no on the ground contact with actual voters. It’s all a big conspiracy against John McCain by ACORN, the “MSM”, and liberal educational institutions and polling institutions. The obvious answer is right in front of you if you bother to look around, knock on doors, and talk to people. I appreciate the creativity of your agitprop. It is well written and has decent graphics.

  198. 198Mark on Oct 16, 2008 at 5:20 pm:


  199. 199ibc on Oct 16, 2008 at 5:30 pm:

    Got to say, I’m rather enjoying the gratuitous, knee-jerk, Tourette’s style of “Truth Machine”. You right-wing fucknut shit-whistle ass-wipe dick-weed crap-hound pizzle-faced mo-fo’s deserve no less.

    Um… that’s all I gots…

  200. 200JTS on Oct 16, 2008 at 5:36 pm:

    Whew, what a long attempted proof. One problem. How does one explain Rasmussen poll results where a machine, not a human, asks the questions?

    Polls have a long history of predicting election outcomes, with varying ranges of accuracy.

    The article also misses a key observation. Each poll worker only sees his own polling results. If poll workers were toying with results, they would do so without knowing the combined poll results as they accumulate. One poll worker would have to take a guess at how many answers to “flip” without knowing what all the other poll workers were doing. Too many “flips” would be statistically noticeable. Too few would be insignificant. It would be very difficult for a pool of poll workers to collude to tilt a poll result.

    You gotta laugh at the premise that poll workers are supposedly liberal recend graduates, when the author himself, a conservative, worked polls as a recent graduate!

  201. 201truth machine on Oct 16, 2008 at 5:45 pm:

    You right-wing fucknut shit-whistle ass-wipe dick-weed crap-hound pizzle-faced mo-fo’s deserve no less.

    Actually, I give them more respect than they deserve.

  202. 202truth machine on Oct 16, 2008 at 5:47 pm:

    Truth do you have a PhD?

    No, I have a patent.

  203. 203truth machine on Oct 16, 2008 at 5:55 pm:

    I know many of my Dem friends that were and are exactly the same way, especially many of the Hillary supporters.

    See my previous comment about PUMAs. Beware of fallacies of affirmation of the consequent — just because all right wingers are hypocritical lying scum, that doesn’t mean that all hypocritical lying scum are right wingers.

  204. 204kirama on Oct 16, 2008 at 5:57 pm:

    yeah, great McCain will pull off a magical win uh huh, and if my grandma had wheels she’d be a wagon

  205. 205deceit apparatus on Oct 16, 2008 at 5:58 pm:

    “just because all right wingers are hypocritical lying scum”

    So much for the myth of the tolerant, compassionate liberal.

  206. 206Justforkix on Oct 16, 2008 at 6:02 pm:

    A good article, but the phenomenon described is no different from 2004. It’s just that the shoe is on the other foot. In 2004 the conservative base and the conservative media was super-energized, just as the liberal base and the liberal media is this time. As we get into the information age, successful campaigns must stay in tune with the meme. So, in essence, Obama has run a much smarter campaign than McCain, and that’s in spite of what the article suggests.

  207. 207truth machine on Oct 16, 2008 at 6:05 pm:

    So much for the myth of the tolerant, compassionate liberal.

    You’re a typical right wing moron. Just because I am not tolerant of your kind doesn’t mean that the tolerant compassionate liberal is a myth. And I am tolerant and compassionate toward those who aren’t evil slime.

  208. 208auntie em on Oct 16, 2008 at 6:08 pm:

    truth machine has a potty mouth and it needs a good washing

  209. 209deceit apparatus on Oct 16, 2008 at 6:08 pm:

    “You’re a typical right wing moron.”

    What do you know of my political ideology, or my intellect?

  210. 210Another Mark on Oct 16, 2008 at 6:13 pm:

    The vast majority of respondents are still missing the point. This is not a column that states that McCain will win regardless of the polls, it is a column about the consequences of the public dissemination of polling data and how that data may be skewed, whether or not that is the intent of the pollsters.

    The challenges that pollsters face are many, and zombie points out several of them, notably ones that they are really unable to control, and can only compensate for with considerable polling experience. Presidential polls present their own unique challenges, and having black and white front runners is an unprecedented factor that fogs the already cloudy crystal ball.

  211. 211Veritas Machina on Oct 16, 2008 at 6:16 pm:

    Begone truth machine, before someone drops a house on you, too!

  212. 212GaryB on Oct 16, 2008 at 6:19 pm:

    If you are right zombie, it will be a disaster. The republican party is not in any sense a conservative party anymore, ever since the late 60′s when they became the big spending big government party and the Democrats became not quite the reverse, but the nearly flat spending party.

    Republicans need a really big loss to get back to being part of the checks and balances equation. Spending over revenues is even worse than a tax to pay for those revenues, because you pay for it but have no control or say: Maybe it sinks the currency, the economy, it certainly makes future government more expensive per dollar whether you want military, research or anything else.

    I’m voting for the republicans this election by electing Obama.

  213. 213ChenZhen on Oct 16, 2008 at 6:20 pm:


    On second thought, you might be onto something here. I think perhaps Drudge read your post, has embraced the power of the principle of social proof, and he doubled down.

    But thank you for responding to my earlier comment. I’ll just add that, if you’re going to pen a 6000+ word essay titled “The Left’s Big Blunder”, you might want to provide evidence of the aforementioned concerted effort. Otherwise, the whole thing is just wild speculation.

  214. 214Justforkix on Oct 16, 2008 at 6:22 pm:

    The mainstream media actually prefers a tight race, so a clear front-runner is not a desirable narrative. Unless, that is, the “clear” front-runner changes frequently.

  215. 215James Trafficant on Oct 16, 2008 at 6:23 pm:

    Sounds like truth machine has a vested interest in those government handouts that will surely increase if Obama wins. What a cunt.

  216. 216John on Oct 16, 2008 at 6:34 pm:

    Truth Machine is the most obscene idiot i have ever seen on a blog…get a life moron!

  217. 217Bakunin on Oct 16, 2008 at 6:34 pm:

    I guess I am an optimist, in that I don’t think people are all lairs. It seems to me that “the right”, with its Frank Luntzes, will tell you that polls and studies are the facts, until you find a poll that says something different, then the person answering the question is obviously lying.

    Also, white guilt is bullshit. Guilt is a defined by its opposite, namely, pride. I would rather get rid of them both and just be a human being rather then be defined by a cultural construct that is race.

  218. 218mikelotus on Oct 16, 2008 at 7:06 pm:

    By definition, no one intelligent enough to write this could believe it. This thing is so twisted at so many levels, I can not possibly tell what the full extent of the expected response outcomes he is looking to invoke are. Left or right — your assumptions on reality are being challenged in an amazing way. Beyond that though, I no longer care to participate.

  219. 219Dan S. on Oct 16, 2008 at 7:51 pm:

    Interesting essay. But it’s got a lot of holes in it. Let’s start from the top:

    1) You are spot on in pointing out that the media is being used as a weapon by both sides, albeit more profitably (apparently) by the Obama camp. But this is hardly new. It’s been that way since the ’60 Kennedy-Nixon debate, when people realized that perception mattered. In recent elections it’s gotten more profound, but to pretend like ’08 is somehow radically different from ’04 or ’00 were, seems a bit far-fetched. It’s another step down the path, that’s all. But not that much has changed.

    2) The CNN poll stating that 51% thought Biden won the VP debate was a scientific poll, not an online one. Online poll-stuffing does happen, but nobody in the media actually treats those as being worth more than the electrons they are printed on.

    3) Clever Hans. Very clever. I’ve long known of this effect, but never thought about it’s effects on polling. You are right, I’d imagine, that the folks actually asking the question are probably poor and/or college students. And thus a Clever Hans effect could come into effect. Except… Hans was rewarded for figuring out the clues. People being polled get no cookies for agreeing with the questioner. Furthermore, there is nothing different in polling now than there was 4 or 8 or 20 years ago. I thereby postulate that pollsters have figured this out and it is one of the many factors they take into account when manipulating the data post-questioning. If you were right, polling throughout the decades would have a liberal bias (when compared to election results), and this just ain’t so.

    4) Kissing Asch. The Asch effect is not to be overlooked, and in an objective setting (such as the line experiment you outline), most of the Asch bias will be attributable to normative conformity. But elections are hardly objective. I think that, if you could put an Asch bias in place, there would be much more informational conformity than you think there would be.

    But as you say, even one dissenter ruins the Asch effect, and multiple dissenters tear it to shred. As you also point out, anybody can find in five minutes countless sites agreeing with their deeply held beliefs. Which would therefore invalidate any sort of Asch effect in this election, right? Even if there weren’t daily polls pointing out the 40+% of the country planning on voting for McCain. I don’t think the Asch effect will matter anywhere outside of Massachusetts.

    5) The Bradley Effect. Will not be visible in this election. Obama is a unique candidate in that there exist several strong and valid reasons why people who might otherwise vote Democratic would not vote for him. Notably, the experience issue. It provides a socially acceptable reason not to vote for him, ergo people don’t have a strong motivation to lie to the pollsters.

    Furthermore, Pew Research just did a report on the Bradley effect. The most interesting part was that they apparently have done periodic surveys since the late ’50s where they asked people “If your party put forth a black candidate, would you consider voting for him?” In 1958, a full 50% absolutely would not have. In 1982 (when the eponymous Bradley lost), 25% would not. Today, fewer than 10% say no. Now, you can argue that this poll in and of itself could exhibit a Bradley effect, and you might be right. But there’s no denying that racial tensions have greatly eased in this country even just in the last 15 years.

    6) The race card. You say “it seems the majority of pro-Obama pundits, journalists and bloggers routinely state as fact that all McCain supporters are racists who refuse to vote for Obama simply because he is black.” I categorically deny this. I haven’t seen any pundits, journalists, or bloggers claim this. I haven’t even heard them say that most, or even some McCain supporters are ipso facto racists. I have heard claims that a *few* are, which is hard to prove and hard to deny at the same time. But all or even most? Haven’t heard it and I think it’s ridiculous for you to claim that most journalists claim that all McCain supporters are racists.

    7) Media bias. It may be the case that most reporters are liberals, but the folks who actually own the media outlets are conservatives. As an example, many liberals thought the media gave Bush the benefit of the doubt on virtually any issue that came up in 2000, while at the same time overblowing every single gaffe Gore made (inventing the internet, Love Story, sighing in the debate). Hrm. Conservatives think the media has a liberal bias, and liberals think it has a conservative bias. Could that mean that maybe the media actually hews a line roughly down the middle?

    To summarize: I don’t think much has changed since ’04. True, Obama is running a more populist campaign, designed to make the average supporter feel more involved, but I think your charges of trying to “Asch” the election are vastly overblown, and I don’t think any of this will amount to much. I think the polls are, collectively, fairly accurate (though of course any one poll can be hugely out of whack), and I also thought this a month ago when the nation seemed gripped by Palin-mania and Obama was in free-fall.

    You’ve got a lot of interesting ideas, but I don’t think they’ll amount to much. Were I more cynically inclined I might accuse you of trying to use many of the same tactics and strategies you mention in this essay, but instead I’ll just leave an open-ended question for others to consider: Is an obviously conservative author trying to influence your perception of the election by writing an essay stating that Obama’s not gonna do nearly as well as we think he is?

  220. 220John M. on Oct 16, 2008 at 8:35 pm:

    You can always stick with robopolling like Rasmussen does, then you shouldn’t get a bias in the polls. Keep in mind that Pew (who along with IBD/TIPP and Rasmussen was most accurate in 2004 iirc) suggests that robopolling may cost Obama a point or two in this cycle because of cellphone-only voters. On the other hand, we may have a bit of a Bradley effect, shy Tory effect, or youth enthusiasm effect (as we saw in 2004 exit polls) inflating Obama’s numbers.

    Bottom line, McCain is almost certainly behind by a couple of points right now, although probably not nearly as much as the poll averages would suggest. The race is far from over and seems to be continuing to tighten over the last couple of days, but it will need to tighten a bit more for McCain to have a good shot at winning. He has a shot if Joe the Plumber gives him a new focus, if the stock markets finally stabilize, and if voters start to experience buyer’s remorse about someone with as thin of a resume as Obama, which happened a number of times during primary season. On the state level, McCain has to knock loose one of VA, PA, or IA and make sure to hold the rest of the big battlegrounds (CO, OH, FL). It won’t be easy.

  221. 221simona on Oct 16, 2008 at 8:45 pm:

    “Can you be absolutely sure they aren’t putting a check mark in the “Racist” box next to your name in some mysterious database?”

    So you think the Obama campaign is using people’s fear of being called racist to get ahead. No, I disagree. But I do think the McCain campaign is quietly using our nation’s racial tensions and stereotypes in an unethical way in his own advertising. I also wonder if you yourself are instilling fear in your readership, about “big brother”, a concept much more plausible and looming after eight years of being stripped of our civil liberties.

    Obama has been the only candidate talking about the issues COHERENTLY and calmly in this campaign. God bless him.

  222. 222Lavender Pitt on Oct 16, 2008 at 8:57 pm:

    Dan S-
    great and measured response to a brilliantly researched article. The research was brilliant, the premise was not. Let me see if I can sum this up: The liberals are deluding themselves into thinking that their echo chamber translates as a real lead. They also feel (in collusion with the liberal media) that this has the added benefit of demoralizing McCain supporters into staying home, staying quiet, and giving up.

    Maybe, just maybe, Obama’s in the lead because he’s run a better campaign than McCain, and people are more receptive to his ideas for the country and the persona he would project as America’s head-of-state?

    Sometimes the shortest distance between two points is a straight line; although really interesting reading, your whole post carried the emotive tone of desperation. Sorry, Zombie-guy.

  223. 223Veritas Machina on Oct 16, 2008 at 8:58 pm:

    @Dan S.
    On several of you points, I think you missed some things.

    “3) Except… Hans was rewarded for figuring out the clues. People being polled get no cookies for agreeing with the questioner.”

    But they do get a reward Dan, people try to please other people, and will give them the answers that they think the questioner wants. The effect may be subtle, but the Asch experiments provided evidence that this happens. It is also a widely held belief that accusations of racism are thrown around far too easily, and people on the right have a general perception that confirming support of McCain will draw a subtle or possibly overt accusation of racism. That is enough of a reward for many.

    “5) The Bradley Effect. Will not be visible in this election. Obama is a unique candidate…

    …they asked people “If your party put forth a black candidate, would you consider voting for him?” In 1958, a full 50% absolutely would not have. In 1982 (when the eponymous Bradley lost), 25% would not. Today, fewer than 10% say no. Now, you can argue that this poll in and of itself could exhibit a Bradley effect, and you might be right. But there’s no denying that racial tensions have greatly eased in this country even just in the last 15 years.”

    The Bradley Effect will most definitely be involved in this election, 10% is not an insignificant number. As to the actual size of the effect, that can be debated, but given the narrow margin of victory for recent Presidential elections, even a small effect looms large.

    “7) Media bias. It may be the case that most reporters are liberals, but the folks who actually own the media outlets are conservatives. As an example, many liberals thought the media gave Bush the benefit of the doubt on virtually any issue that came up in 2000, while at the same time overblowing every single gaffe Gore made (inventing the internet, Love Story, sighing in the debate). Hrm. Conservatives think the media has a liberal bias, and liberals think it has a conservative bias. Could that mean that maybe the media actually hews a line roughly down the middle?”

    The media owners tend not to interfere in the day to day operations performed by their employees, the reporters. Who do you think is going to be the one that produces the content delivered to the public?
    Benefit of the doubt? To Bush? Are you kidding me? How many questions were raised about his alcoholism and reported drug use? About his intelligence? About his supposed avoidance of the draft? Perhaps you have heard of the false evaluation letters that brought down Dan Rather a mere 4 years latter?
    Gore made so many gaffes media simply could not ignore them and maintain any pretext of objectivity, especially when they beat Quayle into the ground over gaffes just 8 years previous.
    Conservatives think the vast majority of media has a liberal bias due to having it demonstrated to them time after time. Liberals think that Fox News and talk radio have a conservative bias. They’re right about one of those, the other one just appears that way in comparison to the other TV networks.

  224. 224joe plumber on Oct 16, 2008 at 9:06 pm:

    The notion of a “Bradley effect” is predicated on undecideds over-reporting, and then going massively for the non-Black candidate on election day. There’s no evidence of especially large undecided populations in polls (somewhere between 2-10%, depending on how hard a poll pushes). The idea behind it isn’t that somehow, people SAY they’re voting for the black guy and switch–that’s a fundamental misunderstanding of what happened.

    Your article makes a few good points, but it doesn’t help the Republican cause that they cherry-pick the data that most supports them, either. Drudge leads with “MCCAIN WITHIN MARGIN OF ERROR” tonight, and that sort of thing…certainly there’s a risk of group-think, but this anecdotal evidence of “a Democrat voting Republican because of ACORN” is no different than a Republican voting Democrat because of fears over Palin’s inexperience–and I know a few of those. Does that mean there’s some MASSIVE UNKNOWN ELECTION NARRATIVE? No…it just means we know some people who generally match our ideology. None of this is surprising, but I don’t think it bolsters the case for a “silent majority” of McCain supporters.

  225. 225Jason on Oct 16, 2008 at 9:11 pm:

    Fred on Oct 16, 2008 at 3:00 am:

    Just because Obama is 2 to 1 on electoral votes does not mean that the race is not as close as the popular vote suggests. Hypothetically, if each and every one of Obama’s electoral votes were won by small margins, then a small change in the electoral vote in McCain’s favor could bring most of them back again just as quickly as Obama won them.

