Wednesday, June 25, 2008

 

Not everyday do I agree with a Republican Polling firm... but they are spot on here

If you pay attention to the news, you may have seen two national polls that have come out in the past week showing the glorious Senator from Illinois building a 15+ point lead over the illustrious Senator from Arizona.

I find both polls to be complete and utter hogwash. The race is closer to around five points (or tied if you believe the Gallup tracking poll).

The fact of the matter is Newsweek polls are among some of the worst put out by national news organizations (Washington Post/ABC News and the NBC News polls are usually the best). And in this particular case, the LA Times also sucks the noggin.

I remember in 2004 George W. Bush was the benefactor of poor polling done by the Gallup organization showing him up by double digits when Rasmussen tracking (which I think is among the best). Frank Newport of Gallup had to defend the company against bias... http://www.usatoday.com/news/politicselections/nation/president/2004-09-28-gallup-defense_x.htm

This year, the Gallup tracking polling has been pretty right on... its results have matched closely those of Rasmussen...

But the Newsweek and LA Times poll have picked up the mantle....

Read here:
http://marcambinder.theatlantic.com/archives/2008/06/mccain_campaign_pushes_back_on_1.php

A preview:

"The first major concern is that leaves 12% of the survey’s sample unaccounted for. Having double digits don’t know or refused on party ID is a quite unusual finding. Furthermore, since the LA Times does not release other demographics like age and ethnicity, it becomes very difficult for an independent observer to verify whether a survey is methodologically flawed or simply an outlier in public opinion trends."

Now, you may ask why this is important?

"The key for the campaign is to make sure that when the media is reporting on survey results, that they look beyond the horse race but also look at the survey’s methodology and demographics. We are now seeing polls, like the L.A. Times and Newsweek surveys, which are getting heavy coverage in the press, even though they clearly showed unusual results on party identification, as well as other demographics like age, in the case of the Newsweek survey."

If people get an idea that the race is a blowout, a bandwagon effect begins to occur. That is people start voicing their support for who they think the winner will be. Nobody likes to vote for a loser.

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