By Kyle | November 4, 2008
Over at Dirty Harry, quite a few posters have a bit of tentative optimism that John McCain will pull a Joe Namath tomorrow. I can’t quite see it. But remember in 2004, when every poll had President Bush ahead by a small margin? Yet the 1 pm exit polls showed Kerry winning in a blowout? No one seemed particularly surprised. Could the pollsters be off by, say, eight points? They were in Britain in 1992. As the Guardian newspaper put it:
A final poll of polls, published on April 9, suggested a Labour lead of 0.9%. “Time for a change” was the Daily Mirror’s election day headline. But the Sun, with far more flair and ruthlessness, splashed memorably with: “If Kinnock wins today, will the last person out of Britain please turn out the lights?” It was illustrated with the Labour leader’s head in a light bulb.
As soon as the results began to come in, it was clear that the 1992 election was to be the pollsters’ Waterloo. In the event, the Tories won by 7.6%, an 8.5% error and the worst ever showing by the polls. The national shares of the vote were Conservative 42% (no change from 1987), Labour 34%
I put McCain’s chances of an electoral college victory at ten percent. I put his chances of winning the popular vote at two percent.