In the polls

Published September 27, 2004 7:05PM (EDT)

Only a handful of state poll results were released today, and none were particularly striking. A Rasmussen poll returned the lead in Florida to John Kerry today, but recently the weather-ravaged state has been switching colors at least twice a week. No new national polls today either -- nobody wants to commission a survey that comes out just in time to be outdated by the first presidential debate on Thursday.

In the meantime, Donkey Rising has a great post on what it means to be a Gallup-certified likely voter, including the texts of the less-than-scientific questions the polling firm asks to determine voter motivation. Judge for yourself whether Gallup's questions and methodology look on the mark -- but keep in mind that, even in Gallup surveys, registered-voter surveys have been more reliable in forecasting the outcome of three of the last four elections.

Also, a recent Annenberg survey finds that some of the best-informed voters are those that watch late-night comedy. While Leno and Letterman viewers scored slightly higher than average on Annenberg's election-season quiz, the runaway winners were those who watched "The Daily Show" with Jon Stewart. While part of the explanation for their high score is that the show's audience tends to be "more educated, younger, and more liberal than the Average American or than Leno or Letterman viewers," the study's director found that the program itself had an unambiguously educational impact. According to the study's director, "Daily Show viewers have higher campaign knowledge than national news viewers and newspaper readers -- even when education, party identification, following politics, watching cable news, receiving campaign information online, age, and gender are taken into consideration."

By Jeff Horwitz

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