Question: Is it just me or are toothbrushes getting bigger by the day?
Media is always wrong: It seems not too long ago that political analysts claimed Obama was the clear favorite of the race and that McCain had a better chance of dying of natural causes than he did of winning the election. Now, the same analysts are eating their words as McCain is not only closing the gap, but is actually leading in some polls. Thursday's Wall Street Journal attributes this phenomenon to McCain's ads, oil drilling, and the invasion of Georgia, among other things.
Political scientists Robert Erikson and Christopher Wlezin knew McCain would close the gap in the polls way back in May. Their paper, which was published around the time when Obama had a gigantic 6 point lead, stated that the race would be a dead heat by election day.
What this means: As Wolfers points out,
Shame on you, Wolf Blitzer. Shame on you.
A naïve reading of polls suggests an Obama landslide; a sophisticated reading points to a dead heat. Prediction markets are somewhere in the middle, suggesting a two-in-three probability that our next president will be a Democrat.
Yet it is the naïve reading of the polls … that dominates media headlines.