Monday, June 08, 2009


The big IVR test: VA Gov

Depending on whom you ask, Creigh Deeds is either surging to victory or all three candidates are lock in a tight three way primary. The traditional media such as the Washington Post are claiming that tomorrow's primary is all about "turnout". Those in the blogosphere or even the newer but still somewhat traditional Politico says that Deeds is a near shoo-in. Why the disagreement? 

Interactive Voice Response (IRV) polls done over the weekend show Deeds up by 10+ points and in the 40's. These surveys produced by Public Polling Policy and Survey USA are not viewed as reputable by mainstream outfits due to the fact that humans are not conducting the interviews and voters respond using a touchtone key pad. IRV polling causes according to some lower interview response rate, the ability for anyone to claim that they are a voter (even a dog), etc. Mainstream press make their views well known. Even Politico's Andy Barr seemed apprehensive writing the story he did (note the word "suggest" in the title).  

The benefits of IRV polling is that it is cheap and can be conducted easily over a short time span. Ergo, pollsters can poll the weekend just before the primary. They can pick up on potential trends that more traditional pollsters who use live interviewers and stopped polling before the weekend cannot. Thus, those who use this polling are seeing a potential explosion in support for Deeds. 

The traditional media who uses only traditional polls are left with data that shows Deeds in the lead, but in a very tightly fought three way race. In other words, a race in which turnout would make the difference. 

I'd put my bet on the IVR polls to be accurate as they were during the 2008 campaign. I'd be floored if tomorrow's primary is close. 

If the IVR polls are right, can the mainstream media finally stop ignoring them? If they are wrong, maybe I'll just keep quiet for a little bit. 

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