Sunday, October 26, 2008

Gene for Transsexuality Found

Human behavior is complex, and the idea that there will a single gene for any particular personality characteristic is ludicrous. Is there a sense-of-humor gene? An intelligence gene? There are definitely heritable factors, but you're not going to find a particular pattern on the chromosomes that predicts qualities like these. That's why it makes no sense to say "there is no gay gene," to support the assertion that sexual orientation is something you choose. Of course there's no gay gene, there are probably lots of them.

But it appears that some Australian researchers have identified something interesting in male-to-female transsexuals. From the BBC:
Australian researchers have identified a significant link between a gene involved in testosterone action and male transsexualism.

DNA analysis from 112 male-to-female transsexual volunteers showed they were more likely to have a longer version of the androgen receptor gene.

The genetic difference may cause weaker testosterone signals, the team reported in Biological Psychiatry.

However, other genes are also likely to play a part, they stressed.

Increasingly, biological factors are being implicated in gender identity.

One study has shown that certain brain structures in male-to-female transsexual people are more "female like".

In the latest study, researchers looked for potential differences in three genes known to be involved in sex development - coding for the androgen receptor, the oestrogen receptor and an enzyme which converts testosterone to oestrogen.

Comparison of the DNA from the male to female transsexual participants with 258 controls showed a significant link with a long version of the androgen receptor gene and transsexualism. Male transsexual gene link found

Some people, even some in our own county, think that people simply decide to change their sex, on a whim or because of some belief they have. But transgender people will tell you, they have always felt they had been assigned to the wrong gender, it isn't something they decided or discovered later in life, though they may decide later in their lives to make the transition. It's hard for the rest of us to understand what that must be like, and as a consequence transgender people are very often the targets of discrimination and ugly words, even violence.
It is known that longer versions of the androgen receptor gene are associated with less efficient testosterone signalling.

This reduced action of the male sex hormone may have an effect on gender development in the womb, the researchers speculated.

"We think that these genetic differences might reduce testosterone action and under masculinise the brain during foetal development," said researcher Lauren Hare from Prince Henry's Institute of Medical Research.

Co-author Professor Vincent Harley added: "There is a social stigma that transsexualism is simply a lifestyle choice, however our findings support a biological basis of how gender identity develops."

I think it's really good that they are making progress in this field, this is some amazing cool research.
Although this is the largest genetic study of transsexualism to date, the researchers now plan to see if the results can be replicated in a larger population.

Terry Reed from the Gender Identity Research and Education Society said she was convinced of a biological basis to transsexualism.

"This study appears to reinforce earlier studies which have indicated that, in some trans people, there may be a genetic trigger to the development of an atypical gender identity.

"However, it may be just one of several routes and, although it seems extremely likely that a biological element will always be present in the aetiology of transsexualism, it's unlikely that developmental pathways will be the same in all individuals."

Right -- there is no "transgender gene," any more than there is a "gay gene." There are likely to be lots of them. And these scientists seem to have identified one.


Anonymous Robert said...

Great article.

I love the way they spell out the diphtongs 'oe' and 'ae'.


October 27, 2008 11:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

would you look at that?

look at the polls the last two days:

GWU/Battleground 3
Gallup 5
Zogby 5
Ramussen 5

these are the leads for Obama in spite of huge double digit leads in the most populous states

just last week, several of these polls had double digit leads nationally for Obama

America's having doubts about electing an inexperienced, unaccomplished socialist for President

Obama will feel pretty stupid next Wednesday morning

would you look at that?

October 27, 2008 12:56 PM  
Anonymous Derrick said...

Stop counting those chickens before they hatch, AnonBigot.

The race has been won.


October 27, 2008 2:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Do you ever read what you write?

You just counted a bunch of chickens before they were hatched.

October 27, 2008 2:34 PM  
Anonymous Robert said...

I wonder if Anonymous' hair is as bad as a chicken's?


October 27, 2008 2:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon thinks Americans want to continue 90% of the same policies we've endured for the past 8 years.

