First, some points about the limits of polls. Random sample polling is an imprecise instrument. There's an error margin of 3 or 4 percent, and polling theory tells us that one out of 20 polls is wrong, with results outside the margin of error. Sometimes it's easy to spot such an...
I would like to see a poll in the swing states that identifies "swing/independent" voters who voted for Obama in '08 and asks: How likely are you to vote in '12? Will you vote for Obama in '12? If a large percentage of such voters in swing states are motivated to vote against Obama, he's toast.
As a recovering pollster (I worked for Democratic pollster Peter Hart from 1974 to 1981), let me weigh in on the controversy over whether the polls are accurate. Many conservatives are claiming that multiple polls have overly Democratic samples, and some charge that media pollsters are trying to discourage Republican voters.
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