I hope most of you by now have read Nate Silver this morning, as is your civic duty. He argues that in order for Romney to win, the polls must be statistically biased in Obama's favor, meaning they must be overestimating support for Obama. Nate explains it this way:
...many of the pollsters are likely to make [...] assumptions about how to measure the voter universe accurately. This introduces the possibility that most of the pollsters could err on one or another side — whether in Mr. Obama’s direction, or Mr. Romney’s. In a statistical sense, we would call this bias: that the polls are not taking an accurate sample of the voter population.But there is another way to think of it. The pollsters may be overestimating us. And by us, I mean the Democrats. They may think we're going to do a decent job getting out the vote. They may be wrong. They may think we really care about winning this election. They may be wrong. They may think we're going to make a ton of phone calls, knock on doors, drive people to the polls. They may be wrong.
Political polling is a very strange kind of analysis. You're not measuring the average size of a rock. You're measuring something much more maleable, fluid, ephemeral. You're measuring attitudes, free will. You're guessing what someone might do.
So when the pollsters say that we're winning in Ohio, it's really a vote of confidence. They're saying they think we're going to do our job and get out the vote at very high levels.
According to Nate, there's currently a 16.3% chance we won't. But that's up to us.