With an election this heavily polled, if the actual reported vote deviates from the polls significantly, that is more likely to be indicative of an error in the measure of the actual vote than in the polls themselves. In other words, if Ohio goes for Romney, that’s more likely a sign that Ohio messed up and somehow returned a result that was out of line with actual voter intent than that the underlying polls were incorrect in measuring voter intent.
Polling is more accurate than the “real vote” at this point. This is also the case with the census. Why should we have to talk to every American to get an accurate measure of how many people live where? And the insistence on showing up at the polls (or talking to a census taker) has the effect of systematically undercounting certain sets of people—the homeless, the poor, people who don’t speak English, people who move frequently. There are systematic biases in the census and the vote. Is that defensible?
TODAY IN SLATE
The Irritating Confidante
John Dickerson on Ben Bradlee’s fascinating relationship with John F. Kennedy.
My Father Invented Social Networking at a Girls’ Reform School in the 1930s
Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band
Can it be again?
The All The President’s Men Scene That Captured Ben Bradlee
Is It Better to Be a Hero Like Batman?
Or an altruist like Bruce Wayne?
Driving in Circles
The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.