No, Anon, that's only you and the ever-shrinking GOP base.

October 27, 2008 3:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think most of them agree with those policies. They are concerned with the competence of the individuals involved but they believe in less government regulation and income creation rather than redistribution.

We haven't suddenly become a socialist country.

October 27, 2008 4:42 PM  
Blogger Lisa Harney said...

I can't imagine why any discerning voter who gives a damn about presidential competence would throw a vote McCain's way.

This is the most inept campaign I've ever seen...

October 27, 2008 4:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think most of them agree with those policies

How far up your ass did you have to reach for that one? Good lord -- do you even know how to do a Google search?

Time for your spanking, dude. It's been a while, so I'm going to really put some elbow into it.

From Rasmussen Reports, earlier this month.

Voters now trust Democrats more than Republicans on all ten key electoral issues tracked by Rasmussen Reports.

The latest national telephone survey found that the Democrats have taken the largest advantage over the GOP on the economy since early June. Over half of voters (51%) trust Democrats more on economic issues, while 38% trust the GOP more. Investors are slightly more divided than non-investors between the parties. Investors trust Democrats more on the economy by a 47% to 42% margin, while non-investors favor the Democrats by a 62% to 29% margin. The economy is considered a very important issue by 80% of voters, up just one percentage point from last month. The survey was conducted the day after Congress passed the federal bailout bill, which was opposed by 45% of voters on Thursday.

The Democrats have pulled ahead of the GOP on national security, an issue John McCain’s party usually holds the advantage on. The Democrats now have a three-point edge on the issue, which is considered very important by 64% of voters.

Another issue that has shifted to the Democrats this month, taxes, is considered a very important issue to 57% of voters. The Democrats now hold a 47% to 42% edge on this issue.

The parties are closest on the issue of immigration, with the Democrats holding a modest 40% to 38% edge. Though immigration was a hot topic early in the election, just 41% of voters now consider it to be a very important electoral issue. That is the lowest percentage found since regular tracking began in August of last year.

When it comes to the War in Iraq, voters trust the Democrats more by a 47% to 42% margin. Last month, it was the GOP who held a four percentage point lead on this issue, which is very important to 55% of Likely Voters.

The Democrats hold double-digit leads on government ethics and corruption, healthcare, social security and education. They also hold a nine-point advantage on the issue of abortion.

While McCain has faired better than his party in terms of earning trust from voters, he now trails Barack Obama on the majority of issues tracked by Rasmussen Reports.

Next question?

Oh, yeah, have a nice day. It's been fun abusing you, as usual.


October 27, 2008 6:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, I think if you actually specify the issue rather than the party, you'll find Americans agree with John McCain and Sarah Palin on most issues.

Most particularly, the agree that the government should try to create wealth rather than redistribute it. The proof of what Americans believe comes crystal clear when reporters ask Obama and Biden about it. They won't argue that they don't believe in redistibuting wealth. They simply try to make the preposterous argument that McCain wants to do it too.

What's GA mean anyway, Gone Addled?

October 27, 2008 8:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Today's polls have all been released:

GWU/Battleground 3
Gallup 5
Zogby 5
Ramussen 5
Washington "Obama
Campaign HQ" Post 7
Hotline (groovy,
man) 8

Hardly out of reach. Average of 5. Practically a tie when you consider that California, New York and Illinois all go heavily for Obama.

Can't wait to see McCain holding a 1948 type headline!

October 27, 2008 8:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It's difficult not to froth when one reads, as I did again and again this week, doubts about Sarah Palin's “intelligence,” coming especially from women such as PBS's Bonnie Erbe, who, as near as I recall, has not herself heretofore been burdened with the Susan Sontag of Journalism moniker. As Fred Barnes—God help me, I'm agreeing with Fred Barnes—suggests in the Weekly Standard, these high toned and authoritative dismissals come from people who have never met or spoken with Sarah Palin. Those who know her, love her or hate her, offer no such criticism. They know what I know, and I learned it from spending just a little time traveling on the cramped campaign plane this week: Sarah Palin is very smart.