  226. 226twolaneflash on Oct 16, 2008 at 9:19 pm:

    Zombie on the right, Joe-the-Plumber on the left, Sarah Palin at his six, McCain is in great company! Thank you for the clear and organized analysis, which aligns perfectly with this old man’s gut reaction to Obama’s campaign. Dan S. is in denial of a paradigm shift in America’s political landscape. In addition, who is this “we” Dan S is talking about he says “we think”? Not being infected with “we think”, I’ll see you at the polls. Thanks, Zombie, and God bless.

  227. 227Dilip D'Souza on Oct 16, 2008 at 9:38 pm:

    I’m watching all this from Bombay, India, though with a little more interest because I was on a long roadtrip through the west and mountain states during Aug and Sep. i.e. got my fill and more of the Limbaugh/Hannity radio-phoria over Palin, among other things.

    All other things being equal (though what or who equals Limbaugh, I’d like to know) — this essay, while interesting, is really just a long sequence of speculations. You think there might be a Bradley effect, a Clever Hans effect, an Asch effect. You point out how they work and how they might apply. You offer, on the other hand, not a single bit of evidence, not even “evidence”, for these factors actually being at work in the election.

    Admitted, it’s hard to find such evidence. But that doesn’t excuse speculation from being just that, speculation.

    It’s not that I think Obama is necessarily going to win because the polls show him leading three weeks ahead of E-day. Polls have been wrong before, in the US as in India.

    But you’re trying to do something quite different: show that even if half-a-dozen polls show Obama leading today by substantial margins, there are good speculative reasons (Asch, Bradley, etc) they might ALL be wrong TODAY. I don’t know if this is going to make conservatives feel suddenly better — I know they wouldn’t make me feel better were I one.

    But faced with your effort, I truly believe Occam’s razor (cited by somebody in the mess of insults above) applies: all else being equal, pick the simple solution. Put another way, your explanation of a situation needs to make a minimum of external assumptions. Unfortunately, your essay makes just too many assumptions.

    So thanks, but no thanks. Given your essay vs all those polls, I’ll choose to believe that the mood in the US right now, Oct 17 2008, trends towards Obama for Prez. How that mood might change over the next three weeks, or will translate into votes come Nov 4, I’ll wait to see then.

  228. 228Eddie Deceased on Oct 16, 2008 at 9:43 pm:

    Hi, I’m Eddie- one of the dead voters that ACORN has resurrected to vote for Obama – we will rise up on that day and smite him!

  229. 229Dilip D'Souza on Oct 16, 2008 at 10:02 pm:

    And may I say this: I hope that the mood I referred to in my previous comment does indeed translate into an Obama victory. Like Idaho Coyote above, my opinion is that Obama has run the better campaign and shown he’s better Presidential material than McCain.

  230. 230leclaw on Oct 16, 2008 at 10:10 pm:

    “We are grateful to the Washington Post, the New York Times, Time magazine and other great
    publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected the promises of discretion for almost forty years. It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subject to the bright lights of publicity during those years. But, the world is now more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world-government. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the National auto-determination practiced in past centuries”

    David Rockefeller in an address to a Trilateral Commission meeting in June of 1991

    Sort of puts the relevance of all this chatter into perspective…

  231. 231twolaneflash on Oct 16, 2008 at 10:37 pm:

    There was a fourth Presidential debate tonight at the Albert E. Smith Dinner in NY. McCain cleaned Obama’s clock. McCain delivered a first-class comedy performance at this traditional roast of the candidates, inflicting a number of wounds on Obama in the process. McCain started by announcing the dismissal of all his senior advisors, and the appointment of Joe-the Plumber to all their positions. Obama’s co-conspirators in the Big-Money-Media and ACORN were made a punchline in their efforts to elect “The One”. MSNBC got hammered, Matthews and Olbermann got a thorough beating, and Katie Couric was visibly humiliated and embarrassed by being stripped naked in public. Hillary was having a blast at the punishment McCain heaped on Obama, laughing with unrestrained joy. Obama’s writers must have not gotten the memo that old white guys get together for charity and lampoon each other just before the Presidential election; he was not very funny. The audience response to Obama’s attempts at humor were flat, following after McCain’s superb show. He led off with his terrorist pal Bill Ayers, and went back to him at the end of his talk. Ayers is that stain that won’t come clean. The difference in these two men never stood out more than their few minutes as humorists. Obama’s arrogance overwhelmed him. Obama took swipes at McCain’s age (his best joke), the McCain wealth, Bill & Hill, Rudy Giuliani, cross-dressers, black parents, Fox News, and Wall Street. Look for this one on YouTube, and look for the Obama thugs to try to suppress it with copyright claims, etc. Obama is not just inadequate to the job of president.

  232. 232Dan Phillips on Oct 16, 2008 at 11:16 pm:

    It’s sad to see that conservatives now have no recourse beyond lies and distortions. At least McCain looks uncomfortable when pursuing the disingenuous Ayers and ACORN claims (really, be honest: you know that the only voter “fraud” in the past few decades has been the concerted disenfranchisement of Democratic-leaning constituencies in Florida, Ohio etc.). Hopefully, you will all be able to be a little more honest once we have a President who’s not afraid to be honest, like Obama, as opposed to the elitist, silver-spoon, lie-straight-to-the-camera GW and his neocon buddies.

  233. 233Dan Phillips on Oct 16, 2008 at 11:18 pm:

    Ayers, btw, was Chicago’s citizen of the year in 1997. The idea that associating with him is somehow a stain on someone’s record is, frankly, ludicrous. Truth, folks – really, it’s your friend. Try it sometime.

  234. 234Dan Phillips on Oct 16, 2008 at 11:21 pm:

    Anyone with concerns regarding ACORN should read this:

  235. 235bobdog on Oct 16, 2008 at 11:33 pm:

    Dan S. said:

    7) Media bias. It may be the case that most reporters are liberals, but the folks who actually own the media outlets are conservatives.

    The comments about media bias miss the most important point. It doesn’t matter who owns the company or who works for it, because they all get their news from the same place: the Associated Press. At least 95 percent of all national and international stories in newspapers, on network television, and on the radio, come straight off the AP wire. Look for the little “AP” at the start of all your newspaper articles. If the AP doesn’t report on an event, it doesn’t exist in the minds of most Americans.

    The question, then, is what is the bias of the AP? I have been reading papers for my “entire adult life” and I can say without hesitation that the AP has an acute leftist ideological slant. It’s not just obvious; it’s profound and it’s relentless, and this year is the worst that it has ever been. They are unabashedly campaigning for Obama. The make no pretenses about being objective anymore and they don’t attempt to be fair.

    Someone somewhere described this year as “the year journalism died” and I have to agree, although it’s been a steady decline over decades. There is no real journalism going on in the mainstream media. About the only place that you see real journalism being done these days is by bloggers on the web.

  236. 236Denver on Oct 16, 2008 at 11:44 pm:

    Excellent essay. You have put down on paper, with excellent citations, that which so many of us have intuitively understood about the Socialist’ tactics. Such methods are straight out of the Soviet Communist playbooks and it’s a damn shame that their devious ideology has infiltrated our public education system to such a degree that the most critical lessons from the Cold War are left out of the curriculum. Welcome to Cold War 2.0.

  237. 237Greg on Oct 17, 2008 at 12:53 am:

    I have a few thoughts about this essay I’d be interested to hear you address:
    1) Robopolling. People are going to feel absolutely no compunction one way or the other to try to please an automatic call. If your thesis were true, the polls would have consistently shown McCain being five or more points higher, and Obama five or more points lower, in robopolls than he is in human-conducted polls. He hasn’t. Robopolls are showing the same wide margin for Obama that human-conducted polls. Honestly, I think this point is enough to stick a fork in your theory. But let’s continue:

    2) 2004. Here’s a link to several 2004 polls, many of which show Bush with a slight but clear edge a few days before the election:
    Bush is up over Kerry 50.1-48.0 in TIPP, 51.2-47.8 in George Washington’s, and up in Zogby 0.3%. Why weren’t all these poll workers sending out subliminal messages to voters in 2004? If college-educated and unemployed/underemployed workers are gaming the system now, why didn’t they game it four years ago? Why do the TIPP and George Washington polls so closely match the final result?

    3) Bradley’ effect doesn’t exist anymore. Read Nate Silver (who, by the way, could probably explain why you’re wrong about all this.)

    4) Ditto what Dan S. said in a comment 219:
    he CNN poll stating that 51% thought Biden won the VP debate was a scientific poll, not an online one. Online poll-stuffing does happen, but nobody in the media actually treats those as being worth more than the electrons they are printed on.
    You’re trying to treat unreliable online polls like they’re more reliable phone polls & robo polls. I’m going to assume this was just an error, but treating the two things as if they’re similar makes your essay slightly less reliable. Correction forthcoming?

    5) Polling companies *make their money by being reliable.* They get *hired* by candidates of both parties on the basis of their reliability. Each polling company is in *competition* with the others to be the most reliable. Each company is different from the others. If each of these companies were inflating Obama’s poll numbers, whether on purpose or *by accident*, there would be a huge opening for an upstart polling company that had the real numbers, the reliable numbers; more importantly, this polling company would announce the flaw that all the other companies were making. It’s a safe bet that the financial benefit to this polling company would be sizeable, as would the ensuing media attention. Your theory presupposes that *every single polling company* has this flaw, and not a single one has corrected for it. George Washington, Rasmussen, Marist. And, uh, yeah, those robopolls. The ones people have no problem telling the truth to.
    Polling companies, more than anything else, want to predict the election *with accuracy.* They want to *avoid being embarrassed* come Nov. 4th. I daresay anyone caught cooking the books at these companies would be fired.

    6) Evidence, or lack thereof. Did you contact any pollsters before you wrote this? Anyone who’s currently working for a pollster to ask them exactly how they quality control for this sort of thing? I’m always suspicious of things like this which don’t give large groups of people being criticized (in this case, pollsters) a chance to respond. I know you worked for a pollster as a college student, and I understand your desire for anonymity, but you don’t give a year range, or tell us if that’s one of the major national pollsters now. If it was years ago, well, how do you know things haven’t changed? More importantly, though, is the lack of attempted contact with pollsters who could have answered your questions about how they control quality. (I’m curious, too, so I’m going to ask Nate Silver, at fivethirtyeight.)

    7) Your claim about 1968 is just way off–the Democratic convention was chaotic, the Democrats were being blamed for Vietnam, there was a middle America backlash against hippie protesters, and George Wallace was peeling away a good portion of the Democratic vote. Nineteen-sixty-*four* was a year with favorable Democratic conditions. 1968? Not so much. And Nixon didn’t give his “silent majority” speech until one year *after*he had one (Nov. 3, 1969), by which point his polls had already gone up. It’s a small point, but one which undermines this essay’s credibility.

    8) Boosterism may or may not be effective, but your essay seems to ignore the fact that if the Republicans were in the lead, they’d be doing the exact same thing. I’ve never heard anyone gloat like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh gloat. (And come on, didn’t the Republicans turn to boosterism in 1984, when they were crushing Mondale, and 1988, when they were crushing Dukakis, and 2002, when it was clear they were going to keep the House & retake the Senate?) It may or may not be productive or counter-productive, but to claim that it’s a conscious strategy, as opposed to just something the winning team does, is odd. Maybe Obama’s supporters *shouldn’t* be so booster-ish, but then again, some Americans just the guy who’s winning.

    But most importantly, your essay fails the Occam’s razor test. Sure, every single pollster could somehow be (accidentally) gaming the system, no polling company has discovered this discrepancy and tried to exploit it, and the media could all be in the tank for Obama. Or it could just be political conditions favor the Democrat anyway, Obama’s run a smart, disciplined campaign, McCain has run an erratic, wobbly one, and Obama passed the crucial “reassure the voters” test in the first debate.

    Again, I suspect this comment will be lost in the shuffle, as we’re already past 200–or it’ll be ignored. But I really want to hear your explanation for the robopolling.

  238. 238Greg on Oct 17, 2008 at 12:54 am:

    That is not supposed to be a smiley face. Please disregard. (freakin emoticons…)

  239. 239Katrina on Oct 17, 2008 at 1:24 am:

    Since 1929, Republicans and Democrats have each controlled the presidency for nearly 40 years. So which party has been better for American pocketbooks and capitalism as a whole? Well, here’s an experiment: imagine that during these years you had to invest exclusively under either Democratic or Republican administrations. How would you have fared?

    As of Friday, a $10,000 investment in the S.& P. stock market index* would have grown to $11,733 if invested under Republican presidents only, although that would be $51,211 if we exclude Herbert Hoover’s presidency during the Great Depression. Invested under Democratic presidents only, $10,000 would have grown to $300,671 at a compound rate of 8.9 percent over nearly 40 years.

    If Obama wins, we’ll get affordable healthcare, new bridges and roads, thousands of new jobs, regulations to curtail the now socialized banking industry!


  240. 240Rick on Oct 17, 2008 at 2:01 am:

    If poll workers are college kids skewing results to make their candidate look better, one would assume that would not be a recent change. (After all, haven’t college kids always been seen as more liberal, or at least since the 60s?) If it’s long been that way, well, several of the polling organizations must not have gotten the memo in 2000, when the percentage of the vote Bush and Gore got was pretty much even, and yet 7 of the 10 polls overstated Bush’s margin of victory, such as it was. (see: It’s too late for me to feel like refuting your other accusations, but that one stuck out like a sore thumb. Conspiracy theories on the right AND the left would make me laugh if they didn’t have the chance of being believed by a significant part of the population. (See: Robert Kennedy Jr’s accusations of voting irregularities in the 2004 election in Ohio.)

  241. 241Freedom Now on Oct 17, 2008 at 3:01 am:

    Its fascinating how a Leftist resorts to an appeal to conformity in response to an article about the conformist tactics of the Left.

    Obama2008 said;

    “You don’t have to fear change. Conservative knees are shaking across the nation, but you need not fear. We are all American. We will work together.”

    Bullying is also another conformist tactic:

    “Understandable that you don’t want your name associated with this diatribe. Very understandable, my friend.”

    Then the latest response to the convictions of ACORN’s voter fraud scandal is to cite the faux 2004 “scandal”, which yielded no convictions and basically was the result of sour grapes.

    Only sheep can fall for such utter nonsense. The cult of personality revolving around the “One” is nothing but the setup of the big fall. Setting expectations soooo high; along with all the accompanying arrogance, is just asking for trouble.

  242. 242donnchad on Oct 17, 2008 at 3:51 am:

    I’m not really part of this,not being American and all.But…………
    This was sent to me by a McCain supporting american friend.
    In essence (outside of the US) the idea that anyone in the US is ‘leftist’ is a joke.This is indeed the problem.The US seems to outsiders to have forgotten all its original values of tolerance,freedom and the pursuit of a better world for all which seems to now = ‘leftist’.Used to be that other ‘l’ word liberal.
    There is great fear outside the US of a continuation of the almost maniacal tendencies of the Bush administration to create ever more wars against ‘Terror’ and to encourage all americans to lose both their inherent kindness to others and their traditional welcoming attitude and even their sense of humour.The most telling comment at a Davos ‘summit’ on ‘Brand America’ was by a freqent US traveller who explained how,in the last eight years, arriving at a US airport had changed from ‘friendly banter’ to an encounter with cheerless,aggressive,suspicious paranoids.
    Lighten up.Obama is just trying to give you back some self belief instead of making you frightened of your own shadows.This poll stuff ,whilst having many interesting and true elements, is ultimately not the point.
    Do you want to go forward?
    Or maybe switch off the internet and forget about everything?

  243. 243Herunar on Oct 17, 2008 at 4:22 am:

    I prefer Obama and I disagree with your article, but I have to say I am genuinely surprised by the organization and clarity of it. Frankly I wasn’t expecting such a well-thought piece from McCain supporters, who generally struck me as pretty unreasonable.

  244. 244Mandy on Oct 17, 2008 at 5:00 am:

    Americans faithful to common decency and fair play have seen the current tactics of the left repeated over and over again by various communists’ states throughout the world. While they certainly know how to cheat at solitaire, they inevitably lose every game.

  245. 245Da5id on Oct 17, 2008 at 5:24 am:

    The post-debate “instant polls” from CNN and CBS are done with phone calls, NOT multi-voting online polls. Still, don’t let facts get in the way of being infuriated at the lack of facts.

  246. 246zombie on Oct 17, 2008 at 5:46 am:

    A quick comment about the various valid criticisms made above (the valid criticisms, not the ones which miss the point, or the ad hominem attacks):

    Yes, I know that the phrase “silent majority” was not actually used publicly as the Nixon campaign slogan during the election itself, but was rather used to describe the results of the election afterwards. That section of my essay was still a bit embryonic and I never got around to rewriting it in a better and more accurate way (as I had to slap this online quickly to get it circulated before the last debate). Sorry for the unclear verbiage in that section — I was aware of the problem, but lacked the time to get it all fixed. And now that the essay is online, it’s kind of ossified, and I’m not really allowed, according to blog protocol, to fix it or change it, since it will look like I’m trying something sneaky. C’est la vie — it is what it is.

    As for robo-polling: I didn’t have the time to discuss that issue or research it either, though it is an interesting potential flaw in the thesis. Often, the same people who criticize my essay for being too long also criticize it for not having sufficient documentation and for not covering every aspect of every concept. If I covered every possible angle, the essay would have been three times as long. There are many many other side issues, just like robo-polling, that I also did not explore, simply because I had to stop somewhere — the essay was going on far too long as it was. I could have a lot to say about robo-polling as well (I feel there would still be some pressure to conform to overall expectations, even when speaking to a recording), but as I mentioned above I think I should just let the essay stand as is and not try to doctor it after the fact.

