Political Link List: October 16, 2012

New York Times: Debate Fever on Campus Helps Lift Hofstra’s Image (by Vivian Lee)
Key passage: “Many colleges look to football or basketball to raise their profile. Hofstra eliminated its football team in 2009. Each presidential debate has cost Hofstra about $4.5 million, the same amount the university was spending on its football team annually. And while the team turned in lackluster seasons, drew few fans and delivered no revenue, the university calculated that the exposure from the 2008 debate was worth $30 million in advertising. Like Centre College, where applications spiked 20 percent the year after its 2008 debate, Hofstra also saw a rise in applications, to 20,829 in 2009 from 18,741 in 2007. Average SAT scores of freshmen applicants have risen since 2008, Hofstra says.”

New York Magazine: ‘‘The. Polls. Have. Stopped. Making. Any. Sense.’’ (by Jason Zengerle)
Key passage: “And yet, while conservatives’ poll denialism is patently wacky, it’s not as irrational as, say, their climate-change denialism. That’s because, unlike climate science, the science of polling has increasingly, and undeniably, come to be based on a good deal of guesswork. For years, the scientific part of polling science has been based on what’s known as the “random-probability sample.” Pollsters have labored to make sure that every member of the population has an equal chance of being selected, so that a sample of 1,000 people will be representative of the 300 million. “We were all taught this notion that a scientific survey is one where everyone has an equal or known probability of selection,” says Mark Blumenthal, a former Democratic pollster who’s now the Huffington Post’s lead polling analyst. That wasn’t that difficult when more than 90 percent of American households had home telephones and anywhere from a third to a half of those households were willing to answer a pollster’s call.”

Washington Post: Wisconsin, the land of persuadable voters (by Joel Achenbach)
Key passage: “Voters here tend to be relatively reserved in their political discourse by modern standards, with “flubbed” being a typical f-word. Some won’t talk politics at all. Ask their opinion and they shake their heads as though a response would be unseemly.
This is shaping up to be another close presidential election that will be decided in part by the mysterious calculations of swing voters in places such as Wisconsin. These voters are what strategists refer to as the “persuadables.” About 10 percent to 15 percent of Badger State voters have no strong allegiance to the major political parties and are truly up for grabs, said Charles Franklin, director of the Marquette University Law School Poll.
The Wisconsin persuadables, on average, “are younger, less ideological, less partisan, pay less attention to politics,” he said.”