I'm a Democrat, but I've worked as a consultant with the McCain campaign since shortly after Palin's nomination. Last week, there was the thought that as a former editor-in-chief of Ms. magazine as well as a feminist activist in my pre-journalism days, I might be helpful in contributing to a speech that Palin had long wanted to give on women's rights.

Now by “smart,” I don't refer to a person who is wily or calculating or nimble in the way of certain talented athletes who we admire but suspect don't really have serious brains in their skulls. I mean, instead, a mind that is thoughtful, curious, with a discernable pattern of associative thinking and insight. Palin asks questions, and probes linkages and logic that bring to mind a quirky law professor I once had. Palin is more than a “quick study”; I'd heard rumors around the campaign of her photographic memory and, frankly, I watched it in action. She sees. She processes. She questions, and only then, she acts. What is often called her “confidence” is actually a rarity in national politics: I saw a woman who knows exactly who she is.

For all those old enough to remember Senator Sam Ervin, the brilliant strict constitutional constructionist and chairman of the Senate Watergate Committee whose patois included “I'm just a country lawyer”… Yup, Palin is that smart.

So no simple task then, this speech on women's rights. For the sin of being a Christian personally opposed to abortion, Palin is being pilloried by the inside-the-Beltway Democrat feminist establishment. (Yes, she is anti-abortion. And yes, instead of buying organic New Zealand lamb at Whole Foods, she joins other Alaskans in hunting for food. That's it. She is not a right-wing nut, and all the rest of the Internet drivel—the book banning at the Library, the rape kits decision – is nonsense. I digress.) Palin's role in this campaign was to energize “the Republican base,” which she has inarguably done. She also was expected to reach out to Hillary Clinton “moderates.” (Right. Only a woman would get both those jobs in either party.) Look, I am obviously personally pro-choice, and I disagree with McCain and Palin on that and a few other issues. But like many other Democrats, including Lynn Rothschild, I'm tired of the Democratic Party taking women for granted. I also happen to believe Sarah Palin supports women's rights, deeply and passionately.
Many of those—not all—who decried the sexist media treatment of Hillary Clinton have been silent as Palin has been skewered in the old ways that female public figures are skewered, as well as a host of sexualized new ways as well. Some feminists have weighed in; “Even the reportedly clear glasses she wears to play down her beauty queen credential and enhance her gravitas can't make up for experience,” writes my heroine Suzanne Braun Levine, former editor of Ms. Oppose her on policy? Fine. But how sad for feminist leaders to sink this low, especially when Palin has worn glasses since she was 10 years old.

Last month a prominent feminist blogger, echoing that sensibility, declared that the media was wrongly buying into the false idea that Palin was a feminist. Why? Well, just because she said she was a feminist, because she supported women's rights and opportunities, equal pay, Title IV—that was just “empty rhetoric,” they said. At least the blogger didn't go as far as NOW's Kim Gandy and declare that Palin was not a woman. Bottom line: you are not a feminist until we say you are. And there you have the formula for diminishing what was once a great and important mass social change movement to an exclusionary club that rejects women who sincerely want to join and, God forbid, grow to lead.

But here is the good news: women, citizens of America's high and low culture, the Economist and People magazine readers, will get it. They got it with Hillary even when feminist leaders were not supporting her or doing so half-heartedly. Yes, Palin is a harder sell, she looks and sounds different, and one can rightfully oppose her based on abortion policies. If you only vote on how a person personally feels about abortion, you will never want her to darken your door. If you care about anything else, she will continue to intrigue you. As Time's Nancy Gibbs noted a few weeks ago, quoting bioethicist Tom Murray, “Sympathy and subtlety are seasonings rarely applied to political red meat.” Will Palin's time come next week? I don't know. But her time will come."

October 27, 2008 8:35 PM  
Anonymous Derrick said...

There are 2008 eggs, and 2008 chickens will come out of them. It's a fact: Obama will win.