    As for the accuracy of some past polling in other elections: That issue is already discussed in the essay to a certain extent. But I didn’t want to wade into a long litany of statistics and past poll results. It’s just as easy to find polls that were inaccurate as to cherry pick polls (as many commenters did) that were accurate. I also mention the possibility that polls may in fact be self-fulfilling prophecies; it may very well be that Obama will win by the exact margin the polling predicts, yet we have no way of knowing if the polls had been accurate to begin with or if the normative influence of the perceived poll numbers were truly effective in making people vote for the apparent winner.

    Look, this essay is just an opinion piece, not a PhD thesis. I merely tossed some ideas out on the Web, with very limited free time to explore them in detail or provide all sorts of research links and footnotes. Most op-eds don’t provide rock-solid proof of some opinion or thesis — they’re more like a testing out of new ideas, on the public stage. Everyone is free to disagree if they want — fine by me. Though it seems that many of the disagreers here (and on countless other blog posts about this essay) are simply confirming my primary thesis, that triumphalism and social bullying are a significant component of Obama-supporters’ strategy this campaign, and that their intended effects are not necessarily what you imagine them to be.

    Outside the realm of the meta-campaign: Does Obama have a vast army of enthusiastic campaign volunteers? Yes he does. Is McCain a bumbling and sometimes ineffective campaigner? Yes he is. Those facts alone may put Obama into the winner’s circle. As I’ve said multiple times, in the essay and in the comments, I’m not predicting a McCain victory and I don’t know who’s going to win. But I’m pretty sure that the relentless social pressure and the online pre-emptive victory parties from the Left are only hurting Obama’s chances.

  247. 247Toyboat on Oct 17, 2008 at 6:47 am:

    “Until very recently, elections were decided by real-world facts — but not anymore.”

    HAHAHAHAHAAAAAHAHAHAA! Thanks, I needed a laugh. How the fudge do you think GW Bush got in? Facts? Are you on crack or meth?

    That’s an awful lot of ballon juice just to say that Sarah did win the debate and the librul media are poopyheads for not agreeing with you. Jeez.

  248. 248GlassHalfFull on Oct 17, 2008 at 6:53 am:

    This is an extremely thorough piece of work, but unfortunately it starts with an incorrect observation. In 2000, the polls showed Gore slightly ahead, and they were right. In 2004, the polls showed Bush slightly ahead, and they were right. You make no real argument as to why 2008 should be any different. Know why? Because there is no argument. The fact is that the closeness of the last two elections is a historical aberration. In the 100 years before that, 80% of elections were won by 6% or more, and the average margin of victory has been over 12%. (Look it up, do the math like I did. Spreadsheets are great!) It is NOT unrealistic to think that could happen again.

    Oh, and off the topic slightly but because so many here have mentioned it … ACORN has been a respected group for 30 years, so respected that McCain himself has made speeches praising them. We are NOT talking about voter fraud here – these bogus applications would have resulted in exactly ZERO invalid votes being cast. More like ‘registration fraud’, carried out by low-wage workers who saw a loophole and exploited it to make some easy money. What is not being reported is that ACORN saw this before anyone else and REPORTED THE PROBLEM THEMSELVES. Does this sound like a conspiracy to you?

  249. 249twolaneflash on Oct 17, 2008 at 8:50 am:

    Truth, Dan Phillips? “Guilty as hell, free as a bird!” william ayers
    The stain of william ayers is on anyone who associates with this terrorist, and especially on Barack Hussein Obama. Obama is on a down-hill-ride to November. OODA loops.

  250. 250The Shadow Man on Oct 17, 2008 at 9:17 am:

    200 JTS : “One problem. How does one explain Rasmussen poll results where a machine, not a human, asks the questions?”

    Senor Citizens notoriously hate talking to machines on the phone.

  251. 251left of trotsky on Oct 17, 2008 at 1:38 pm:

    hermeneutics wrote, “Jason Miller of Auburn, CA, has been so coddled by affirming leftists that he simply can’t understand why conservatives must hide their political inclinations, particularly those working in academe or other left-dominated occupations.”

    There must be two Auburns in CA, as the one I’m familiar with isn’t known for its coddling of leftists.

  252. 252TMF on Oct 17, 2008 at 1:46 pm:

    Exactly what I was thinking!

    Except, you know, smarter and more fleshed out.

  253. 253David Krumm on Oct 17, 2008 at 1:48 pm:

    I quite enjoyed your post and hope that there is enough error in the polls that he can still win it. I will be voting, and I haven’t given up.

    However, the poll numbers match quite well with what’s been going on in the race. First, republican primary voters (more interested in the meta game then average votes) select a moderate for the nomination. The result is the same as when the dems picked Kerry in ’04 – the party core is unmotivated and unsupportive. McCain polls poorly. Next, McCain picks Palin as a running-mate. Palin is a female and is seen as a strong traditional conservative. This motivates the party two ways, they trust McCain will support their ideals and they feel less bad about voting against a black man if they are voting for a woman. McCain pops up in the polls. Finally, banks fail. The American doesn’t understand economics, and feels vaguely threatened by the economy at the best of times so their response to this is always vote out the incumbents. McCain falls in the polls.

    Now, if the polling error was always the same, then we’d expect it to track with reality even if it were flawed. But why would we expect it to be the same? If we’re seeing conformity at work then when Obama is up he should be more up, and when he’s up, and more down when he’s down as a larger or smaller percentage of the “room” agrees on what the “long line” is.

    However, if the polling error varies over time then, it must be small enough that it’s never swamped the polling effects of a real change in the status of McCain’s campaign. In that case, it would have to be a small error and not big enough for the fairly massive 7 points he needs to win.

    None of that changes your basic point, but it does shed some light on how accurate, or inaccurate the polls might be.

  254. 254TMF on Oct 17, 2008 at 1:48 pm:

    “McCain supporters, who generally struck me as pretty unreasonable.”

    Right, as opposed to the laser like logic of “Bush lied people died”! And “MCSAME!!” And “Palin is a c*nt”!!

  255. 255Dainn on Oct 17, 2008 at 2:05 pm:

    Great analysis. I would add a couple things I didn’t catch in your essay. First, most of the Obama support is coming from new young voters. It’s easy to incite excitement in this group, especially when there is little work involved. Opinions are cheap and everyone has a facebook/myspace/blog to spout their daily diatribes on. But in the end, they actually have to get off their asses and vote. Historically, they just don’t do that.

    Obama’s campaign has been excellent. His get out the vote campaigns are efficient and organized, and when he wants an outcome his team can make it happen. So maybe he’ll be able to get those lazy Obama Youth voters to the polls in record numbers. If so, his strategy will pay off for years as these voters will be loyal for a while (being part of something you perceive as historic can do that). If he loses, however, these voters will find it harder to maintain their liberal enthusiasm. Bitter voters don’t vote, they complain about the system at home and on their websites.

    I hope you are right. I hope McCain can pull off a November suprise and win this most important election. I hope if he does, there aren’t race riots.

    I hope.

  256. 256CattusMagnus on Oct 17, 2008 at 4:31 pm:


    The fifth sentence in your post is a flirts with complete idiocy. The United States has fogotten our values of tolerance? Are you serious? Honestly? If you can pull yourself away from you Socialist-berry Kool-Aid, take a look at Zombie’s Hall of Shame or his Folsom St. Fair report to see what kind of indecent, slanderous, delinquent, self-indugent, tripe and outrageous behavior that we tolerate in this country. May I also remind you that this is the country that allows someone like Hugo Chavez to waltz around the UN and compare our president to Satan. This is also the country that permits Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a man who suspected of holding Amercians hostage, to enter our borders to lecture us on our big, bad government and our homosexual problem. You see, in this country we allow monumental idiot and worthless blowhard Ward Churchill to teach at a University. In this country we have former terrorists like Bill Ayers teaching college courses and community organizing. We even have a presidential candidate who’s old chums with a racist preacher who thinks that our government invented the AIDS virus! In America, we tolerate an ex-KKK member in our congress! In our country, you can shoot the president and then live out you days have your every need taken care of in a federally funded psychiatric hospital! You can protest at a marine’s funeral! You can put a crucifix in a jar of urine and call it art! And if you’re looking for leftists in America then again I would advise you to take a look at some of Zombie’s archives. And this year you are in luck because we have a uber leftist running for president! And he does a great job of giving us some self belief! And, in perfect leftist form, he’ll have your character assassinated should you dare to disagree with him! Just ask Joe the plumber who had the audacity to challenge comrade Obama! Why his divorce records and tax returns have already been scrutinized! Marx couldn’t have done it any better. Trust me sweetie, leftism is alive and well in the USA. And airport security in the United States is annoying for certain. But that’s what happens when you have a dozen islamofascists highjack your planes and kill 3,000 people. So instead of bitching about how unfriendly airport personnel are, people should really direct their anger at the sadistic wack-jobs who make the security measures necessary. You also asked if we wanted to move forward. Come on donnchad, don’t beat around the bush. Say what you mean. You’re really asking if we want to move left. Well, your answer will come November 4th. And if we choose not to move left, it’s going to burn you up. That’s okay, smaller government and individual liberty have always been controvesial. Hopefully, you can tolerate it.

  257. 257Sarah on Oct 17, 2008 at 5:00 pm:

    Well done Zombie. This is a very well written essay. I appreciate the psychology of the things.

  258. 258mainliner on Oct 17, 2008 at 7:18 pm:


  259. 259LikeYourArticle on Oct 17, 2008 at 8:11 pm:

    I love your article. It really tied up some memes in my head.

    I just wonder how much support around SF Obama really has. I live in one of the more liberal parts of Southern California and I see nary an Obama sticker. That sort of ties to me that Obama is massively inflated.

    I’ve even talked to other people that live in other liberal areas and most of them don’t see a peep of Obama–save for the occasional bumper sticker and house sign.

    Wondering if you could take a pic of around SF to see how much Obama paraphenilia is out there.

  260. 260Anon on Oct 17, 2008 at 8:35 pm:


  261. 261Zach on Oct 17, 2008 at 9:21 pm:

    A couple of observations:

    1. Perhaps an even larger effect on polls is the weighting they do. After the poll, they adjust the data to conform with what they believe is a true division of Republicans, Democrats and independents. This has a huge effect.

    2. Your essay makes me feel better about my McCain bumpersticker. Even if it is only 1 out of 50 for Obama, it breaks the illusion of conformity and allows others to take courage.

    3. You are right to be anonymous. They hacked Palin’s email, published Joe the Plumber’s home address and phone and looked through his financial records.

  262. on Oct 17, 2008 at 9:59 pm:

    McCain has the election sewed up, us Republicans have nothing to worry about, we can breath a sigh of relief. In fact, we are so far ahead, we don’t even need to campaign, contribute money or bother to vote.

    I like your attitude!

    And even better, if those evil Marxist, Nazi, Socialist, pedophile, America-hating Demoncraps steal the election, we will know that we actually won and don’t need to fix even one tiny thing about the Grand Ole’ Party, because are actually beloved and respected by an overwhelming majority of American.

    We are Right and they are Wrong and anyone who says otherwise is totally off their rocker. Especially the loony Moonbat Liberal MSM.

  263. 263zombie on Oct 17, 2008 at 10:12 pm:


    You’re kind of going in and out of character on that one. Pretty weak. Instead of doing an impersonation of an actual McCain voter, you’re doing an impersonation of a leftist fantasy version of what you imagine McCain voters are like. “Know thy enemy” is the first rule of warfare, and not only do you not know your enemy, you don’t even seem to realize that you don’t know your enemy. I highly encourage you to continue in your current state of mind.

  264. 264Dilip D'Souza on Oct 17, 2008 at 10:25 pm:

    Your essay makes me feel better about my McCain bumpersticker. Even if it is only 1 out of 50 for Obama, it breaks the illusion of conformity and allows others to take courage.

    Why do so many people like to make out that they are lone wolves?

    In some 10 weeks this summer driving nearly 10000 miles stretching from Couer d’Alene ID to Provincetown in Cape Cod, I saw plenty of bumper stickers and yard signs for both Obama and McCain. It’s impossible to say that either one dominated. Walking about one afternoon in a Michigan town, which was sort of typical, I remember one street that had plenty of McCain signs; the very next street was dotted with Obama signs.

    So it went.

    Yet I’m losing count of the number of times on this page alone people have alluded to being the lone and brave McCain supporters in an Obama ocean. Why? Does it somehow make you feel better about your choice to imagine you’re in a tiny minority making that choice? Why did you feel bad about your McCain bumper sticker in the first place to the extent that it took this essay to make you “feel better”?

    If the polls show an Obama lead, they show too that McCain has millions of supporters. Besides, this post itself tries to make the case that the polls overstate support for Obama. Yet the lone wolves abound. (Which says something by itself).

  265. 265Ken on Oct 18, 2008 at 12:02 am:

    Just thought I’d add:

    “this is the country that allows someone like Hugo Chavez to waltz around the UN and compare our president to Satan”

    Despite putting up most of the funding for it, America does NOT own the UN, nor do Americans get to dictate who waltzes around it, nor do we get to decide what other people say there. People have been badmouthing America at the UN for years, from the Soviets to Castro to Arafat, and, frankly, it is their god-given right to do, as long as it is conducted within the confines of international law and the UN Charter. Infringing on that right simply because we don’t like it makes a mockery of everything the UN supposedly stands for. That also includes the rights of people like Ahmedinahjad (however the hell you spell it).

    “in this country we allow monumental idiot and worthless blowhard Ward Churchill to teach at a University”

    Why shouldn’t we? Because he’s an asshole who wrote an insensitive essay? Yeah, ok, that wasn’t nice of him, but, again, we don’t get to dictate who works where just because we don’t like what he says.

    “In this country we have former terrorists like Bill Ayers teaching college courses and community organizing”

    When will people get over Ayers and his barely-even-there “relationship” with Obama? Ayers was never convicted, all charges were dropped against him, he was named a Chicago Citizen of the Year (as someone else pointed out), and even Daley stepped in to defend his reputation. Get over it, people. Ayers is a non-issue.

    “We even have a presidential candidate who’s old chums with a racist preacher who thinks that our government invented the AIDS virus!”

    We also have a president who thought Saddam Hussein had WMDs! Whoops! We also had another president, Reagan, who was quoted in his authorized biography “Dutch” as saying that God created AIDS because “illicit sex” was against Christian precepts. We also had another president, the first Bush, who said that he thought atheists ddn’t count as citizens! Oh no! Point being that people say alot of stupid things and believe alot of stupid conspiracies and have alot of stupid friendships that have nothing to do with their policymaking or the jobs they do in the Oval Office. Unless a candidate is David Icke, I don’t really care if they think the government (or God, for that matter) invented AIDS. If he plans to legislate on that, then we have a problem…if he’s just being a loudmouth I’d rather not waste my time caring.

    “we tolerate an ex-KKK member in our congress”

    OMG! You mean, people make mistakes? Are you ignoring Robert Byrd’s numerous statements decyring his Klan membership, saying how big of a mistake it was?

    “you can shoot the president and then live out you days have your every need taken care of in a federally funded psychiatric hospital!”

    Please tell me how many failed and successful presidential assassins have lived out their final days in the lap of luxury you describe.

    “You can protest at a marine’s funeral!”

    No you can’t. Respect for America’s Fallen Heroes Act, ever heard of it? And don’t act like anyone else besides that group of idiot religious fanatics is going around doing that.

    “You can put a crucifix in a jar of urine and call it art!”

    Well, stranger things have happened and been accepted, don’t you think? After all, some guy thought he was receiving instructions from a burning bush, wacky isn’t it?

  266. 266Johannes on Oct 18, 2008 at 2:30 am:

    I really liked your Essay – basically for introducing some terms and argumentations that where new to me and made me think. But, regarding the scale of your assertion, I would really recommend some more citations, references and something like that… and less generelisations, except you can prove them with something different than just perception ( for instance, that every student has a tendency to lean left, politically, etc. … )

    besides hat I am a bit concerned about your statement, that – simplified – students tend to be liberal but eventually grow out of it … again, I think that for such a statement there are references needed to bakc it up or it’ll just look like a shallow political parole – but on the other hand I understand, that you may have a different experience with people who proclaim to be liberal (I think of the reports on and most of the time I read them, I totally agreed with your statements) and that our perception of what is liberalism or leftist and what is not may indeed be very different. I, for instance, would – compared to the contemporary german political scene and based on my perceptions – denote both, Obama and McCain as right wing politicians … :)

    I do not live in the U.S. so I have to rely on the mainstream media coverage to get information about the elections and since I mostly do not have the time to sort “good blog” from ” bad blog” that’s about all information I get, so i am very thankful for a new perspective in thinking but also have to remain critical…

    P.S.: please excuse the poor english

  267. 267ec on Oct 18, 2008 at 4:06 am:

    Thanks for recommending my little essay on the topic. Like you, I did not want to spend a week on the topic. In 20/20 hindsight there is something that I should have added:
    Self-report and poll data is so notorious for inaccuracy that many psychological tests, predominately of the pre-employment type, commonly add what is referred to as “lie” questions. In my essay I mentioned the ten dollar bill found lying on the ground. The researchers knew from experience that while a significant portion of the sample would report that they would turn the money in, no one ever did. So they knew from observational experiments that a person who answered affirmatively to the question of returning the lost money was telling a lie. Many psychological tests have numerous “lie” questions like that example added to detect the potential employee who is presenting an overly unrealistic ‘honest’ image of himself. The professor in my statistical psychology class was involved in the creation of a number of these tests and warned the class of their presence.
    This short little article in ‘Psychology Today’ gives an example:

  268. 268H0sten on Oct 18, 2008 at 6:30 am:

    Wow. BRILLIANT essay.

