Computerized polling predicts Republican rout


— 12:29 AM on November 6, 2000

With only hours left before the U.S. elections are over and decided, it looks like a Republican rout may be the order of the day. Rasmussen Research's Portrait of America tracking polls are controversial because Rasumussen employs a computerized phone polling system that presents people with an automated menu of choices. But they also seem to be some of the most accurate tracking polls when it comes to predicting elections, for several reasons. For one thing, the computerized polling allows Rasmussen to use a much larger sample size, so the margin of error for their Presidential tracking poll, for instance, is +/- 1.8%, not the usual +/-3% of most media tracking polls.

Beyond that, there's the possibility that voters are more comfortable choosing a menu selection than they are telling some stranger on the phone who they plan to vote for. Especially, it would seem, bunker-mentality right wingers, who tend to show up on voting day, despite the major media polls generally tracking roughly 6% to the left of election outcomes. Whatever the case, Rasmussen's Portrait of America has been kicking butt and taking the names of nerdy little stasticians with less-automated methods.

And what the Portrait of America poll is showing isn't good news for Democrats. Bush is up by 7 points over Gore nationwide, and he's got the edge in Electoral College votes, 224 to 168, with 146 toss-ups (and 270 needed to win). What's more, despite wild fluctuations in some polls and the media's focus on undecided voters, voters have been very steady in making their deliberations this year, so a surprise Gore swing seems unlikely. In fact, it looks like the House, the Senate, and the White House may wind up in Republican hands.

Incredibly, the Bush camp's own internal data reportedly has Bush up by 5% in Florida and by 2% in California, believe it or not.

However, I can reveal that TR's own highly automated polling system projects Pat Buchanan as the surprise winner of Tuesday's elections. A flurry of late voting by Buchanan's thousands of TR-reading supporters sent him over the top. You might want to buy those computer components now, folks, before Pat slaps a 30% tariff on all imports and sends the world economy into the drink.

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