I am impressed that you understand the idiomatic expression, though.

I am looking forward to a BLUE country, once again! One with hope, dignity, pride and sound foreign policy.

October 27, 2008 8:46 PM  
Anonymous Robert said...

It's not so much that I'm concerned about Sarah Palin's intelligence or competence. I just disagree with her on almost everything that is important to me, and don't want her running my government.


October 27, 2008 8:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I am looking forward to a BLUE country, once again! One with hope, dignity, pride and sound foreign policy."

Remember when Bill Clinton was elected. Everyone loved him for a few weeks until he tried to force gays on the military.

It was all downhill for Dems from there with a Republican Congress elected at the first mid-term that forced him to balance the budget.

If Obama is elected, it should be fun!

October 27, 2008 9:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you'll find Americans agree with John McCain and Sarah Palin on most issues


Ummmmm, no, YOU find it. Some data, perhaps, or a poll? For someone who likes to fixate on 1 point movement in the polls, the above is particularly lame.

Moreover, your silly comment leads to yet another question. If Americans agree so much with John McCain and Sarah Palin, (1) how come they aren't getting more votes, and (2) why do Americans think so little of Sarah Palin?

And no, you can't use the "the media hates us" line, either. Data and facts, please, not feverish delusions.


October 27, 2008 10:52 PM  
Blogger Zoe Brain said...

Anonymous of Oct 27 2008 8:35 PM - please don't remain anonymous.

Seriously, that was a great comment, or at least, one I agreed with.

Could you at least sign your comment with a monicker, so I can engage in a dialogue with you? Thanks.

October 28, 2008 2:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zoe, none of that post was my words. I put it in quote marks because I found it on another blog. I think the name was "The Beast". Anyway, I think you can find a link to it on the site. They select a lot of interesting entries from blogs, from many points of view, and link to them.

I agree it was a good post though.

October 28, 2008 8:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh, snap

first poll of the day out

Obama lead drops to 4 nationally, Zogby

October 28, 2008 8:06 AM  
Anonymous svelte_brunette said...

From Zogby’s site, a bit of info about their methodology:

“Survey Methodology [Reuters/CSPAN Zogby National Tracking Likely Voters] 10/24/08 thru 10/27/08

Zogby International was commissioned by [Reuters and C-Span] to conduct a telephone survey of [likely voters].

The sample is [1202 likely voters] interviews with approximately [25] questions asked. Samples are randomly drawn from telephone cd’s of national listed sample. Zogby International surveys employ sampling strategies in which selection probabilities are proportional to population size within area codes and exchanges. Up to six calls are made to reach a sampled phone number. Cooperation rates are calculated using one of AAPOR’s approved methodologies[1] and are comparable to other professional public-opinion surveys conducted using similar sampling strategies.[2] Weighting by [region, party, age, race, religion, gender] is used to adjust for non-response. The margin of error is +/- 2.9 percentage points. Margins of error are higher in sub-groups.”

As one can see, there is nothing here indicating a weighting of phone calls or results to account for our Electoral College system, or even polling on a state by state basis. For those unfamiliar with the Electoral College system, one should check out:

If McCain and Obama were going “head to head” in an election based on the popular vote, the national ratings given by Zogby and others would be interesting and perhaps even useful. But that’s not how our next president is elected, so this one oft-quoted number is of little value.

Zogby has an Electoral College map on their site, but the refrain from giving a summary of the results. One has to wonder why.

After all, even Karl Rove does so on his slow-to-be-updated map:

As well as Real Clear politics:

Have a nice day,


October 28, 2008 8:41 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

they believe in less government regulation and income creation rather than redistribution.

We haven't suddenly become a socialist country.

When you get it wrong, you get it wrong completely. Virtually every American thinks something should be done to repair the economic crisis "less government regulation" has caused.

And most Americans are sick of eight years of Bush's wealth redistribution, which has flowed one way -- straight to the top 5% of wage earners.