  269. 269realist66 on Oct 18, 2008 at 9:43 am:

    Wow great read indeed… I wonder how many on the left actually know what it means? Maybe if they did they would be so far on the left…

  270. 270truepeers on Oct 18, 2008 at 9:51 am:

    Facts and events in and of themselves are no longer important; what’s important is how everyone reacts to them.

    I enjoyed your essay, but this line is worth arguing about. The relationship between the event and the meaning that transcends it has always been the great, ever open, human question. The distinction you set up is the distinction that has always existed between religious or ritualistic remembering and politics. Politics has always been about the uncertainty or mutability in how we remember or react to an event, our inability to come together in a common ritual about the importance of the event. What’s new today is that we have less and less a sense of sharing together in the meaning of communal events that will one day have a unifying, sacred, charge, and everything is becoming openly political. Some of us no longer want to recognize that events like 9/11 happened, at least not without spinning some kind of ridiculous conspiracy theory. This is because what motivates the conspiratorial left is a fear of the event becoming normalized, a fear promoted in the name of the supposed victims of the normal. If 9/11 is duly remembered it would call on us to begin a new era in how we respond to those who hold up their victim status as a license to hate America.

    What is at stake in the political contests you discuss is whether or not we must respect Obama’s claim to be the representative figure of a victimary politics. Will he be elected in the name of the postmodern paradigm, or will Americans vote to take a step beyond that towards the new post-9/11 paradigm that is developing?

  271. 271Buckaroo62 on Oct 18, 2008 at 10:50 am:

    No doubt the Dems/MSM (BIRM) are enmired in a self-reinforcing posive-feedback loop. They are clueless about what goes on outside the big cities (read “whats the matter with Kansas?”) and are convinced that Obama is going to win big because “everyone they know is voting for him”. Almost makes me feel sorry for all the old hippies in my office (In NYC).

    Obama2008″ You’re just creepy….see the Character “Rolf” in “the Sound of Music…..

  272. 272Spense on Oct 18, 2008 at 11:29 am:

    Interesting piece Zombie, I think you may have omitted one thing though. The main reason the major media tells everyone that Obama is leading in the polls evernight is that people like to associate with a winner. The media knows people will vote for the poll leader just so they can say they voted for the winner. Many people are sheep and just follow… incapable of or too weak & lazy to make an informed decision on their own. Like people who will say their favorite football team has always been the superbowl winner, even though that’s not true.


  273. 273Christinewjc on Oct 18, 2008 at 12:05 pm:

    Thank you SO MUCH for posting this excellent and TRUTHFUL analysis of how the far left Obamabots antics and the Media of Mass Deception’s blunders may backfire in their relentless (and often very nasty) attempts to push Obama into the presidency.


    It is my hope and prayer that the McCain/Palin ’08 ticket will be victorious on election day!

  274. 274CattusMagnus on Oct 18, 2008 at 1:35 pm:


    I was merely trying to illustrate to donnchad how tolerant of a country we are. As a Catholic, I am deeply offended by seeing a crucifix in a bottle of urine. But I tolerate it and my government tolerates it. This is the artist’s right as an American. I also find it offensive that Robert Byrd was a member of the KKK. But obviously his constituents aren’t offended and forgave him and elected him to public office. How forgiving of them! That’s tolerance. Hinkley shot our president and he got a fair trial and is in a mental hospital because he’s insane. Not exactly a luxury experience. You didn’t think I was implying that he’s getting facials and sipping Cristal did you? But he’s seeing doctors, is clothed and fed and has a roof over his head for the rest of his life all on the government dime. It’s the right thing to do and it’s pretty damn tolerant. Think someone trying to assassinate Ahmadinejad would be humanely treated? Yes, I’m quite aware that we don’t own the UN. But we still give millions to them and we don’t dictate who they invite to speak and what they say. We don’t kick them out of our country if they say things we don’t like. That’s tolerance. Ayers and Churchill hate our government. But they’re still hanging around and as popular as ever. And in this great country, Obama can have any racist preacher he wants! There’s no law against it. Wright’s church is still gets lots of attendants on Sundays. And everybody tolerates it. That’s fine. They have the right to. You are right about the Fallen Heroes Act. I had forgotten about that. But until that law was enacted protesting at a marine’s funeral was okay. And since the law was put in place, you don’t see anyone running around looking to lock up those protesters for what they did before the law. That’s nice and tolerant. Now don’t read into this that I’d would have liked to have seen Hinkley shot on the spot, or that Byrd should not be allowed to hold public office or that Churchill and Ayers should get sent to Gitmo. I’m just giving examples of behavior and opinions that I find abhorrent and distasteful that I and our government tolerate. But speaking of Ayers . . . . . charges against him were dropped DUE TO FBI MISCONDUCT IN GATHERING EVIDENCE AGAINST HIM not because the government had a personal vendetta and they singled out the poor little lefty. I believe a candidate’s friendships and associations do matter and point towards their overall character which I think would influence policy decision. I’d be less worried if Obama was friends with Icke than Ayers.

  275. 275SH on Oct 18, 2008 at 3:21 pm:

    Thanks Zombie, excellent essay. I was reading a article earlier about this.

  276. 276Charlos on Oct 18, 2008 at 4:07 pm:

    Thank you so much for this article. This will be my first vote ever and the first election I have followed. I agree with so many points you have brought up. Even my close friends seem brainwashed by the media and the popular vote. I asked my friend why she was voting for Obama and she said because “He’s different, and I like that he wants to talk to the people we are at war with.” I fear her response reflects the majority of Obama supporters, zombies not seeking any truth in the campaign and accepting the Hope-Nosis Obama is campaigning.

    I too am a resident in San Francisco and the city’s overwhelming support of Obama is part of what has made me passionate to speak out this election. I greatly appreciate ZombieTime’s coverage of the bay areas more “intriguing” events. I love this city, the freedoms it enforces, the expression it allows, and the contrast it provides. I have used it as a way of shaping my own views by researching many different points of views to come to my own conclusions. The most I can hope for is the same dedication to comparison and research from each and every voter this election.

    May every free thinker speak their mind and encourage discussion amongst those who choose to make blind decisions.

  277. 277lina on Oct 18, 2008 at 4:15 pm:

    wonderful essay!!!! exactly what i’ve always been saying..i’ve never trusted polls because i don’t know who they’re asking, what they’re asking and how honest they are with the answers….elections are too important to base who you’re going to vote for on the opinions of others….i have ‘hope’ that this election will turn out just like the last one….with all the polls saying one thing and the electorate another…. hurrah for the silent majority!! don’t ever discount the quiet ones :-)

  278. 278Ken on Oct 18, 2008 at 4:53 pm:

    “I was merely trying to illustrate to donnchad how tolerant of a country we are”

    Well, correct me if I’m wrong (this is the Internet and all), but it seems like the examples of “tolerance” you’re giving have left you feeling disappointed? Unhappy? Otherwise, what would be the reason for pointing out said examples? To illustrate how tolerant Americans are? If that’s the case, why not mention how hate crimes have gone down over the years? Why not mention how great it is that interracial marriages are more accepted nowadays. Or why not mention that a black man might even become president? Seems to me like you were using “tolerant” more in a perjorative sense: less about how open-minded Americans have become, and more about how willing we are to accept people badmouthing us and defiling religious icons. Please clear this up for me.

    “You didn’t think I was implying that he’s getting facials and sipping Cristal did you?”

    That’s certainly what it sounded like you were implying. This is the Internet, remember? People don’t know when you’re being sarcastic or serious.

    “But until that law was enacted protesting at a marine’s funeral was okay”

    Give me a break. Outside of that small group of religious morons, do you know anyone else who has ever done that? Even the extreme-left loons (I, myself, am a left-leaner) that Zombie writes about would never stoop so low as to protest the funeral of a dead soldier, that’s just disgusting. I don’t know anyone in their right mind, left or right, who would tolerate that. If by “okay” you mean “not illegal,” then I guess you were right, but It was certainly not tolerated or accepted by anyone I know.

    “I’m just giving examples of behavior and opinions that I find abhorrent and distasteful that I and our government tolerate”

    Again, if you merely want to show how tolerant Americans are, why are you choosing examples that are “abhorrent”? It makes it seem like you’re saying “Look how far we’ve fallen. Now we’re even willing to tolerate this and this and this,” rather than “look how great we are! we accept this and this and this.”

    “charges against him were dropped DUE TO FBI MISCONDUCT IN GATHERING EVIDENCE AGAINST HIM”

    FBI misconduct! That means nothing to you? It means the FBI were willing to break their own laws to gather evidence against him. If he was so guilty, if he was holding the smoking gun, why did the FBI have to venture into illegality so they could find enough evidence to prosecute? Since you mentioned Churchill, I reccomend you read his book “The COINTELPRO Papers.” You’ll see just how far the FBI was willing to sink to discredit, or even eliminate, targets of importance.

    “I believe a candidate’s friendships and associations do matter and point towards their overall character which I think would influence policy decision.”

    Hardly. JFK was nothing like the mafia thugs he hired to assassinate Castro. RFK was nothing like McCarthy, his mentor. Obama has a mild-mannered personality, nothing like Wright’s. Also, you dodged the important point:


    Ayers was active when Obama was a kid, the two had a business relationship (as did many other Chicago city leaders, including Republicans) and Obama had a reception in the Ayers home. Wow, that’s a real thick relationship, isn’t it? Ayers has nothing to do with the Obama campaign! The lead prosecutor of the Weatherman trial even said:

    “I am amazed and outraged that Senator Barack Obama is being linked to William Ayers’s terrorist activities 40 years ago when Mr. Obama was, as he has noted, just a child… Because Senator Obama recently served on a board of a charitable organization with Mr. Ayers cannot possibly link the senator to acts perpetrated by Mr. Ayers so many years ago”

    The Mayor of Chicago said of Ayers:

    “This is 2008,” Mr. Daley said. “People make mistakes. You judge a person by his whole life.”

    And the New York Times reported that:

    “the two men do not appear to have been close. Nor has Mr. Obama ever expressed sympathy for the radical views and actions of Mr. Ayers, whom he has called ‘somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was 8.’”

    On the other hand, in that same article John McCain is quoted as saying:

    “How can you countenance someone who was engaged in bombings that could have or did kill innocent people?”

    Something he himself did in Vietnam. And, also, how come no one is interested in pointing out McCain’s connections to South American death squads in the 80′s? Maybe because the connection there is just as flimsy as the so-called Ayers-Obama relationship?

  279. 279zeppenwolf on Oct 18, 2008 at 5:45 pm:

    A nice article. Here’s a bit o’ rebuttal:

    Zombie discounts the possibility that normative conformity can affect a volunteers /anonymous choice/, (“vote”), but there is no mention of any “evidence” of that. IOW, if we could go back and lengthen the experiment, say, requiring the volunteer to “vote” for the correct stick somehow, AFTER the initial experiment, in supposed anonymity, what would we have found? Would there be some who, although they were confident that they knew the correct answer, would STILL go ahead and choose the groups “choice”? We don’t really know.

    But there’s a much bigger problem with the experiment’s results when applied to voters. The volunteers had four lines of various lengths right before their eyes; voters DO NOT have access to the ultimate unassailable truth in the same way– they have only what they hear in various media or from their friends, etc.

    Example: Democrats (including the “MSM”) say, “How silly– Ayers was just a guy in Obama’s neighborhood!” Republicans point to a lengthy association, millions of dollars, common associates, etc.

    Where is the ultimate reality? We conservatives know who to trust between Stanley Kurtz and Chris Matthews, but other voters do not. There is simply no analogous picture with four lines on it to which the voters can refer.

    Anyway. Still a nice article. There’s no doubt pollsters are winging it at this point– it’s hard enough for them to get it close when they have previous results to compare with. Today, we’re in uncharted territory. In a big way.

    Good luck, Zogby, but you might take a faceplant this time.

  280. 280BRD on Oct 18, 2008 at 5:54 pm:

    I thought the essay raised some interesting points worth considering.

    To those who found errors or flaws in the article, I would invite you to post counterarguments and link back here. In the olden days of blogging this was a relatively common practice and was, I think, a great help in encouraging civil discussion.

    To Dilip, Mike, and IdahoCoyote, I wanted to personally thank you for keeping your disagreements civil and reasonable. You have done the great service of reminding me, and presumably other McCain supporters, that despite TruthMachine’s profligate commenting, he is not the only voice of the Democratic Party.

  281. 281Linda on Oct 18, 2008 at 7:36 pm:

    I hope your prediction is true. My fear is that part of the reason for doing this is to incite riots when the left claims that it can’t possibly be true when Obama has been winning every day for months, but not on Nov. 4.

    I hope the police and national guard will be ready.

  282. 282Cindy on Oct 18, 2008 at 8:53 pm:

    Thoughtful, incisive and I believe there is a great deal of truth in your analysis. How many times have the polls been proven wrong on Election Day? Too many to count! Perhaps we’ll see the same outcome in 2008 and this biased leftist media will be left with egg on its liberal face!

  283. 283Dave on Oct 18, 2008 at 8:57 pm:

    Put all this together and it means that the Obama campaign is playing psychological
    voter suppression. Anybody well-disposed to McCain-Palin is being told that it
    is useless for them to bother voting.

    Truth of the matter is that (a) Sarah Palin gets McCain more popular votes than any
    other VP selection could have and (b) the ACORN scandal means Obama now gets
    less popular votes than before. So “my friends” our ball is still in play.

    I do not know how the above will play in the Electoral College. I certainly cannot
    promise you a McCain victory, but I can promise you that WE WILL COUNT
    in whatever happens after the election.

    Obama’s chances rest on two groups: The black underclass and some white uber mensch.
    Without those two, he would not have a prayer. Our votes, will neuter them no matter the
    results of 4 Nov. Get your posteriors in gear and vote!

  284. 284MDB on Oct 18, 2008 at 11:47 pm:

    [BRD wrote on Oct 18, 2008 at 5:54 pm:
    I thought the essay raised some interesting points worth considering.

    To those who found errors or flaws in the article, I would invite you to post counterarguments and link back here. In the olden days of blogging this was a relatively common practice and was, I think, a great help in encouraging civil discussion.]

    First of all, thank you Zombie for an interesting read and a generally well argued piece. I wish I could fully agree with you. I want the polls to be wrong, and I agree with much of your reasoning, but I have the following concerns:

    1) I have not read enough about the Asch experiments, but I would suggest that people might not be completely honest with the interviewers after having been about told about the experiment. Whether consciously or subconsciously, I would think that many of those who were duped might explain their behavior in face-saving ways, or in ways that matched the expectations of the interviewer. The experiment itself makes the post-experiment interview answers suspect, and given the thrust of your argument, you should not be putting any credence in that part of the experiment.

    2) As has been noted, votes are not falsifiable in the way that wrong answers in the Asch experiment were.

    3) Bluffing can be a successful strategy, because although – as you state – the McCain campaign can’t fold, individual voters can. And on Election Day, the contest is not between McCain & Obama or between their campaigns, it is between voters for each candidate. Let me give you an example. I did not vote in my state’s Republican primary this year because McCain had already sewn up the nomination, and I made what I believe was a rational decision not to leave my office before finishing my work just to cast a meaningless vote. Now, come hell or high water, I will vote in the general election despite the meaninglessness of my vote (I live in New York), but I would expect some people to make the same calculations I did at primary time if they are convinced that the election result is a foregone conclusion. In most elections, that problem could suppress turnout among overconfident supporters of the favorite just as mush as among dejected supporters of the underdog, but I think that for many supporters of Barack Obama, casting a “historic” vote for him is every bit as important as seeing him win the election, especially as that vote will affirm for many their essential virtue. I doubt the same is true of as many McCain supporters.

  285. 285analyze-instead-of-believe on Oct 19, 2008 at 3:30 am:

    Ken, for god’s sake, you’re not GETTING it.

    He was -deliberately- listing examples of abhorrent (to many, if not all) behaviour as -proof- of tolerance.

    He told you this twice, or three times now!

    If he listed things like “we let people plant flowers….we feed stray cats” to prove tolerance; that wouldn’t work very well would it??

    Also, I can’t believe the number of people who critized Zombie for ‘speculating’. The essay WAS a speculation! He was casting a HYPOTHESIS. That was the freaking POINT. .sheeshh…

    And he also explained at least twice throughout the comments that he posted it in rough form due to time-limitation; and felt constrained to leave it as-is as a matter of honor and integrity.

    Zombie, a well-written essay, smooth reading and interesting. The only mod I’d suggest is changing the title. Perhaps that would reduce the number of folks triggered into frothing unthinking vituperaiton…

    Thanks much for taking the time to put it up to share with others; and thanks also for the other good and thought-provoking sections of your site.

    Personally, I’m neither Demon nor Repuke, and I’m an agnostic. Further, I think McCain is a terrible candidate. Nevertheless, I’ll be pulling his lever; because it’s labeled “Not Obama”. And for three simple reasons:

    1- Dishonesty. .Regardless of how one evalutes the actual severity of Obama’s many background issues, he has indeed handled every single question in this area dishonestly, evasively; always initially denying all, then repeatedly changing his story as truth incrementally emerges. He has also blatantly lied about a number of issue-stances (stupidly, since he was on checkable public record on them), e.g., his career-long opposition to individual self-defense with firearms rights.

