Sampling Method

My car is fixed! It's about time, there was something configured wrong with the new computer in it, according to the mechanic. Now I just have to get J Dylan to drive me there to get it. It's raining, it's chilly, and I didn't bring a coat to work. I've been largely unaffected by any changes in the cost of gas, as I live a mile from work, and haven't filled up my car in well over a month now. It's starting to get colder, however, so I'll probably start driving to work, rather than walking or biking. I haven't had any significant problems with this car in the three years I've owned it, until last month. Apparently, what was wrong, was that a new computer has been put in the car (I won't go into the sequence of events that lead to that) but it didn't have the correct PROM settings. He's corrected that now, so it should work fine... I watched the excellent season premiere of The West Wing last night. I started watching this show last spring, and was instantly hooked. It's funny, smart, and insightful, it does a good job of taking you inside government, and really makes you realize that these people are only human. Rob Lowe really cracks me up, his character is so quirky and off-the-wall. Martin Sheen pulls off the role of the President very well, and is very Kennedy-esque.

My LandWare GoType! Pro keyboard came last night. It doubles as a second docking station for my Handspring Visor, as well as a keyboard. It seems to work pretty well, I wish it was just the tiniest bit larger, I can type accurately on it if I concentrate, but it's not quite large enough for me to type with reckless abandon, as I do on my desktop keyboard. Maybe I'll take it with me to class today and see if I can take notes on it. That should get some eye-rolls from my fellow students.

Here's an example of why sampling methods are important in polling. Yahoo is running an online poll in which you can vote for the president, they add up the votes in each state, and calculate the number of electoral votes each candidate would receive. As you can see by these results, they have Bush winning with overwhelming majority. I personally guarantee you that the final election results will look nothing like this. Why? Because the people most likely to have access to computers, and spending all day on the web are rich white guys, exactly the people who Bush does well with. This isn't random sampling, this isn't too likely to include many senior citizens, who have some of the highest levels of voter turnout, this is just for fun folks, so remember, it's worthless.

As I predicted yesterday, Gore did get a bump from the debates, the latest three-day Gallup poll results have him at 49%, Bush at 41%, Nader at 2% and Pat Buchanan at a meager 1%. Gallup runs rolling polls, in which they take all the data from the last three or six days, combine it all together, to try to get an accurate picture of who is in the lead. In the six-day stats, Gore has only 47%, Bush has 43%, Nader has 3%, Buchanan 1%.