The rest of us, the other 95% of taxpaying American citizens are ready to have the imbalances of the Bush wealth redistribution to the wealthy evened out. The next round of tax cuts when President Obama takes office will not be for the top 5%; they will be for the 95% who have been redistributing their meager earnings to the very richest among us since Bush got elected by a vote of 5 to 4.

The gap between rich and poor is getting bigger in the world's richest countries -- and particularly the United States -- as top earners' incomes soar while others' stagnate, according to a 30-nation report released Tuesday.

In a 20-year study of its member countries, the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said wealthy households are not only widening the gap with the poor, but in countries such as the U.S., Canada and Germany they are also leaving middle-income earners further behind, with potentially ominous consequences if the global financial crisis sparks a long recession.

Inequality threatens the "American Dream" of social mobility -- children doing better than their parents, the poor improving their lot through hard work -- which is lower in the U.S. than countries such as Denmark, Sweden and Australia, the report found.

The two decades covered in the study -- 1985-2005 -- saw the development of global trade and the Internet, and a period of overall strong economic growth. The countries covered are mostly developed nations, especially in Europe.

The United States has the highest inequality and poverty in the OECD after Mexico and Turkey, and the gap has increased rapidly since 2000

Even McCain knew that making the income gap between rich and poor grow was dangerous, that is until he let Bush's campaigners take over and his former maverick self became McBush.

McCain in 2000 "I am deeply concerned about a kind of class warfare that is going on right now-- it's unfortunate--there's a growing gap between the haves and have-nots in America, and that gap is growing and it is unfortunately divided up along ethnic lines.".

McSame in 2008 I think you could argue that Americans overall are better off, because we have had a pretty good prosperous time, with low unemployment and low inflation and a lot of good things have happened. A lot of jobs have been created.

But let's have some straight talk. Things are tough right now. Americans are uncertain about this housing crisis. Americans are uncertain about the economy, as we see the stock market bounce up and down, but more importantly, the economy particularly in some parts of the country, state of Michigan, Governor Romney and I campaigned, not to my success, I might add, and other parts of the country are probably better off.

But I think what we're trying to do to fix this economy is important. We've got to address the housing, subprime housing problem. We need to, obviously, have this package go through the Congress as quickly as possible.

We need to make the Bush tax cuts permanent, which I voted for twice to do so....

I think we are better off overall if you look at the entire eight-year period, when you look at the millions of jobs that have been created, the improvement in the economy, et cetera.

McCain thinks we're better off in 2008? Well in his income bracket, I guess so.

But the 95% of us who are not better off, who are struggling to keep our homes, struggling to send our kids to colleges, and and struggling to pay for our prescriptions can do better and we will do better. Americans are ready to elect Obama, the change we need.

October 28, 2008 9:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like you've been playing Twister with Joe Biden, CBTS. The English language, despite the grandest attempts of our slipperiest Senator, will survive however.

Bush hasn't redistributed any income to the rich. He has acquiesced to a limited restribution of wealth to the lower class but Barack Obama proposed to vastly expand this.

Over a third of Americans currently pay no income tax. When Obama says he's going to "cut" their tax, he means he will be sending them money and they will apply for it on an income tax form. He does this by way of "refundable credits". These are "credits" to your tax that you receive even if you don't pay tax. To call these "tax cuts" is simply Orwellianism from our first truly creepy socialist candidate for President. You could do the same with any welfare payment.

And they'll be paid for by raising tax on the segment of society that already funds most of our budget and creates most of our employment opportunities. Hence, the redistribution.

If he gets away with it, we'll all be poorer.

All 95% of us.

October 28, 2008 9:50 AM  
Anonymous svelte_brunette said...

In the mean time, the Bush-Paulson bailout plan has helped insure the poor brokers on Wall Street still manage to have some good bonuses this year:,8599,1853846,00.html

An excerpt from the Time article:

“Johnson predicts the average managing director at an investment bank, a title typically earned around eight years on the job, will receive a bonus of $625,000. That's down from nearly $1.1 million last year, but it is still 15 times the income of the average American household. Top bankers could receive as much as $1 million. Even a bond trader just out of business school could see his or her bank account enriched by as much as $170,000 this Christmas. "The firms have had an extremely difficult year," says Joan Zimmerman, a Wall Street career coach. "But they can't afford to lose talent either."