    2- He indeed advocates and represents a big step towards a totalitarian welfare/police state of near-infinite government size and micro-control of everything we do and say. All of his history, statements, and evinced attitudes point toward a 60′s style Red China or Soviet model updated with much more frightening technologies of opression.

    The Repuke party has been a ‘fake’ for decades; carrying us step by step closer to socialism/totalitarianism just like the Demonrats; if slightly slower; but Obama and the current far-left DNC cabal with Pelosi, Reid, Frank, etc.. will be a 1-party STEAMROLLER of radicalism and increase of government size, intrusiveness, and oppressiveness.

    The terrible state of our society/country/world today is a direct result of 30-40 years already of increasingly ‘liberal’, ‘progressive’, ‘PC’, ‘socialist’, and bigger government. That’s enough proof of failure for me. Go 10 times further in that direction? I’d far rather have 4 years of muddle and divided-gov gridlock in DC. And by the way, -neither- candidate’s tax/spend plans are anything but a glib fantasy. The mega-depression is going to swamp all; and there isn’t ANY easy ‘fix’ da gubmint can magically do for you.

    3- Most important of all: SCOTUS. Obama has said directly that he will install justices who will eagerly rule by feelings and feel-good fads; instead of sticking strictly to the Constitution. That is a looming DISASTER for the rule of law, for our country; and one which would haunt us for DECADES; since Justices serve for life.

    We are a single justice away now from having a majority who adhere to what our Constitution SAYS. He’ll also be appointing many similar bad judges to Appeals Courts, etc.. (and ps; in regards to this bizarre psychosis of shouting ‘racist!’ at -any- critique of Obama, I’d vote for Clarence Thomas in a heartbeat if he was running against McCain!…lol)

    For #3 alone, I pull the “Not Obama” lever. The first two reasons are merely additional correlation for my decision. I ask all you ‘undecided’…when you get into that booth, and that sudden wave of feeling a HUGE responsibility for our future hits you hard….choose wisely…vote for rule-of-law and LESS always-screwed-up government on our necks.

  286. 286LisaB on Oct 19, 2008 at 4:59 am:

    Excellent, and I pray true. Socialism does not become a capitalist nation.

  287. 287Dave on Oct 19, 2008 at 6:56 am:

    Interesting analysis. But I don’t buy it. I agree polls are flawed in a number of ways, though the pollsters do their best to refine their methods over time. Check out the market based prediction models (like Intrade), which are usually quite good at predictions. Those show Obama winning somewhere between 300 and 330 electoral votes. Investors (or gamblers, depending on your viewpoint) can purchase “shares” by state for the winner of the election. I would also argue that Obama’s supporters have run a very good campaign, investing in grass roots efforts to get the vote out. In contrast, McCain has pulled out of Michigan and his selection of Palin, while energizing his base, appears to have turned off the undecided voters and independents. Back to the market-based prediction markets, I believe people, at their hearts, are capitalists, and that these kinds of markets incorporate all kinds of information and thus provide the very best estimate (though one could argue the recent stock market crash doesn’t support that kind of position very well – but I’m still going to stick with capitalism, thank you very much).

    Of course, having cited capitalism as a basis for predicting elections, my post will now be flamed by Fox News viewers …

  288. 288Dave on Oct 19, 2008 at 7:03 am:

    Someone mentioned people protesting at the funerals of Marines. Actually, the protests are being conducted by a far-right wing group that is against gay rights. They somehow believe they are advancing their cause by claiming that God is killing our soldiers to prove that “he hates fags.” However, I am sure that those of us on the Left and our friends on the Right would both agree that hijacking a funeral, which offers families a point of closure, is a disgusting and reprehensible act, regardless of any political motivation the protesters might think they are making. But when you want to cite some fringe activity by the extreme Left, realize as well, there are probably more, if not at least as many, examples of reprehensible behavior by Right wing extremists. The group is the Westboro Baptist Church, if anyone is interested in actual facts … you know, those things that govern at least some of the reality in which we live!

  289. 289Lurky on Oct 19, 2008 at 12:06 pm:

    Hey, Lefties! We are going to take another election from you. You’re gonna shriek and we’re gonna laugh at you for another eight years. Bend over, here it comes!

  290. 290sigmundringeck on Oct 19, 2008 at 12:09 pm:

    Hi, I am a chinese money manager following your election from SEAsia.

    I am quite surprised that so many americans would favor Mr.Obama over Mr.McCain because it is so clear that Obama’s economic policies(what I can see from them because he keeps changing tune) would be utterly disastrous for your american economy.

    It’s obvious that your recent stockmarket plunge was also exacerbated by us foreign investors RE-RATING your US markets downwards due to fear of what an Obama presidency might do to your economy.

    The only reason why your currency keeps its remaining value is because of your country’s military power to enforce the worldwide financial system and also force OPEC to take US dollars for their oil. Also the very large and mostly desirable-to-invest-in US economy, with its predictable legal structure and so on. Any president like Mr.Obama that would weaken this paradigm by a naive foreign policy and higher taxes would be disastrous economically and financially for you americans.

    I really hope that you americans show some intelligence and vote in McCain, beacuse the rest of the world needs a strong US economy, not the type of socialist/communist bullshit we have worked to get rid off in SEAsia, but we still have(sigh).

    Your Obama, with his smirking and lying all the time, his naked ambition power-grab concealed by populist rhetoric, truly reminds me of the worst genocidal dictators we used to have here in SEAsia.

    One lie that really made me laugh was the fiction that this economic mess is all the fault of the Bush Admin. Please, we earn our living from knowing what you americans are doing and years ago, most of our big funds saw your financial crisis coming. That’s why asia is largely unhurt by your subprime crisis, because all the big funds here never bought any of your mortgage-backed securities. Nobody believed in them, so nobody except a few unfortunate ones bought them.

    If your Fannie and Freddie had not imploded under all those subprime loans and mortgage backed securities, which then triggered of the credit swap derivative crash, I’ll bet your stockmarket crash would not be this bad. And Freddie and Fannie and democrat institutions, just like the US army is a republican institution.

    Certainly more regulation was needed, especially for the credit swap derivatives, but who were the ones pushing all these subprime mortgages and allowing a huge production pipeline and market to expand exponentially in mortgage-backed securities? Who blocked regulation of Fannie and Freddie? Your democrats.

    We already had our own financial disaster in the late 90s, and yours was building up just like ours, like some massive third world multi-marketing pyramid scheme going bad.

    Fortunately we had no Obama to further worsen the situation for us.

    It’s great to see an african american running for the US presidency, but it’s sad to see that it is someone like Obama with his communist/socialist leanings. My hypothetical “world” vote is NOBAMA.

  291. 291GaborGG on Oct 19, 2008 at 12:59 pm:

    Re: Westboro Baptist Church Protests at funerals

    “Actually, the protests are being conducted by a far-right wing group that is against gay rights.”

    Perhaps they are “far right wing”, although that would be the far right wing of the Democratic party, as Fred Phelps (the head of the Westboro church) was a prominent Al Gore supporter, and a delegate to the 1988 Democratic convention.

    In fact, Phelps has run, as a democrat, for public office a number of times. in 1992, he got 31% of the vote in the Kansas democratic primary for the U.S. Senate. (Nearly 50,000 Kansas democrats voted for him.) More recently, in 1998, he got 15% of the vote in the Democratic primary for governor.

    He may be a lunatic and a bigot, but he’s also a committed Democrat.

  292. 292ExpectNoMercy on Oct 19, 2008 at 4:38 pm:

    I have thought for a long time that the polls seem a bit skewed. Then I throw in the ACORN registrations and all of a sudden the polls based on registered voters takes on a different shine.

    I still think that Obama’s camp has a great ground game, and they may get the turn out that Kerry failed to have in 04, and Obama will be elected.

    I keep telling people that if Obama wins it will be the second term of Jimmy Carter, only worse.

  293. 293Mare on Oct 19, 2008 at 5:36 pm:

    This was awesome, just what I was sharing with friends but you said it so much better: Thanks

  294. 294Doug Ross on Oct 19, 2008 at 6:48 pm:


  295. 295YellowDog on Oct 19, 2008 at 7:28 pm:

    You didn’t say anything incredibly stupid until “Who Does the Polling?” when I stopped reading because it became a waste of my time. Yaa, Obama is way ahead in the polls because poll workers are part of some liberal conspiracy to keep secret how much everyone in this country loves Bush, the economy, the war in Iraq and McCain. What you’re saying is insane – yes, its possible one poll workers for one company is screwing with things, I’ll even concede the idea that an entire polling company like Gallup or Zogby or whatnot could be compromised. But every major poll for the past month has shown Obama with a minimum 3 point lead over McCain. I guess “reality has a well-known liberal bias” as Stephen Colbert likes to day.

  296. 296Brian H on Oct 19, 2008 at 7:30 pm:

    Superb. I had another version of the Neo-Bradley Effect in mind, though. Resentment at being bullied and taken for granted is strong, anecdotally. A parent is aghast at her rabbi’s discussion with other parents, in front of 3-4 yr olds after the Sunday School class, of the despicability of McCain-Palin and the virtues of Obama-Biden, but bites her tongue in order not to create a scene. Later, she fires off a few outraged letters to the Rabbi and Synagogue, and firms up a decision to vote M-P. And so on.

    Just for another take on things, you might like to read , which probably explains this: .

  297. 297Brian H on Oct 19, 2008 at 7:38 pm:

    The #3 comment also very pertinent: overconfidence and a feeling that “it’s in the bag” will keep many more at home than despair might. Ossiah is well aware of this, of course, and keeps commanding his flock not to be that sure of victory. Will they obey? Do they have a choice?

    I suspect the mind-controlled have so much invested in the anticipated thrill of obediently marking their Xs, though, that Ossiah’s turnout will be quite high among those who remain entranced. I suspect that reinforcing of the post-hypnotic commands is the purpose of the 30-minute informercials that he is spending his unreported foreign contributions on.

    Think I’m kidding?

  298. 298Brian H on Oct 19, 2008 at 7:39 pm:

    corr: ‘infomercials’.

  299. 299Bob1 on Oct 19, 2008 at 8:58 pm:

    I’ve long thought that one way to break the reliance on polls is for one side to intentionally lie. Imagine if McCain spread the word among his loyalists that, if you were polled, state that you backed Obama. Continue doing it at the exit polls, too. If all the polls say everyone is voting for Obama, they won’t know what to make of it. They would have lost their most important gauge of the electorate’s mood. Their heads would explode.

    And the best part is, no one would know who won until the votes were actually counted. Exit polls would not be a predictor.

  300. 300Dilip D'Souza on Oct 19, 2008 at 10:32 pm:

    BRD #280:
    To Dilip, Mike, and IdahoCoyote, I wanted to personally thank you for keeping your disagreements civil and reasonable. You have done the great service of reminding me, and presumably other McCain supporters, that despite TruthMachine’s profligate commenting, he is not the only voice of the Democratic Party.

    Thank you for that, I truly appreciate it.

    Yet something nags at me: I wonder why you would take one foul-fingered Obama supporter as representative of all of them.

    Consider, from this page alone, a sample of McCain supporter beliefs:

    * If Obama wins, the US will be unrecognizable in 4 years (#8, #84).

    * If McCain wins, there will be “a major league psychotic breakdown in the U.S”, and Obama supporters constitute “an unholy alliance of the enemies of human liberty.” (#21)

    * Expressing your beliefs “will get you a Molotov cocktail thrown at your house.” (#24)

    * Americans are “determined to become socialists”. (#105)

    * Liberals “love to abort cripples and the poor before they’re born” (#160).

    * The other side’s tactics are “straight out of the Soviet Communist playbooks.” (#236)

    * Obama will “have your character assassinated should you dare to disagree with him!” (#256)

    * Obama “claims to be the representative figure of a victimary politics.” (#270)

    * The media and pollsters and generally anybody who suggests that the polls show an Obama lead are doing so because they want to “incite riots”. (#281)

    * “Obama campaign is playing psychological voter suppression.” (#283)

    * Obama: “dishonest”, “evasive”, “blatantly lied”, “represents a big step towards a totalitarian welfare/police state” (#285); is reminiscent of “the worst genocidal dictators” (#290).

    (No doubt there’s more coming).

    So tell me, should I take any one of these (or even all of them) and assume that these attitudes constitute “the only voice” of the Republican Party? So much so that when I then run across your message, I will breathe a sigh of relief and thank you for “reminding” me that no, they are in fact not “the only voice” of the Republican Party?

    Again, BRD, I understand what you are saying. But more generally, while watching this race I’ve been wondering two things. One, why do some people hold such bizarre ideas about those who think differently? Two, why do so many others assume everyone on the other side of the fence holds those bizarre ideas?

  301. 301Dave Surls on Oct 19, 2008 at 11:42 pm:

    “The Repuke party has been a ‘fake’ for decades; carrying us step by step closer to socialism/totalitarianism just like the Demonrats; if slightly slower…”

    My sentiments exactly. And since, I’d rather get there slower than quicker, I’ll have to keep holding my nose and vote Republican.

    Such is life.

  302. 302Dark_dragon on Oct 20, 2008 at 12:48 am:

    Do me a favor you bleak minded conservatives get some back bone McCain may very well win.All this you guy’s saying Obama’s gonna win just proves Zombies theory.And the far left are a bunch of chickens with a sociolist agenda.So this election is far from over.

  303. 303spyboyyy on Oct 20, 2008 at 9:32 am:

    This quote is important because its an opinion and not factual.
    “Until very recently, elections were decided by real-world facts — but not anymore.”
    The essay sounds like it was written by someone who’s canidate is not doing well in the polls. I ask, when is “until recently”? 1980? 1984? 1988? 1992? 1996? 2000? 2004? Polls were taken in all of these elections. Why is 2008 different? From what I hear if your canidate is winning in the poll you point to the poll. When your canidate is losing in the poll you complain about the polling process. So this essay, IMO, is babble. It reminds me of a quote on a placard that says “if you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullsh!t!.”

  304. 304sandy (los angeles) on Oct 20, 2008 at 11:55 am:

    I didn’t know why I stuck my neck out at the time, but a few weeks ago, I dared to post a loving reminder to all my liberal friends that not everyone is voting for Obama – I was sick of all of the pro-Bama posts on facebook, and even then they could not help themselves but be snarky and mean and call me names. I posted it to send just such a message; hey now, you do not have me, therefore the election is not in the bag.

  305. 305Dave Surls on Oct 20, 2008 at 12:30 pm:

    “From what I hear if your canidate is winning in the poll you point to the poll.”

    From what I hear the only poll that counts will be taken in a couple of weeks.

  306. 306mike rucker on Oct 20, 2008 at 3:07 pm:

    your essay contains a lot of truth, but for you to believe that what’s happening in presidential politics is all one-sided is incredibly naive. while we may not know the real solution to our problems, we can be reasonably certain that we know two wrong solutions: (a) the one proposed by the left, thinking they have the only solution, and that the right is completely wrong; and, (b) vice versa.

    i wrote something similar to your concerns on my blog – much shorter :), i got tired of writing – and called it ‘campaign 2008′s critical issue.’ i welcome your comments. that we will wind up in complete disagreement is almost certain, but such is the state of our country right now.

    my response to your essay, however, is this: while bringing the problem to the fore, i think your piece more accurately is an example of the very thing you’re writing against!

    man is a curious creature – and this 2008 election is revealing some of his weaker traits. perhaps the one of most concern in this election is that, were it possible to show logically and rationally that something is true, a person will still say, well, i just don’t believe it, and i’m still going to cast my vote with the other candidate. where the fault lies for this predicament isn’t clear, but it is certainly worrisome.

    thanks for your post.

    mike rucker
    fairburn, georgia, usa

  307. 307Mama73 on Oct 20, 2008 at 6:13 pm:

    Bumper sticker seen in Chicago, IL stuck to a tree by the University of IL Chicago Campus:

    “Daley/Ayers 2008″

    Its gone now of course…

    I’m voting McCain. I don’t think he’ll win (the undead demographic tend to have a great turn out in our elections, and curiously only vote democratic), but I will be damned if Obama gets wins in a landslide because I didn’t vote.

    Obama is power hungry. If we let him know we’re not happy, he’ll move to the center.

    At least, that is my hope.

  308. 308FlFlash on Oct 20, 2008 at 7:02 pm:

    Thank you for this thoughtful and, yes, inspiring piece. I wish I could condense it into two sentences and stuff it into some heads. Keep up the good work.

  309. 309mikeg on Oct 20, 2008 at 7:43 pm:

    GREAT JOB!! some of the most important writing for our time , filled with information and yet delivered in a most interesting way is coming in the form of blogs….you my friend are a good example of this ,,,thanks

  310. 310Joe Y on Oct 20, 2008 at 9:49 pm:

    One thing a lot of the critical respondents are missing is that they are comparing apples to oranges in their claims of poll accuracy: they are comparing the poll results at the end of the race, which are for the obvious reason, i.e. that this is when people make their final decision, at their most accurate, with the polls being taken now, 2+ weeks before the actual election. This makes people who are undecided, or even not completely sure, more susceptible to the influence of external factors. For the most part, the polls at this stage undercount the Republican vote. In fact, I can’t think of an election in which this has so obviously been the case, in our country at any rate. For example, North Carolina with Obama at 51 and McCain at 48 or 44 (depending on the poll) is preposterous. McCain will win North Carolina easily. New Jersey, which will almost certainly go for Obama, still won’t do so by anything like 55 – 40, which the 10/12 poll has. Now compare these 2 states to Florida, which most recently has McCain with 49 and Obama with 48 or 47. This makes no sense at all.

