One possible bit of hope that I’m clinging to right now is that there is a substantial gap between McCain and Obama voters in their willingness to pick up the phone and talk to a pollster in this election season. Ed Whelan had an excellent post on The Corner a few days ago about the possibility that the enthusiasm gap between Obama and McCain voters skews the polls in favor of Obama. The idea is that they’re more willing to answer the polls but that doesn’t translate necessarily to the same gap in actual voting.
As a derivation of this, it seems to me that McCain voters are disproportionately sick of this election season. We’re tired of Obama, the media, etc. and many of us just want this to be over with. Obama voters on the other hand are more likely to be enjoying the long coronation of “The One.” Thus, I would postulate that when a pollster calls and “Research 2000,” “Rasmussen,” or “Gallup” shows up on one’s caller id, the Obama voters are somewhat more likely to pick up that call than the McCain voters. And similarly if the call is answered and it’s a poll, McCain voters are more likely to hang up the phone.
The result is not only skewed poll responses in favor of Obama (and down ticket races also) but also skewed party affiliation numbers that are used to weight the polls.
I have NO data for this, but it seems a plausible theory to me. I’m not saying that ergo McCain is headed to a landslide, but if it’s right and if there is a Bradley effect, the polls could be presenting a tied race as a 5-7 point Obama lead.