While the government rescue limits the salaries of five top executives of each of the participating financial firms, Congress did nothing to restrict Wall Street firms from using taxpayer funds to boost the compensation of rank and file investment bankers. "Some people might argue that these bankers should not be penalized if they weren't personally involved in the risky mortgage-backed securities," says Sarah Anderson, project director of the Global Economy Project at the Institute for Policy Studies, a progressive think tank in Washington. "My response is that average taxpayer wasn't either, but she is being asked to take a hit."

The only argument I can see for the fact that government bailout money going to pay broker bonuses isn’t “wealth distribution” is the fact that these folks were already some of the wealthiest around, so in effect, we are just giving the wealth they lost right back to them.

How come when it comes out of my paycheck it’s “desperately needed to avoid the collapse of the economy,” but when it comes out of THEIR paycheck, it’s socialism? Oh, and isn’t the government taking over a large percentage stake in our banking system socialism too?

Have a nice day,

Taxpayer Cyn

October 28, 2008 10:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should vote for John McCain, Cyn.

He wants to take 300 billion of that 750 billion and use it to buy the mortgages of individuals in trouble and renegotiate them to more reasonable terms instead of giving it to failed financial firms like Bush and Obama favor.

The difference between Bush and Obama is that Obama wants to raise taxes.

The difference between Bush and McCain is that McCain wants to reduce spending.

October 28, 2008 10:53 AM  
Anonymous Maryanne Arnow said...

How about staying on topic instead of letting Anon-bigot-troll deciding for all of us what to focus on.

Here is something very important and directly related to the topic at hand.

Transgender Day of Remembrance

Event Posting for Maryland = please pass this along to as many as possible:

An event sponsored by:
Baltimore Community Relations Commission
Brother Help Thyself
Connect to Protect: Baltimore
Equality Maryland
Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Baltimore
Hearts and Ears, Inc.
Interfaith Fairness Coalition of Maryland
Maryland AIDS Administration
New Wave Singers
Positive Voices
Project Health, University of Maryland, Baltimore
Towson Center for Student Diversity


Thursday, November 20, 2008
6:00 - 9:00
War Memorial Building
101 North Gay Street (corner of Gay and Fayette)
Baltimore, MD 21202


The Transgender Day of Remembrance was set aside to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. The event is held in November to honor Rita Hester, whose murder on November 28th, 1998 kicked off the “Remembering Our Dead” web project and a San Francisco candlelight vigil in 1999. Rita Hester’s murder — like most anti-transgender murder cases — has yet to be solved.

Even as we see an increase of coverage on the lives of transgender and other gender-variant people in television and film, these crimes still occur at an alarming rate. Join us in remembering members of the Maryland community who have been killed because of their actual or perceived gender identity or expression. Honor their lives by joining a discussion on how to counteract these acts of hate and violence.

October 28, 2008 11:08 AM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Thank you, Maryanne. The post is about science, the kind of science that can only silence the trolls such as Wyatt for whom our lives are simply about his fear and ignorance.

But instead of learning something, so that he can become a bit of a mensch, he ignores the hard evidence and reverts to misinterpreting polls.

Give it up. One week and the polls will be meaningless. Then we will have to get on and fix things in this country. I don't expect Wyatt, Michelle, Ruth, Theresa and company to pitch in, but stranger things have happened.

October 28, 2008 11:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pew says Obama leads McCain by 16.

But hey, the race is "tightening."

Have a nice day.


October 28, 2008 12:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrea- not anon
Thanks, Maryanne for bringing us back on topic. Is there a similar ceremony in DC?

October 28, 2008 12:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Pew says Obama leads McCain by 16.

But hey, the race is "tightening."

Have a nice day."


