1130: Poll Watching

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Revision as of 15:54, 5 November 2012 by TheHYPO (talk | contribs) (Transcript)
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Poll Watching
The choices we make Tuesday could have MASSIVE and PERMANENT effects on the charts on Nate Silver's blog!
Title text: The choices we make Tuesday could have MASSIVE and PERMANENT effects on the charts on Nate Silver's blog!


This comic is another commentary on the 2012 U.S. presidential election (as 1122: Electoral Precedent and, to an extent, 1127: Congress also were references to), as it was posted the day before the election.

In the comic, Cueball is glued to his laptop reading media coverage of the election. The offscreen character's comic that Cueball should take a break suggests that Cueball has been reading media coverage for quite a while.

Cueball is so caught up in media coverage, that he is speculating on the effect that incumbant President Obama winning the election (and the resulting news coverage) could have on challenger Mitt Romney's campaign. The joke is that the end-goal of Romney's campaign is to win the election. If Obama wins, the campaigning is already over, regardless of media coverage. Cueball is simply so invested that he is over-analyzing potential scenarios.

In respect to the title text, Nate Silver is an American statistician, psephologist, and writer (among other things not-relevant to this comic). He has a political blog called FiveThirtyEight which was originally written under a pseudonym. The Blog and its associated website primarily discuss tracking polls in respect of elections. Thus, the choices made on Tuesday (election day) presumably will have massive and permanent effects on FiveThirtyEight's charts, which will obviously change to reflect the actual votes cast. This is a parody of the bold statements often made during campaigns, such as that the choices made on election day could have massive and permanent effects on such things as your health care, the economy, your job, etc.


[Cueball kneels on his desk chair, hunched over a laptop]
Cueball: This Tuesday will be huge!
Cueball: If Obama wins the election, it could generate news coverage devistating to Romney's position in the tracking polls!
Offscreen character: ... Maybe you should take a break.

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The "failing to see big picture" probably parodies someone too. -- Hkmaly (talk) 08:49, 7 November 2012 (UTC)

Hope I'm doing this right - anyway, maybe I'm misreading this entry, but I think the whole point of this comic is that he has his cause and effect priorities completely reversed - he's more concerned about how the outcome of the election will affect the tracking polls and that entire process rather than, as with most people, merely using tracking polls to predict the election results. -- Greg

You're quite right, and I'll add a paragraph to that effect. - jerodast (talk) 15:35, 3 December 2012 (UTC)

Ironically, in 2016, the Tuesday results did not actually affect the FiveThirtyEight forecast - it still shows up as 71.4% Clinton today. -- 08:46, 11 November 2016 (UTC)