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Tuesday, September 30, 2003
While there have been plenty of polls done about the California recall election, none seemed to have gained the traction that the recent CNN/USA Today poll has. Unlike other polls on the issue, which are announced, pundited over for a few minutes, and then rapidly consigned into obscurity, this one has been given extensive coverage since it was released two days ago, and is repeatedly referenced as proof that some sort of nascent Schwarzenegger juggernaut is on the march.

When I first saw the CNN numbers, however, the first thing that struck me was how inconsistent they were with the results of other polls. All of the other polling that I've seen has put The Governator in a dead heat with Bustamente at best, and more often than not trailing him. There have been a few halfhearted attempts to claim that the CNN poll is somehow more accurate than all the other ones. But I'm not buying that, at least not without more correlation.

"Someone," I thought. "Has been playing games with their methodologies."

Sure enough, I was right. While reading an article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Arnold's invincibility, I found this little gem tossed in:

The wide differences in the polls - results are closer when only registered, not just probable voters are considered - prompted the Davis campaign managers to refute the latest survey, saying it was flawed.

I'll say it was flawed! They were polling people who couldn't vote!

In order to vote in California, one has to be registered. Registration is not as simple as in some states, where you can just walk in on polling day with a proper ID and register on the spot. It must be done ahead of time -- fifteen days ahead of time. By my calculation, this means that in order to be a registered voter, a California resident would have had to have the necessary forms in the mail (or the internet) by the 23rd of September. Anybody quizzed on the 25th-27th (when the CNN poll was taken), would have known if they had gone through the bother of registering or not. Those "probable voters" who haven't bothered to turn themselves into registered ones by then have no place in polling results at this time -- except to skew the numbers in Schwarzenegger's favor.

Some new polls are likely to come out within a few hours, I understand. They should be very interesting. I wouldn't be surprised if they show a bump in support for Schwarzenegger, too, since CNN has been so successful at inserting the "Arnold=Inevitable" meme into the media stream.

Of course, it was a stretch to get that far in the first place.

Monday, September 29, 2003
It seems that the Blogger software doesn't want to play nice with my Opera Browser. I have to switch over to the dreaded Internet Explorer in order to achieve full functionality.

Already, I am suspicious...

Wednesday, September 24, 2003
The last three email subject lines Buzz sent me:

"For the love of....the Post just won't let this GO!"
"But Mike...."

Hello, and welcome to the Lost City Cafe. My name's Mike. I'm just visiting. The Lost City Cafe actually belongs to Buzz, coffee house proprieter and increasingly frazzled defender of Truth.

Did you ever see "Invasion of the Body Snatchers"? Remember how sane and well-mannered Kevin McCarthy's character was at the beginning of the picture? He was a respected professional, a rational man in a small town full of hysterical people. He wasn't interested in the paranoid rantings of a few nutcases in town. Why, he told them, everything is just fine. The world isn't going to pieces. It'll all work out. Don't worry.

But as time went on he learned that the paranoid lunatics were right. By the end of the movie, of course, he was running down the middle of a busy highway in his pajamas, shouting, "You're next! They're taking over! YOU'RE NEXT!" And all the people driving by said, "Hey, who's that nut?"

Well, my friend, Buzz is that nut. He'll be stopping by soon, to bring you the latest terrifying reports from the edge of the political abyss.

So remember, you're next.

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