That's funny because the trusty and reliable Gallup traditional poll just came out minutes ago and says Obama's lead has declined to 2points with a 2 point margin of error. That's essentially a tied race.

If you'll check your facts, you'll find Pew's sampling goes back to the last week and this race is rapidly moving McCain's way as America wises up to the socialist proposals of Barack Obama.

McCain has a history of coming from behind at the last minute.

This is the big one.

Regardless of what Obama and his minions believe, America is not the problem. America is the solution.

October 28, 2008 1:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good luck pulling ahead of these numbers:

Electoral College

Obama/Biden 306 255 Solid and 51 Leaning
McCain/Palin 157 127 Solid and 30 Leaning
Toss Up 75

Ohio, Obama +6.0
Florida, Obama +2.7
Pennsylvania, Obama +10.5
Virginia, Obama +7.3
North Carolina, Obama +1.5
Colorado, Obama +6.8
Nevada, Obama +4.8
Minnesota, Obama +11.3
New Hampshire, Obama +8.4

October 28, 2008 4:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The numbers you quote are averages from The averages encompassing a period of time rather than a moment. This is not accurate because the race is closing. McCain has gained ground in every major national poll in the last two days. Your quoted polls average the last two weeks.

That's stinking thinkin'!

You have Obama leading in Florida, for example, when the most recent poll, that from Zogby, has Florida tied.

Moreover, McCain only needs 5 of the 9 states you mention to win. Personally, I think his biggest challenge right now is Virginia. Sarah was there yesterday. We'll see if it works.

"If your toilet is stopped up by something really big and smells really bad, you'll probably need a plumber. Joe the Plumber, as it turns out, diagnosed the trouble, and yesterday we learned what it was. It smells really bad.

The tape recording of an interview that Barack Obama gave to Radio Station WBEZ in Chicago in 2001 surfaced, and in that interview Mr. Obama, then a law professor and a state senator, lays out how he would redistribute the wealth. He sounds like a man with a plan.

The interview explains a lot, beginning with the attempt, abetted by a mainstream media that no longer tries to hide its slavish obeisance to the Democratic campaign, to destroy Joe the Plumber and shut down discussion of the implications of what the candidate said.

Mr. Obama doesn't think much of the Constitution, or even of the Supreme Court justices who have rewritten it over the years to accommodate notions of "social justice." The Warren Court, which wrote finis to public-school segregation with its unanimous Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954, has been decried since as radical, but it wasn't radical enough. Earl Warren only pretended to be a soldier of the revolution.

One of the "tragedies of the civil-rights movement," Mr. Obama says, is that the Supreme Court did not address redistribution of wealth, probably because of the inherent difficulty of achieving such goals through the courts. The Supreme Court did not break from the restraints of the Constitution and "we still suffer from that." Mr. Obama is not "optimistic" that the Supreme Court can achieve redistribution of wealth - of taking from the workers to give to the deadbeats - but he obviously thinks he knows how to do it. A president with a compliant Congress, which he expects to be in January, can do it through legislation and "administration."

The Barack Obama of this interview clearly does not think much of what the Founding Fathers bequeathed to us: "The Constitution reflected the enormous blind spot in this culture that carries on to this day. The framers had that same blind spot ... the fundamental flaw of this country."

Mr. Obama is a gifted politician, with the smarts to understand that this could be the "game-changer" that leaves his campaign, almost picture-perfect until now, in ruins. He understands that he has to fly under the radar for now. That's why his campaign apparatus moves swiftly to dismiss questions about the Obama paper trail, such as it is, and to crush anyone bold and foolish enough to inquire into the real Barack Obama.

Joe the Plumber learned the hard way what happens to such questioners, and when a television reporter in Florida asked Joe Biden whether his running mate is a Marxist economist, good old Joe, usually eager to talk about everything, acted as if the interviewer had accused him of serial killing or child molesting. Some things just aren't to be talked about, not now. Not Barack Obama's radical notions about redistributing the wealth - which is, after all, the essence of Marxism. Not about how he intends to replace fundamental American values with values that most Americans, if they knew about them, would regard as alien and hostile.