  311. 311Joe Y on Oct 20, 2008 at 9:51 pm:

    To continue, Florida should be between these 2 states. Something is very wrong here. And what Zombie is getting at is that rather than thoughtfully considering what truth there might be in this, Obama supporters become hysterical.

  312. 312mike rucker on Oct 20, 2008 at 11:06 pm:

    zombie, this is your achilles’ heel:

    “Another fundamental flaw in the Left’s presumption that informational conformity will apply during this election season is…”

    if you can figure out why it is, then maybe we do have a chance in america of having some people actually capable of reason in the coming months and years.

    if you can’t, then we’re screwed.

    mike rucker
    fairburn, georgia, usa

  313. 313Mick on Oct 21, 2008 at 2:17 am:

    Fascinating essay, but one error. Nixon did not refer to the silent majority before his 1968 campaign – he first made the reference in a speech on November 3, 1969. Furthermore, the atmosphere surrounding the 1968 election was not one that favored the Left – at the time, the Democratic Party was being torn apart over the war and civil rights, Leftist ideology was being challenged for the first time in decades and student protesters were widely seen as violent bums.

    Beyond that, a good essay.

  314. 314Jeanne on Oct 21, 2008 at 5:35 am:

    I know what you say to be true first hand and I thank God you are saying it and that I am after all, not alone.

    I have participated in political polls and have independently done my own study. It was above board, but never-the-less, interesting. For a time, I stated in polls that I was undecided between Obama and McCain, and I was. For a time I was even considering a protest vote for Ron Paul. After dilligently searching for and reading unbiased takes on the election, I finally decided on McCain. Interestingly enough, after I made this decision, even though I was still only 90% sure of it, the poslters were suddenly no longer even interested in what I had to say. They did not want someone included that actually supported McCain. Did you know that sometimes they even pay pollees and that people who earn money doing this know that they must say what the posters want to hear if they want to continue to get paid. I don’t earn much doing it because I’m honest, but I’m sure there are people who lie, just to get paid for doing more polls. In a way, I was glad to find out I was right, but unfortunately, what little skepticism that I had in regard to the liberal media bias and ultimately its influence on the election, was put to rest.

    Zombie, it is also interesting to me that McCain is so close in the polls even though he has spent so much less money than Obama. Doesn’t that say something too. I am hoping that there is a vast group of Americans (that’s right – just plain, non-hyphenated AMERICANS – of all nationalities) that feel as I do and vote for McCain.

    The problem in this country is not the format of our government, it is the corruption in our government and McCain wants to fix that. Every presidential candidate calls for change, very few, if any call for cleaning house. It seems that McCain is already doing what he has promissed to do and is trying to out the lies and deception in a diplomatic way. We need leaders that generously and willingly give to those in need and that do not have to be forced to do so by law. We need public opinion and the media to pressure the wealthy to give to to the poor not to support someone who wants to be Robin Hood and “STEAL” from the rich to give to the poor. Those who have earned their money deserve to keep it and those that have stolen it deserve to be outed and prosecuted.

    By the way, keep in mind that in this forum, you have no idea if I am Black, White, Hispanic, Asian, Old, Young, Male, Female, Rich or Poor, (I will tell you I have been on both ends of the spectrum but will not say where I now fall), Christian or Muslim. None of that matters. What matters is that I will not be bullied into voting for someone who represents a socialistically slanted society. If I have earned my money, I will keep my money to do with as I please and I will give to the poor as I see fit, not as the government dictates.

    One last thought. No matter for whom you vote, vote how you want to vote – not how the media or anyone else tells you to vote, otherwise you have sold your soul and your right to think for yourself.

  315. 315Jeanne on Oct 21, 2008 at 5:37 am:

    One mroe thing – if you want some video’s that are less out of context, please go to (it’s not my site, but it is informative and refreshing – a few of the videos are dumb, but most are really good)

  316. 316TheBigOldDog on Oct 21, 2008 at 7:16 am:

    Brilliant analysis. It needs wide distribution.

  317. 317kevin on Oct 21, 2008 at 8:56 am:

    great work! i agree with your thesis and you backed it up very well with good data. lets hope,for all our sake,the election isnt stolen or bought. think positive,fellow conservatives..get out and vote.

  318. 318JAMES on Oct 21, 2008 at 9:16 am:


  319. 319rebecca on Oct 21, 2008 at 12:10 pm:

    I also think there will be a lot of black people who will not vote for Obama but will say nothing. The black culture has huge issues with abortion and Obama supports the partial birth abortions as well as not helping babies born alive. The spiritual blacks I have know would have nothing to do with this. I also think many Dems will stay home because after all they have already won!

  320. 320rebecca on Oct 21, 2008 at 12:13 pm:

    Hey, did you know that the polls have shown the democrats were going to win in every election since the 70′s. They showed Bush as 11 points down when he won the last election. We all need to keep praying and then vote!

  321. 321Joel on Oct 21, 2008 at 12:18 pm:

    Excellent work zombie!

    I do understand that, should Obama win, the US will not shatter. I don’t lose sleep over that possibility.

    What I do lose sleep over is a McCain/Palin win. After seeing the lefty reaction to Bush’s two stolen elections I know they’re going to go completely off the rails and I can’t wait to see it. Bush Derangement Syndrome, BDS, is funny to watch but MPDS, McCain/Palin Derangement Syndrome will make it look like Disneyworld fireworks vs. a sparkler.

  322. 322CattusMagnus on Oct 21, 2008 at 5:56 pm:


    In the future, to better accommodate you, I will explicitly label statements to which sarcasm is applied.

    I chose the examples I did because I wished to illuminate the extremities of tolerance because comparing and contrasting works best when you deal with extremes. Tolerance shines most brightly (at least I think) when the act/opinion that is being tolerated is injurious or threatening. Tolerance is in ways triumph of reason over emotion. It doesn’t matter if I don’t like what so-and-so is protesting about, it is the policy of this country to let people speak their peace regardless if what they are saying is kind or rude, hurtful or constructive. Inter-racial marriages are a great thing. But the subject of inter-racial marriage doesn’t get people as riled up as it used to. I was also using the examples I did because the types of things that this country tolerates wouldn’t fly in other countries. In other countries you’re not allowed to say that you disagree with your government. In this country, you can say disagree with your government, draw up petitions, make satirical cartoons of politicians, protest in the streets, boycott, burn effigies, do some political theater, and plaster your car with bumper stickers.

    If there was FBI or prosecutorial misconduct in investigating Churchill and Ayers it doesn’t necessarily follow that these two men did nothing illegal. You assume Churchill and Ayers were the good guys with the government being the bad guy. Maybe all three parties were the bad guys. Churchill lied about being Cherokee, but that hardly constitutes a federal offense, so maybe the government was on a witch hunt in this case. And about Churchill’s book: you’ve read it? Did you read it before or after the “little Eichmann’s” comment? What rock did that guy crawl out from under? But getting back to Ayers and his Weather Underground past: we know Billy Boy is hardly pure as the wind driven snow.
    Obama described him as “a guy that lives in my neighborhood” and “not somebody who I exchange ideas from on a regular basis.” When I hear that I think of the neighbor that you wave to when walking your dog, or the neighbor that you say hello to when he’s washing his car. But if that guy that lives in your neighborhood is also works in the same building that you do, and when you’re both on the board of the Woods Fund, and when you give speeches at the same conferences, and when you give Ayers’ book a great review, and when you launch your political career from the guy’s living room, and when you’re both members on the board of directors of the Annenberg Challenge, and when you’re funneling money to Ayers’ Small Schools Workshop and to a similar organization run by Ayers’ brother, I think it’s safe to say that this relationship is more than that of your average neighbor. But, Bill Clinton didn’t know the definition of is, so Obama (sarcasm alert), following the precedent of the first African American president, is allotted one common word in the English language to misinterpret. Now all of this wouldn’t matter so much if Ayers wasn’t who he is. I bet you’ll say, “Hey that’s guilt by association!” Yes it is. And in this case it’s perfectly applicable because the association was chosen. Ayers wasn’t some daft cousin that Obama had to see at family gatherings. He chose numerous times to be involved in the same things that Ayers was involved in. I wonder, if when Obama crossed paths with Ayers near both of their offices on the third floor, if he ever voiced his opinions about Ayers straight to his face. “Hi Barry! Did you see the game this weekend?” “Yes I did. The Sox got killed. Hey aren’t you the guy who ‘engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was 8?’” When Ayers hired Obama to be the chairman of the Annenberg Challenge what was the conversation like? “Hey Barack, you look like a good community organizer, why don’t you come on board with us?” “Gee wiz Bill, that sounds great! Did I just accept a job offer from a terrorist that ‘engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was 8?’” Or when Alice Palmer to pass the torch to Obama she must have said something like, “You would be great as my replacement! I’m throwing a party for you over at Bill Ayers’ house. There’ll be arugula and shrimp cocktail!” “That’s sounds great Alice. Tell me, is this Bill Ayers the accountant or the Bill Ayers that ‘engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was 8?’” Oh, all of that was a bit sarcastic wasn’t it? Sorry, I didn’t give you fair warning. You see, it doesn’t matter whether Ayers committed detestable acts in medieval France while cooking crepes. What matters is that Ayers is unrepentant about his crimes, said he was guilty as sin, wishes he could have done more with the weathermen, and is openly communist and Barack Obama chose to be near this guy. And if that weren’t enough, Bernadine Dohrn was also hanging around at Barack’s political coming out party. And as everybody knows (I feel some sarcasm coming on), there is no better way to look like a responsible legislative figure than to party with one of the FBI’s most wanted. She’s even got a great comedy routine about the Manson murders. A real classy gal. I don’t think Obama is an idiot. He knew who these people were. And he chose to work with them. He’s running for the most powerful position in the world. Is it that much to ask that he explain himself?

    I would like to address your equating John McCain’s participation in the Vietnam War with Bill Ayers’ terrorist activities. However, I have birthday cupcakes to make and it will have to wait until later.

    here’s some links to what I was talking about, I have more but time is of the essence.

    Believe it or not, I’d like to know more about McCain’s connections to these South American death squads. Got some links for me?

  323. 323Des Perado on Oct 21, 2008 at 7:25 pm:

    On balance, a good analysis of the counter-play of psychology, mass psychology, hidden persuaders and successful strategic & tactical strategy versus failed (boomeranged) strategy.
    But note one not-so-minor misstep in your rationale that…the “media” is no longer the only show in town and that most notable among the exceptions is…the political blogosphere–it is not the most notable. The most notable exception–and the numbers and reach and influence affirm it everyday–extends far out beyond the reach of the blogosphere…it is talk radio–and most notably CONSERVATIVE talk radio.
    And, no…I’m not a mind-numbed addict to the airwaves…nor to anything else. But the market reality–which thank God keeps catching the “media” by “surprise” each election–is that talk radio’s reach and influence far outstrips the blogs. The day will come when relative parity will be reached between these two poles…but talk radio–absent the Socialist/Marxist state that Obama would like to implant–will always tower over the “media” and the blogosphere…even those poorer but no less intelligent Americans will always…listen…and they will be moved by what they believe…which will continue to be fed by what they listen to.

  324. 324OldladyfromOregon on Oct 21, 2008 at 9:31 pm:

    Rebecca- not so. I’ve heard that same remark all over the web this last week. Bush WAS ahead in all but one poll at this time in the election in 2000


    What I don’t understand in your essay is ;

    If indeed the polls are ‘skewed’ because of the majority of pollers being Dem’s — why aren’t the numbers for Obama MUCH higher?

  325. 325Abu on Oct 22, 2008 at 2:20 am:

    “We are all American. We will work together.

    Understandable that you don’t want your name associated with this diatribe. Very understandable, my friend.”

    I just love the contradiction between the first two lines and the veiled menace of “Very understandable, my friend.”

    Look, doofus, Zombie isn’t afraid of democracy – his essay is an appeal for a democratic coverage of the campaign. Surely, if you READ the essay, you’d be concerned about the lack of an impartial media in the US? Perhaps not. Suits your agenda, doesn’t it?

  326. 326CHW on Oct 22, 2008 at 6:03 am:

    i got through about three paragraphs of this and couldn’t read any more. if you really think the media is 90 percent liberal, it invalidates at least the section I read. If that is indicative of the intellectual honest of the rest of this essay, essentially it is invalid. Saying that 90 percent of journalists’ personal leanings are liberal almost certainly isn’t true. It also doesn’t matter regardless unless it shows up in their work. It has been pointed out, as you say, for years–by right wing commentators who are not seeing any sort of objective reality. On television, you have an entire right wing channel–Fox–and people like Joe Scarborough and Pat and Bay Buchanan sprinkled through the others. The quality of these people varies, but the point is that they are conservative. There are some liberals, such as Maddow and Olbermann, but they are out numbered and relatively recent additions. Radio is all almost all right wing, and you know it. The most effective blogs lean left, but that is nobody’s fault but the right, since there is no barrier to entry.

  327. 327Mycroft on Oct 22, 2008 at 8:31 am:

    >Were I to author a document I believed in, I would attach my name: Jason Miller of Auburn, CA.

    >I imagine if you authored a document you believe in, you’d do the same.

    Zombie, I think you should do exactly as he asks — attach the name “Jason Miller of Auburn, CA” to the essay.

  328. 328Shelly Barreras on Oct 22, 2008 at 8:53 am:

    Brilliant! McCain/Palin ’08

  329. 329B Dubya on Oct 22, 2008 at 10:05 am:

    You must have hit pay dirt. The Obamatrons and his legion of astroturfers are all here.
    If the analysis was off the mark, why would these loons react so violently?

  330. 330ryan on Oct 22, 2008 at 12:40 pm:

    No. It is just that this year people are not being mislead by right wing BS. Get ready for totla democratic domination of the government.And that means the end for weasly right wing crappers like you.

  331. 331ryan on Oct 22, 2008 at 12:41 pm:

    The media is owned by corporations who are violently reactionary and right wing. The idea that the media is for the left is breathtakingly stupid. But that is what the right specilizes in: STUPIDITY

  332. 332neuroburger on Oct 22, 2008 at 1:12 pm:

    “journalists’ may indeed describe themselves as “liberals”

    but how many “journalists” are able to control EDITORIAL POLICIES?

    has anyone quizzed “publishers” as to their political leanings?

  333. 333jeezers on Oct 22, 2008 at 1:59 pm:

    geez, you guys come off as major whiners. if the conservatives make such effective leaders, why haven’t they been able to rectify these biases in the past 8 years, when they have had dominant control of many branches of our national, state, and local governments during most of that time? when you claim that the polls are wrong, that’s a sign of a crisis. no one on that side was complaining when mccain was +2-4ing it after the convention, were they? soo convenient. my 401k is down 40% ytd, that is a cold fact that cuts through any perceived media bias that may exist, and I’m sure I’m not alone — what is the typical voter’s motivation during times like that? throw the bums out! that’s what. you guys have lost your conviction — before the race, mccain favored rolling back the tax cuts, widespread immigration reform, and a somewhat “hands-off” approach to social issues. now, that he has to kow tow to his “base” we see the typical republican ideologue. voters are smarter than you may think — they can see right through this act, the opportunist and wild pick of the unqualified talking point machine that is sarah palin, the absurd “terrorist” and “socialist” attacks, the 24 hour “suspending” of the campaign to contribute nothing to a process that was already pointed defined result, the oncoming loss of many of the bush 04 and 08 “stronghold” states — is this really the best the republican party can do? the polls are not wrong, people are willing to overlook their cultural or financial-interest differences with a new candidate with sharp ideas rather than vote for this year’s “bob dole” — an old man pushing old, angry, and out-dated rhetoric. i thought “greed was good” — have fun attacking the “greed” in wall street and washington, hope you leave some of your party’s main funding sources intact in the process — it is too fun watching you twist in the wind for you to completely collapse, lol.

  334. 334Shefali on Oct 22, 2008 at 4:13 pm:

    I’m voting for McCain this time around though he was not my first choice. I enjoyed the article and most of the comments from both left and right with the exception of Truth Machine. Truth Machine came across as scary to me – he lumps in all “right-wingers” as worthy of being called names, spit upon, etc. That kind of total hatred of a group reminds me of Khmer Rouge policy – when torturers were asked how they could be so horrible to people, they answered that they stopped seeing them as people, stopped having empathy for them. Hitler was Jews that way, EXTREMIST Muslims (the minority of Muslims) see non-Muslims that way, etc.

    The reality is, whether or not you agree with someone else’s ideology – they are still people and should be treated with respect and humanity. While there are definitely fringe elements on both sides of the fence, thankfully I think most people are decent. I have good friends who are voting Obama, I am voting McCain but we have honest discussions without venom or hatred. That is because we all believe in a free and fair process – I am glad they have the right to vote even though I disagree with how they will be voting.

    I do hope that the polls are vastly over-stating the Obama numbers, in fact, given how the last two times the polls underestimated Bush, I feel somewhat heartened by it. However, if Obama wins, I will do what I can to prepare economically for the higher taxes and try to be a good sport about it. If McCain wins, I will be happy but I’ll try not to gloat. The reality is that the US is in a tough place right now, and I think we need to have someone with experience and wisdom.

    While Obama is intelligent and has many good qualities, he has shown extremely bad judgment by his associations. Of course Obama is not a terrorist, and I don’t think he is a racist – but he’s chosen, perhaps for political expediency – to link his name to people who are less than savory. I do think it is great that he won his party’s nomination because I think it’s good that a black man was able to do that – it’s a good role model for black kids, as well as Obama being the head of a nuclear family, etc. Lots of black kids grow up without a dad, so for them, seeing a powerful black man who is also a loving husband and father is fantastic.

