Berwyn, Ill.: With unprecedented numbers of newly registered voters all across the country, aren't ALL polls essentially irrelevant?
Charles Cook: Virtually all the polls you are seeing are using random digit dialing, not voter registeration rolls, so theoretically even newly registered voters are being polled. A far bigger problem is that as many as 18 percent of telephone subscribers today have no land lines, and since pollsters are not calling cell phones, almost one in five voters are not being included in poll samples.
Unrelated to your question, my advice to people is to not pay too much attention to any one poll, there is a temptation to cherry pick, to focus on the one or two polls that tell you what you want to see happen the most, and ignore all others as methodologically flawed. I would look at the averages of polls that are published in various places, an average of many polls is most likely to give you a truer picture than any one
Nashville, Tenn.: I've read that some political rleaders think highly of the Zogby poll.
What do you think of Zogby's poll?
Charles Cook: I think that anyone who puts significantly more weight on any one pollster is making a huge mistake. John Zogby is a terrific guy who works very hard and has had some really good years and other years (2002) that weren't so good. There is a web site that has plotted out each of the major national polls on a graph that indicates that Zogby's polls have been a tad more Democratic than most others, just as Fox/Opinion Dynamics tend to be a bit more Republican than the others. Averages are always better, just stick to polls that are done over the telephone (NOT internet) and conducted by real live people, not "push #1 for Bush, #2 for Kerry...) like Rasmussen or Survey USA. They have no idea of they are interviewing nine years old or not.
Amen to that.
It's amazing that some folks rely on one poll (especially those that are biased towards Repubs.)