If John McCain wants to change the game over the next seven days, he'll have to break through the media screen to spell out, clearly, often and in detail, the implications of what Barack Obama actually means when he talks about how to redistribute the wealth. To redistribute wealth, you first have to confiscate it from those who earned it with hard work, and the way to do that is with confiscatory taxes. Then you give it to those who didn't earn it. Such explanations, made with cool detachment, once would have been the work of the newspapers and even the television networks. But not this year. Mr. McCain can expect real grief from the media when the polls tighten.

There's nothing ambiguous about Mr. Obama's radical views, as revealed in this interview. He clearly thinks the Constitution was a "tragedy," that the men who wrote it were not the revolutionary heroes plain Americans regard them to be, and their work must be corrected by the surviving radicals of the '60s and their progeny. Anyone who listens to this interview, available on, understands why Michelle Obama was never proud of her country until she thought the opportunity was at hand to destroy the country to save it, and why Barack Obama could spend 20 years comfortably listening to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright exhort God to damn America."

October 28, 2008 4:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"On Friday, I noted that the differences among the national polls is large enough to suspect that something other than random variation is causing the disagreements.

I'd like to expand on this point by examining today's Pew poll, which pegs McCain's share of the vote at 38%, with a margin of error of 3.5%. That means that Pew predicts with 95% confidence that McCain's true share of the vote is somewhere between 34.5% and 41.5%.

While we don't know McCain's true share of the vote, we do have an estimate of it - the RCP average. Right now, it puts McCain at 43.6%. This figure is far outside Pew's 95% confidence range. So, if we use the RCP average as our estimate of McCain's true share of the vote, we would conclude that Pew is an outlier.

The question then becomes whether it is outlying due to random variation, or some non-random cause. We can never know for sure, but we can make a few points.

First, the level of disagreement between the Pew poll and the RCP average is great. Indeed, if we assume that the Pew poll has an accurate read on the electorate, the chance that McCain's true share of the vote is 43.6% is less than 0.5%. Given the number of polls that cycle in and out of the RCP average, we should expect at least a few outliers. However, it would be pretty rare to find one that disagrees with the RCP average by such a large amount.

Second, the previous Pew poll, which had McCain at 39% of the vote, was also an outlier when compared against the RCP average. So, Pew has twice in a row pegged McCain's number at significantly less than the RCP average. It is very unlikely to see this kind of result if random variation is the only cause.

Does this mean that Pew is wrong? No. We could only conclude that Pew is wrong if we know McCain's true share of the vote right now. We don't know that. Instead, what we can conclude is that the difference between Pew and the RCP average is likely produced by something other than random variation.

Pew is not the only poll behaving in this fashion. Today, the Gallup traditional model pegs McCain's number significantly higher than the RCP average. It has done this several times over the last three weeks - and every day since it began it has shown McCain doing better than the RCP average. It is unlikely that random variation would produce these effects. Today's Rasmussen poll shows McCain significantly higher than the RCP average, and it has consistently been higher than the RCP average for the last three weeks. IBD/TIPP frequently pegs Obama's number significantly lower than the RCP average, and it has shown him lower than the RCP average every day since it began. The GWU/Battleground poll has shown McCain consistently higher than the RCP average for 10 of the last 10 release dates, frequently at significant levels.

None of this is consistent with what we would expect from random statistical variation. These considerations reinforce the point I made on Friday. In all likelihood, something else is going on here. The pollsters have different "visions" of what the electorate is, and these visions are inducing such divergent results.

This is why I would urge caution when interpreting all this polling data. We're talking about disagreements among good pollsters. I take all of these firms seriously whenever they produce new numbers. They are disagreeing with one another in ways that can't be chalked up to statistical "noise." That gives me great pause."

October 28, 2008 9:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First of all, anonymous, that is, if i am not incorrect, amongst likely voters. which means we are talking about one category that does not give the entire picture.

Secondly, back on topic.

October 28, 2008 9:57 PM  

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