    But, for a variety of reasons – his liberal voting record, his lack of experience, his lack of wisdom in his associations – I am not voting for him.

  335. 335C Parker on Oct 22, 2008 at 4:53 pm:


  336. 336Jim on Oct 23, 2008 at 12:08 am:

    that was an enjoyable article. You did real well to explain the goodies involved

  337. 337Eagle on Oct 23, 2008 at 7:31 am:

    Zombie, that was a very interesting read. Thank you.

    From your article: “… the pressure to conform drops precipitously if the subject is aware of even a single fellow dissenter.” When I read that, I remembered how it was for me when I discovered the online community. Not so much a right-wing community, as it was a community that dared to disagree with the liberal-fascist mindset. I realize that what you say is true–> once you know there are like minded people out there, you feel more independent. The internet has at least granted me that.

    I too have noticed some unhinged moonbats gnashing their teeth at this site. Moonbats, if it’s in the bag, why get so angry? Do you have such little regard for any opinion that differs from the opinion of your leader? Learn to live with the fact that no-one will ever think exactly the same as you. Conservatives live with such knowledge every single day, and usually dont go into a blathering rage.

  338. 338Languille Lady on Oct 23, 2008 at 7:32 am:

    Man, do I ever hope you are correct! Great article which I am forwarding on to friends.

  339. 339Dan on Oct 23, 2008 at 7:32 am:

    Causing resignation among voters will also have the effect of resignation among poll respondents: “Gee, sure, I’m voting for Obama.” But when they’re alone in the polling with the curtain drawn behind them, many people will find their strength again. “Bull****! What kind of fool does he take me for?”

  340. 340Tim on Oct 23, 2008 at 1:24 pm:

    Perhaps you wrote this report in the very same haze you are trying to point out? You want to believe that everyone is leaning toward Obama because… well everyone else is leaning toward Obama. No doubt you wrote this, like several other conservatives attempting to cry fowl, for a conformity of like minded individuals?

    Could this not be flipped around and used for several instances of the Bush administration? I’m just trying to be fair here of course.

    But perhaps for a moment, we can consider that this isn’t some giant social gaff? Perhaps people are going to vote for Obama because he stands for all the opposite of issues everyone is tired off? Maybe the American people are starting to realize that this isn’t about picking a side, sticking with it, and taking offense to the opposing sides view.

    Then on the other hand, I close by pointing out, that since you are obviously conservative in your nature, you, and other like-minded conservatives are going to believe this because you want to. You were probably raised in a house hold of other like minded republicans, thus you fell victim to the conformity of your parent’s beliefs. Perhaps you are a Christian because you were raised and surrounded by Christians your whole life so you were Christian.

    Is it not safe to say that if you were raised in a liberal family from San Francisco, you would conform to be a liberal? Is it not safe to say that if you were born into a Mormon family in Utah, surrounded by Mormons, that you would be a Mormon?

    What can we really trust? Are our beliefs really our own? Or the manifestation of our first impressions and influences?

  341. 341JimCap on Oct 24, 2008 at 3:17 pm:

    You might be right. But I don’t know. I used to go to my office, a few weeks ago, and people hated Obama, said they’d never vote him in a million years. Now, most of them are for Obama, or they just don’t say anything anymore. And John McCain, according to these people is now some kind of a joke. They laugh at the guy even when you remind them he’s a war hero! It makes my blood boil but what I can I do? One of them is actually my boss.

    And Palin is like a comedy character for some of these people. When I remind them that she sent more money back to Alaska taxpayers then any governor in history, they say THAT is socialism! They’re just mixed up, I think.

    But every day, the polls look worse and more people I know are turning to Obama. Are you SURE we’re going to win this thing? Because that’s not what my gut is telling me.

  342. 342flapjawman on Oct 25, 2008 at 3:32 am:

    THis is for the poster named “Ken”.
    Um…no WMD in Iraq? Hmmm…. what ot the 500 tons of yellow cake the US removed? Or the many specialized lathes to machine heavy metals with? Or the mountains of Mustard agent artillery rounds we have been finding all over the place? OR that many key Iraqi leaders have openly stated that may of Sadam’s weapons were secreted out to Syria in 2003 or that Jordan executed a number of terrorists who had been caught with Sarin Gas weapons that by all appearances had come from Iraq? Need I go on?
    Besides, Pres. Bush’s speech on the necessity of going into to Iraq was not sole based on the WMD. There were many aspects to his reasoning. He had many facts that clearly showed Sadam was a threat to the region and that Sadam openly ignored UN treaties (Hey, come on, I thought the Left in America wanted all of us to abide by the UN’s rules!) to the tune of 14 resolutions, if I am not mistaken

  343. 343eltoroverde on Oct 25, 2008 at 8:14 am:

    This is the first essay of yours that I have read, Zombie, and I just want to say that you have done a terrific and admirable job here. I think it’s safe to assume that the average Obama supporter would dismiss it as the desperate rantings of an embittered McCain supporter. I believe that is at their own risk and folly. Needless to say, for them to even entertain the possibility of what you’ve put forth here would inflict severe cognitivie dissonance on a massive scale (and we all know to what lengths people will go to avoid that). As stated in many of the comments above, you have eloquently captured many of my own thoughts, feelings, and observations as they relate to this election and the role the media (and infosphere) has played in it.

    As the Fates would tell us: “The Gods first make proud those they intend to strike down.”

  344. 344bigmike on Oct 26, 2008 at 2:58 am:

    Excellent work ZOMBIE. And this leaves an elegantly simple solution to the OBAMA PROBLEM. Wait until after Obama does his big media thing on Oct. 29th, then push ” LET’S SHOW OBAMA/BIDEN THAT OUR VOTES ACTUALLY MATTER, LET’S VOTE, AND GET OTHERS TO VOTE, AND GET THEM TO GET OTHERS TO VOTE.”

  345. 345TNC on Oct 26, 2008 at 11:42 am:

    For info. on media bias, in academia, etc. have a look at “the bias issue” in the journal Critical Review (Vol. 17, Nos. 3-4). Here are a few abstracts:

    ABSTRACT: The party registration of tenure-track faculty at 11 California universities, ranging from small, private, religiously affiliated institutions to large, public, elite schools, shows that the “one-party campus” conjecture does not extend to all institutions or all departments. At one end of the scale, U.C. Berkeley has an adjusted Democrat:Republican ratio of almost 9:1, while Pepperdine University has a ratio of nearly 1:1. Academic field also makes a tremendous difference, with the humanities averaging a 10:1 D:R ratio and business schools averaging 1.3:1, and with departments ranging from sociology (44:1) to management (1.5:1). Across all departments and institutions, the D:R ratio is 5:1, while in the “soft” liberal-arts fields, the ratio is higher than 8:1. These findings are generally in line with comparable previous studies.

    PROFESSORS AND THEIR POLITICS: THE POLICY VIEWS OF SOCIAL SCIENTISTS | Daniel B. Klein and Charlotta Stern (.pdf of article)
    ABSTRACT: Academic social scientists overwhelmingly vote Democratic, and the Democratic hegemony has increased significantly since 1970. Moreover, the policy preferences of a large sample of the members of the scholarly associations in anthropology, economics, history, legal and political philosophy, political science, and sociology generally bear out conjectures about the correspondence of partisan identification with left/right ideal types; although across the board, both Democratic and Republican academics favor government action more than the ideal types might suggest. Variations in policy views among Democrats is smaller than among Republicans. Ideological diversity (as judged not only by voting behavior, but by policy views) is by far the greatest within economics. Social scientists who deviate from left-wing views are as likely to be libertarian as conservative.

    A SOCIAL-SCIENCE PERSPECTIVE ON MEDIA BIAS | Tim Groseclose and Jeffrey Milyo
    ABSTRACT: The questions of whether the news media are biased, and if so, in what direction, typically generate more heat than light. Here, we review some of the most recent and meritorious empirical studies on media bias. This evidence suggests that several prominent national news outlets have a distinct slant to the left or right, and that exposure to these sources influences both public opinion and voting behavior.

    ABSTRACT: A great deal of recent academic writing claims—but, more often, assumes—that the American news media have a predominantly conservative bias, slanting and shaping their coverage in ways that favor right-wing foreign, economic, cultural, and social policies. Two major books pioneered this position and have gone largely uncriticized, despite their immense influence. A detailed examination of Herbert Gans’s Deciding What’s News and Ben Bagdikian’s The Media Monopoly shows, however, that they fall far short of proving their claims about media bias. The logic of many of their arguments is highly problematic, but especially glaring is the almost complete lack of solid evidence in either book as to the purportedly conservative nature of media content.

  346. 346CharlieBravo on Oct 27, 2008 at 11:40 pm:

    Many thanks… from a member of the silent majority.

  347. 347vermindust on Oct 28, 2008 at 6:07 am:

    Iowahawk just wrote on the polling perceptions:

    “But what if the thing you are studying doesn’t quite fit the balls & urns template?

    What if 40% of the balls have personally chosen to live in an urn that you legally can’t stick your hand into?
    What if 50% of the balls who live in the legal urn explicitly refuse to let you select them?
    What if the balls inside the urn are constantly interacting and talking and arguing with each other, and can decide to change their color on a whim?
    What if you have to rely on the balls to report their own color, and some unknown number are probably lying to you?
    What if you’ve been hired to count balls by a company who has endorsed blue as their favorite color?
    What if you have outsourced the urn-ball counting to part-time temp balls, most of whom happen to be blue?
    What if the balls inside the urn are listening to you counting out there, and it affects whether they want to be counted, and/or which color they want to be?
    If one or more of the above statements are true, then the formula for margin of error simplifies to

    Margin of Error = Who the hell knows”

  348. 348Mark 5:9 on Oct 28, 2008 at 3:04 pm:

    I’d stick to photojournalism if I were you.

  349. 349Heather on Oct 29, 2008 at 3:16 pm:

    I haven’t been able to read through all of these comments, because the backbiting and insults are just too many. But I have to say… if I knew absolutely nothing about either candidate, and was choosing based only on the attitudes of the supporters, I’d vote McCain hands down. They’re actually being decent human beings. What is WRONG with so many of you?!? No wonder republicans are silent, if this is the attitude they have to deal with. It’s sad, honestly.

    For all of you who’ve kept your heads, I applaud you. And Zombie! Keep up the good work! Your essay was detailed and thought provoking, and I loved the history lessons it came with. Psych 101 has always been interesting to me. Thanks for giving me more thoughts to ponder!

  350. 350KKelly on Oct 30, 2008 at 10:24 am:

    Excellent article. One thing this over exaggeration leads to is a lot of pissed off people if the election goes the other way. Most people on both sides can live with an election not going their way but everything changes if you think the election was rigged or stolen. I’m not looking forward to that.

  351. 351Some Joe almost a plumber on Oct 31, 2008 at 2:29 am:

    It is amazing how much vile coming out from the left. Seems these people are unable of an intelligent discussion, or are in urgent need of medical attention.

    Thanks for all the work, zombie, keep it up.

    On subject of our country becoming overly socialistic, look for a 1985 footage of G. Edward Griffing interview with Yuri Bezmenov.

  352. 352AnnieMcPhee on Nov 2, 2008 at 11:19 am:

    EXCELLENT piece, zombietime. It really has been going on since at least Nixon, in every single presidential election. Probably long before that, as well (Dewey Wins?), but that’s when I remember from.

    I’ve linked to this piece at my blog; it’s one of the best I’ve ever read. Thanks so much for putting in such great research and for having such a logical, clear, concise writing style. Good stuff.

  353. 353Andy Jackson on Nov 2, 2008 at 7:59 pm:

    My name is not Andrew Jackson, but I am a Jacksonian. I comment on blog posts like this under a pseudonym for the same reason Zombie posts under a pseudonym. And Zombie is right, this will be a landslide election for McCain/Palin – primarily to set the stage for Palin 2012.
    We are not racists, we are anti-socialists.

  354. 354Kathy from Kansas on Nov 2, 2008 at 10:37 pm:

    One problem I see in the analysis: the assumption that some people will stay home because they perceive that their side is winning anyway so their vote’s not gonna be needed. I have heard precisely the opposite: that people are EAGER to get out and vote for a “winner”–but that people who think their candidate is going to LOSE will stay home because they fear the damage to their self-image if they’ve been a “sucker” and have voted for a “loser.” Wasn’t that very clearly and unforgettably demonstrated in the western panhandle of Florida back in 2000, when the race was prematurely declared a victory for Gore, and that suppressed the BUSH voter turnout?

  355. 355Kathy from Kansas on Nov 2, 2008 at 10:43 pm:

    Jay (#16):
    I couldn’t disagree more with your complacency about 4 years of Obama. Even if it didn’t in the short term change this country beyond recognition, have you forgotten that the next President will be appointing at least one, probably at least two, and quite possibly THREE Supreme Court Justices? My poor GRANDCHILDREN–who don’t even exist yet–will still be suffering the effects of those justices 30 or 40 years from now!

  356. 356Kathy from Kansas on Nov 2, 2008 at 10:59 pm:

    Jason@44: “As far as they’re concerned you’re either a racist, a fascist, a Nazi, a baby killer or all of the above.”
    Pretty rich, isn’t it, the Left calling US baby-killers. As if WE’re the ones out there fighting to keep partial-birth abortion and infanticide legal. ( documents Obama’s defense of infanticide)

  357. 357McCain Palin 2008 on Nov 2, 2008 at 11:03 pm:

    Excellent read!

    Thank you! These are things I’ve noticed, but haven’t been able to articulate. You are right on the money.

    Case in point — Troopergate. All the Obamabots were saying it would sink McCain’s campaign. Guess what? Barely even a ripple. And you can see people like GOP08_DOA are PAID OBAMA SUPPORTERS! I just did a simple google search. Guess what? He posts EVERYWHERE.

    I can’t believe how dumb the Obamabots are that they would come in here and troll — did they not read the story? Can’t they see they’re busted? It’s so obvious…they come in packs and they leave in packs. Once they realize they can’t swing the comments section, they move on to somewhere else….LGF, Marc Ambinder, whatever.

    The husband is an ex-attorney and said that you can always tell when a prosecutor is losing a case when they act like it’s not even a question — they won. Look at Obama and his nation of morons…they want us to think he’s won this, without question.

    I will vote for McCain. The husband will vote for McCain. In fact, my entire family is voting McCain (and that’s a lot of people). We’re in California and we know we’ll probably get drowned out by the liberals here. But I believe this election is a lot closer than Obama would like you to think. And thank you for putting this out there because it’s important that no matter how down we feel from the intimidation of the loudmouth, OTT Obamabots, we have to get out there and do this. The media and the polls were wrong four and eight years ago. This time is no different, people.

    Remember what McCain said:

    “Don’t get distracted by the static and ground noise”.

    Let’s not get distracted people, get out there and vote McCain/Palin!!!!

  358. 358McPalin on Nov 2, 2008 at 11:20 pm:

    John McCain is going to lose, sorry. I’ll this to my list of sites to visit Tuesday night though.

  359. 359Cynical Observer on Nov 2, 2008 at 11:47 pm:

    Even more to the point, given your description of the probable make-up of polling firms’ interviewers, which I agree with, how do we know who these people really are, why they took the job, and what they do with the responses they get? It would be impossible, I think, for each polling firm to vet each interviewer’s daily work, given the huge number of calls that must be made.

    How do I know, for example, that there aren’t a significant number of these people who are ending some interviews or discarding results to fit their political leanings? Who knows if some responses are not being fabricated, just like those new ACORN voters? BTW, wasn’t ACORN “supposed to be” a non-partisan organization, just like the polling firms?

    If the sample size in these polls is just several hundred, which it often is, you don’t have to discard many to influence the overall results. If you have to make thousands of calls each and every day to get a few hundred “representative” respondents (allowing 80-percent plus refusals plus probably some calls that have to be discarded for other reasons), which must take dozens of interviewers, what kind of quality control can management exert, besides random audits? If you want to get a sample of 1,000 voters, you might have to call 10,000 people to allow for non-responses and other factors. Just for one poll! While it hasn’t happened to me, I’ve seen more than one account of people who describe calls from pollsters who lose interest once it becomes clear that the person called is a Republican.

    Given the type of job we’re talking about, which is basically a call center job, how thoroughly can or do polling firms vet employees? I mean, the TSA has had airport screeners with criminal records, right? Pollsters might check credit and/or criminal records, as many employers routinely do — but how thoroughly can or do they interview people to screen out the politically motivated?

    Further, and even more to the point, I would suggest that this year — because of the peculiar dynamics of the race — many people have become suspicious of giving information to pollsters. Who knows how confidential that data really is? I don’t doubt that polling firms have an official policy of data confidentiality. As do banks, schools, hospitals, retailers, every government agency at every level. And yet in all of those cases, we have seen so many cases of data breaches that it would take a book to list them. Data is repeatedly lost, taken out of offices on PCs and flash drives, found discarded and unshredded in garbage, sold and or otherwise revealed by people who have signed statements promising not to do those things.

    Sealed records are mysteriously revealed (as were those of both of Obama’s US Senate opponents back in Illinois ( “Secure” IT systems are repeatedly hacked. Personal records of even ordinary people (e.g. Joe the Plumber) become public if they have an unfortunate encounter with The One. And now we have such stunts as a newspaper publishing the names and addresses of houses displaying McCain signs in Washington state — what is the point, if not to intimidate people into not publicly showing their support of the GOP in a state where most of their neighbors are Democrats? How different is that, to the major newspapers publishing directions to weekend houses of GOP administration officials? Is this kind of stuff just harmless, satisfying public curiousity — or is it tacitly encouraging “action”?

    And that gets into two other things about this year’s polls that I think reflect these concerns on the part of intending GOP voters who don’t want to be the target of angry left-wing activists:

    a) the huge percentage of non-participants (can be 80 percent or more in some polls and I gather it’s been rising), and it’s doubtful that none of the “refusals” will vote. Sure, you can keep on dialing until you get a “representative” sample, but the mere fact of so many refusals seems significant. You’re missing something … hard to know exactly what, but the intentions of a huge percentage of voters are not being captured. I suggest it’s mostly GOP voters.

    b) what looks like an oddly high number of “undecided” voters, especially in locations where that’s hard to believe. For example, the IBD-TIPP poll as of yesterday showed 11 percent of voters in the Northeast being “undecided.” That part of the country is about the most solidly Democratic bloc there is — New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania …. does it strike anyone as reasonable that, a few days before the election, 11 percent of the voters in those true-blue locations haven’t already decided to vote Democratic? Meanwhile, in the South, where McCain has a solid lead, there is a relatively small level of “undecided.” What’s the possible downside of declaring yourself an Obama voter in the Northeast? Whose disapproval are you inviting?

    A declared GOP voter in most Northeast locations will be the “odd man out,” if not the target of outright hostility. A declared GOP voter in the more Republican South, less so. Don’t you think?

    In general, in the IBD poll, it looks like wherever McCain is doing well — either has a solid lead or is highly competitive — there are fewer undecideds. But by contrast, the better Obama does (relative to McCain), the more “undecideds” there seem to be. I suspect that a lot of these “undecideds” are McCain voters, who, for the reasons above, just say they’re “undecided”. In the Northeast, they might well be in say, Pennsylvania, where both campaigns appear to think the race is much closer than the public polls show. (

  360. 360George on Nov 2, 2008 at 11:54 pm:

    Interesting article. Democrats had success in the 2006 midterm elections in part because many Republicans stayed home or cast a protest vote. I walked door-to-door and it wasn’t uncommon to see yard signs for Democrat candidates in the yards of voters who supported Republicans in the past. I didn’t see evidence of a change in party loyalty in 2008, suggesting the Democrat/Republican poll weighting may be off if 2006 weighting is assumed.

    This year when I go door-to-door I see pockets of Obama signs will no signs in the yards of Republicans on one block and clusters of McCain Palin signs on other blocks. My theory is Democrats are more willing to get in the face of Republicans than the opposite case. To avoid confrontation, some Republicans will hide their support for McCain while pro-Obama advertising is a fashion accessory in some communities.

    I suspect that Obama’s own words regarding bitter people clinging to guns and religion plus the spread the wealth around comment to Joe the Plumber will tip several states toward McCain. Unfiltered directly from Obama’s mouth to the voter’s ear. Nothing like pissing off gun owners, people who attend church regularly, and small business owners to rev up Republican intensity in a way that McCain himself didn’t do.

  361. 361independent man on Nov 3, 2008 at 4:53 am:

    if all this “brainpower” here was used to find a cure for cancer or how to stop little old ladies from breaking their hips or something what a better world we’d live in.

    someday soon the republicans will have to realize that the world is changing rapidly, and they will have to evolve and engage rational thinkers in order to advance their ideas, instead of simply creating a cocktail that appeals only to fiscal conservatives and blindly patriotic citizens. ironically, mccain seemed the perfect candidate to begin this process (though about 8 years too late). unfortunately for the republicans, their divisive rhetoric during this campaign is closer to the rhetoric NATIONAL SOCIALISM than anything else, and while they might have “energized their base” the POLLS will ultimately show that base is dwindling. they will be buried in this election.

  362. 362ronp on Nov 3, 2008 at 7:21 am:

    well done. one of the best pieces i have seen.

  363. 363Rolyat on Nov 3, 2008 at 1:34 pm:

    “Whenever I’m afraid
    I hold my head erect
    And whistle a happy tune
    And no one ever suspects
    I’m a wreck.”

    Anyone know the rest of the words to this ?

  364. 364AP on Nov 3, 2008 at 8:23 pm:

    Great Essay. I am a democrat for McCain and I so much agree with the essay. I supported Kerry, Gore and Clinton and all my friends are democrats but I cannot tell them that I voted for McCain. I am glad that I did not have to go to the voting booth as we vote by mail in my state. Your essay is so true and I wonder how many of us democrats are out there who will vote for McCain.

  365. 365Prof. Wingnut on Nov 3, 2008 at 10:33 pm:

    pathological social science.

  366. 366Beat McCain on Nov 3, 2008 at 11:22 pm:

    hahahaha, what a poor analysis. Blame the people who ask survey questions for polls that favor Democratic candidates. You gotta be kidding me. This is all you could come up with to show that the poll results are not accurate. So Gallup maybe should hire corporate executives to do the job. hahaha.Starbucks employees are not paid that high, but they make a damn good coffee.

  367. 367m-p on Nov 4, 2008 at 12:09 pm:

    I knew about some of these effects from a news program done last election (I think by Fox News actually, perhaps another one). Their experiment was to see if those in the middle would be pulled through pressure to the extreme left or right by dominant numbers, and they were.

    What scares me most about this particular election is that Obama is always talking about unity. Sure, unity is great, but in the U.S. people’s opinions, however different, are supposed to be respected. However, lately those of differing opinions, especially of conservative opinions, are slowly and steadily being sidelined, stuffed, and stamped out of existence. I cringe especially when Obama starts spouting about every side needs to come together, and says “gay / strait”. There are some that disagree with popular opinion, yet because it is not currently popular to accept that lifestyle, the conservatives are being labelled as haters, homo-phobes, etc. Not only that, but various organizations, tax-funded organizations are pouring information into schools to reprogram our own children to follow their views, instead of letting them find their own.

    I just think that with this current Democratic candidate, with the prospect of a Democratic House, Senate, and possibly the selection of liberal activist Supreme Court justices…balance may be lost. Obviously I’m conservative, but I would say the same thing if the situation were reversed. I served in the U.S. Air Force for 12 years proud of the fact that I was preserving freedom for everyone, even those I didn’t agree with. I would hate to see our great nation so one sided.

  368. 368Bill Duffy on Nov 4, 2008 at 12:26 pm:

    What an amazing, well thought out article. This should have been circulated sooner. It’s ironic that i’ve just read the article and have not yet voted this Election day. Hopefully more will do the same and not be fooled by the asch effect and presume their vote is useless because of the MSM pundits and the blown out of proportion polls. Vote! Thank You.

  369. 369PatricktheRogue on Nov 4, 2008 at 4:47 pm:

    re: “Now, as we all know, college students (especially these days) are usually at the apex of left-wing sentiment in their lives’ political journey. As has been documented extensively, people tend to get more conservative as they get older and acquire more responsibilities. And contemporary college students are almost all being influenced toward leftist ideologies by the liberal atmosphere on most campuses. Some will later grow out of it and slowly shift to the center or right, but while they’re in college, they’re in the thrall of their doctrinaire professors.”

    I have heard this quite a bit, and I suppose it might be true, but I would be interested to see numbers on it, because in my case precisely the opposite has happened. In college I was a church going, evangelical, social and economic conservative. I had magazine subscriptions to National Review and First Things. I was the President of Young Americans for Freedom at UTexas and vice pres of College Republicans.
    Now, twenty years later, I am a military officer, have a family, and live a very conservative lifestyle, but I find myself accepting more and more ideas from the left. I suppose over the years I have become an agostic, left-leaning libertarian who accepts the liberal critique of the free, unbridled market. I wonder how one acounts for that? I know the old Churchill quote, “IF you are not a liberal when young, you have no heart, if you’re not a conservative when old, you have no brain.” The quote is not exact and may be apocryphal, but that is essentially the idea. But my journey is exactly the opposite. When I was young, I was inexperienced and approached society’s problems theoretically. I could afford to be callous and uncaring, let the market rule and chips fall where they may. Now, I have been to two wars, several disaster relief ops, and visited more than 60 countries. The reality of misery has been brought home to me. I now have a family of my own and can no longer wave away the suffering of millions around the world who struggle to feed, clothe, and raise their kids. I have moved from only brain to a brain and heart combination. And I would defend that journey to Churchill himself. As long as he would share one of his cigars and a scotch!
    Patrick the Rogue

  370. 370Jeb on Nov 4, 2008 at 5:56 pm:

    Mark, few things have been said with more truth and less words. You are a scholar and a gentleman.

  371. 371The MAINSTREAM MEDIA on Nov 4, 2008 at 7:44 pm:

    “few things have been said with more…words.”

  372. 372obama_mama on Nov 4, 2008 at 11:40 pm:


  373. 3735Alive on Nov 5, 2008 at 2:06 pm:

    “In 2008 there is no silent majority: there is the silenced majority. The unpolled majority. The media is so pro-Obama that the views and the concerns of McCain supporters are for the most part ignored or, at best, mocked. The goal is to foster disillusionment among them, a sense of isolation. To trick the Republicans into all staying home on election day because “there’s no hope of winning.” Maybe the Democrats can’t avoid a showdown on November 4, but if they can convince enough McCain supporters to individually “fold” and not vote at all, then Obama can carry the day.”

    This by zombie was spot on….

  374. 374Jeff on Nov 5, 2008 at 4:20 pm:

    I did notice something which not many had. When the news reported about Obama and McCain rallys, they always threw out a big number for Obama. It didn’t matter if both rallys had equal numbers there, the news would report:

    Obama rally: “A crowd of over 35,000 greeted Obama…”

    McCain rally: “A group of supporters…”

  375. 375Per on Nov 6, 2008 at 8:08 am:

    Hi, I’m following this from overseas – and I’m sure there’s a lot of truth to this post, but the thing is: From where I stand it looks like the right wing in America is doing something very weird that I’d like you to comment: Painting the democratic candidate (coming president) as a muslim socialist – isn’t that scare tactics in extreme? Also: The general consensus in Europe is that the last election was more or less stolen by the right. So when you write about leftist “brainwashing” and “conforming” my instinctual comparison is “theft”.

    There is a great divide in perception depending on where you stand personally where we assume the worst about one another, so how do we move on from here?

    Per (Crossfit fan in Europe, with great respect for U.S Marines I’d like to add)

  376. 376Prof. Wingnut on Nov 11, 2008 at 2:11 am:

    post-election update is hilarious

    cf. festinger 1956 4 lolz

  377. 377Anon on Nov 19, 2008 at 3:28 pm:

    In other words, approximately 3% of people responding to polls did lie and say they supported Obama when in fact they did not (a ~9.5% predicted victory on average vs. a 6.5% actual victory).

    That 3% conclusion doesn’t necessarily follow unless all that difference abstained. if we assume that they all switched to McCain then only 1.5% needed to switch to get that result. Obama = x%+9.5%-[1.5%] McCain = x%+[1.5%] —> Difference=8.0-1.5=6.5%.

  378. 378Noah Vaile on Nov 28, 2008 at 12:52 pm:

    I was never convinced that McCain actually cared about winning the election anyway.

  379. 379Anonymous on Dec 27, 2008 at 12:59 am:

    Well friends, the view from Australia is unbelievable. The majority of American media is about 10 pacesto the right of the rest of the world and you still bag them out for being lefties. Good policy / politics is all about capturing the centre (or for you guys “center). There is always going to be the loony ends of the spectrum but any far leftie or far righty is always going to find themselves lonely, isolated and nervous. Barack H. Obama may be far left from where you stand, but give the guy a fair go, after all he’s still far right when compared to most of the rest of the world. Publishing this stuff just makes people think there is not much daylight between you and other far right groups like the Taliban !

  380. 380Doctor Biobrain on Jan 5, 2009 at 8:08 pm:

    I find it odd how someone who can sound so rational can spew such irrationality so casually. There’s a lot to laugh at here, but your “Silent Majority” part is the most obviously false. A commenter even called you on it and you act as if you knew you were wrong but wrote it poorly. But let’s look at the tape: “(Nixon’s) key campaign slogan was “The Silent Majority.” And as the commenter pointed out, Nixon didn’t say that until a whole year after the election…yet you pretend as if you knew that. This, you describe as “unclear verbiage”? Ha! The verbiage seems quite clear. It seems to be your accuracy that was at fault. His campaign slogan?? He didn’t say the damn thing that year at all!

    But your whole section on Nixon’s 1968 victory was obvious projection of what you were hoping would occur this time. As Wikipedia points out, Nixon had double digit leads before the election. He was the favorite. Humphrey was the underdog and Wikipedia has a quote from Time magazine mentioning how hopeless things looked for him. And as this Gallup list shows, their last prediction showed that Nixon would win by 1 point, which is a larger margin than the actual victory. Yet you suggest everyone was astonished by his victory? Again, it’s obvious that you were inventing all of this in order to give hope that a similar result would happen for McCain: That the “laughingstock” would be saved by a silent majority to “everyone’s astonishment,” just as what happened with Nixon. But that’s not what happened. There was absolutely no truth in your section on Nixon. This wasn’t sloppy wording. It was outright fabrication. Just as you fabricated the rest of this conspiracy.

    And it’s really quite sad. You’re obviously not stupid. But you bought into a self-delusion. You wrote this long piece with lots of facts, but none that actually supported your case. And I even learned stuff. But in the end, the basis for this piece was your deep-seeded belief that Obama’s support wasn’t as strong as it seemed to be. And so you invented pure conspiracies to support that belief and deluded yourself into believing that your facts supported it. Why? Because you’re the conformist that you project onto us. In fact, the entire strategy your pinning on Obama was, in fact, the Bush Invincibility Strategy of 2000. Even down to the bluffing, like when Rove had Bush travel to California before the election to make it seem as if California was in play (it wasn’t), and ignoring Florida, which certainly needed his help.

    And this works better on you conformists on the right. That’s why you guys were so desperate to believe in these conspiracies, to help explain why Obama seemed so popular. But it amounted to nothing and we got the results we were expecting. Sure, not all of the polls were entirely accurate, but they were accurate enough. And there is absolutely nothing that supports your general thesis about the Invincibility strategy backfiring; nor is there a shred of evidence that liberals or the media were lying about his popularity. In hindsight, everything looks just the way it looked at the time. It was only your self-delusion that hindsight is laughing at. And you can take my comment as an insult if you want and ignore it, but I took your piece here as a huge cry for help. It’s not too late, but you have to admit you have a problem. And that would require you to re-read this piece and see how your theory lacked even the most basic of facts, and that it wasn’t sloppy writing the caused the errors. It was self-delusion. This piece has more holes than I can possibly blog about (though I’ll do my best tonight). And someone as smart as yourself would surely have caught them, were you not so interested in believing that they’re true.

    Obama didn’t seem popular as a marketing trick. He really is popular. You guys would do well to understand why that is, rather than inventing fictions about why it isn’t.

  381. 381Doctor Biobrain on Jan 5, 2009 at 11:02 pm:

    That’s odd. I remember writing something here earlier tonight and even seeing it posted, but now it’s gone. Must have been a gremlin, as I’m sure Zombie wouldn’t be so intellectually dishonest as to delete comments that were critical of his analysis. In any case, I just wanted to mention that you might want to think about revising your update, Zombie. First off, the final election results show a 7.3 point margin for Obama, not the 6.5 you cite. And that’d show that the pollsters were only off by 2.2 points from the 9.5 polling average you cite. Meaning that only 1.1% of the population would have switched, according to the logic you gave in the update.

    Of course, I’m not sure where you got the 9.5, as that seemed a bit high to me. And so I decided to help you out by finding a citation for the national pollsters you can use in your update. Naturally, there will be discrepencies when averaging polls, as it depends on which polls you include. But according to the average at Real Clear Politics, which averaged together fifteen different national polls (including the 11-point Gallup poll you cite), pollsters predicted an Obama victory of 7.6%. And that would seem to completely undermine your theory about the pollsters being off. I mean, even a 3 point difference is within the statistical margin of error; but the average of these polls shows that the difference was only 0.3%; which is statistically meaningless. And so either the polls were so good at influencing voters that they almost nailed the number, or your entire thesis is dooky and they were right the whole time. It’s your choice as to which way you choose to explain it in the update. If you like, you can suggest that backlash against the Hans/Asch/Bradley Effect caused 0.15% of voters to lie, or switch, or whatever it is exactly that you’re suggesting you were right about. So your theory remains strong, even if you were off by five million or so votes.

    But in any case, I really felt that you would want to know this, in order to give an update to your update. I mean, it’d be intellectually dishonest to pretend that there was a 3 point gap in the polls if there was really only a 0.3 point gap. That’d be almost as bad as pretending that Nixon was the underdog in 1968 or that he had a key campaign slogan that he really didn’t start using until a whole year later. And that’d be beneath the dignity of The Zombie Times. Just thought I’d help.

  382. 382Tumbler on Jun 19, 2009 at 5:05 pm:

    I like your factual research. ALL the media..(EVEN FOX) rely on nit wits who poll other nit wits with joy sticks in their hands responding like Pavlovian dogs to whatever drivel is fed them, hehe

    Get a clue folks… those squiggly yellow and green lines superimposed over an individual making a statement have no subjective or objective connection to what is being said….for all you know the reason the graph line is rising is because the subject has just noticed the beautiful scantily clad blonde in the front row (where the ushers always manage somehow to make sure they’re seated), hehe

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