A new Washington Post statewide survey of 1,144 adults/993 registered voters (story, results) in Virginia (conducted 10/4 through 10/8) finds:
Former Democratic Gov. Mark Warner leads both former GOP Gov. Jim Gilmore (61% to 31%) and GOP Rep. Tom Davis (63% to 28%) in statewide general election match-ups for U.S. Senate.
Among 504 Democrats and those who lean Democratic, Sen. hillary Clinton leads Sen. Barack Obama (45% to 27%) in a statewide primary; former Sen. John Edwards trails at 11%.
Among 508 Republicans and those who lean Republican, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani (at 47%) leads Sen. John McCain (16%) and former Sen. Fred Thompson (15%) in a statewide primary; former Gov. Mitt ROmney trails at 5%.
All other candidates trail with less than five percent each.
Mellman - in a must read that deserves more discussion than I've had time
to give- tells us that the Democratic presidential nomination "ain't over yet,"
and that the Iowa caucuses "stand as a potential choke point on [Sen.
Clinton's] march to the nomination."
The LA Times'Hook
and Barabak report on how "Clinton
built her lead," with quotes from various pollsters including unaligned
Democrat Geoff Garin arguing that "the thing is not a done deal."
Hill sees American public opinion "stuck in a rut," particularly on the
issues that Americans rate as most important.
Frankovic reminds us of the limits of exit polls: good at "helping us
understand what an election means," not so good at assessing "whether or not
vote fraud has taken place."
Scala has been checking the log books at New Hampshire television station WMUR and
reporting on the ad buys of Republican candidates (via Jon
**"Leftovers," because I'm feeling guilty about borrowing
"Remainders" from the Politico bloggers, and "priceless"
because, once again, you can take the boy out of Cleveland...
As just about everyone knows by now, former Vice President
Al Gore was named
the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize earlier today. Inevitably, political
observers have started to speculate about the impact of this event, including
those with access to polling data. Here are two examples, plus some thoughts of
ABC's Gary Langer looks
at poll questions on global warming that "show levels of alarm below Gore's
own." Langer is dubious that Gore's award will move public opinion:
What ultimately could move public
opinion on the issue may not be so much whether scientists are seen to agree
about it, or whether Gore's group itself can change public attitudes, but
personal experience. Forty-one percent of Americans in our poll last spring
said average temperatures in their area seem to have been going up lately;
more, 54 percent, said overall weather patterns where they live have been "more
unstable." To the extent that these experiences evolve, public attitudes well
Meanwhile, Gallup Guru Frank Newport sees
no "pent-up demand" in Gallup's
data for a Gore presidential candidacy:
As I have pointed
out, we simply don't find - at this point - any strong indication that
Democratic voters are waiting desperately for Gore to enter the race. Hillary
Clinton has an 84% favorable, 11% unfavorable rating among Democrats. Gore? He
does less well, pulling in 73% favorable, 20% unfavorable ratings from his
Plus, when we included Gore in our list of
potential nominees in this past weekend's poll, only 10% of Democrats said he
was their first choice for their party's nomination. Hillary was the first
choice of 43%.
So we just don't see in the data any evidence that
Gore would transform the race overnight should he jump in.
An analysis by Gallup's Jeff Jones
presents the same data in more detail.
data is consistent with other national surveys showing Gore's support at about
10% in trial heat questions (our own estimates show
Gore at 10.8%). That number probably reflects that many potential Gore
supporters are taking him at his word, accepting that he will not be a
candidate and opting for others on poll questions.
Back in August, however, when the Michigan polling firm EPIC/MRA asked the vote
questions a little differently, they showed much more potential for Gore. They
first asked about the declared candidates and then played "what-if" and
presented an "expanded list" that included Gore. Where Clinton led the declared field with 45% of
the vote, she trailed Gore narrowly (36% to 32%) once the former Vice
President's name was included among the candidates. As I wrote
back in August, EPIC/MRA's question order said to respondents, in essence
(though not in so many words), "imagine that Al Gore decides to run."
The results - in a state presumed to be less enthusiastic about Gore's calls to
reduce greenhouse emissions -- were very different that what the national polls
have been showing.
All of this is interesting, but probably irrelevant. In a
recent and widely quoted interview with 02138 magazine
published last month, he seems to come as close as ever to ruling out a White
A recent poll shows that
if you entered the presidential race, you would handily win the New Hampshire primary**.
Isn't that tempting?
Sure. But I am old enough and have been a candidate
enough times to have a very high level of resistance to temptations of that
sort. I trust my instincts, and it doesn't feel like it's the right thing for
But if you believe
global warming is such a crisis, wouldn't you be more effective within the
White House than outside it?
I'm under no illusion that there's any position in
the world as influential as that of president. But it doesn't feel like the
right thing for me to be a candidate at this point...
Will you endorse a
candidate in the primary?
Odds are that I will.
I haven't made that decision yet.
Do you feel some
obligation to endorse the wife of your
Uh ... no. I have friendships with her and with the
and they're all on equal footing at this point as far as I'm concerned.
What we probably should be considering is what poll data have to say about
the potential power of Gore's endorsement
to reshape the race. For those interested in speculation about Gore's
endorsement having nothing to do with survey data, see Marc
Ambinder, Ben Smith
Cillizza. Readers, any thoughts?
**I have no idea what "New
Hampshire poll" they were referring to.
Oops: As James points out with his comment, the New
Hampshire poll in question was conducted by Suffolk University back in June. What's
truly embarrassing is not just that I could have discovered it with a quick search
of the Web, but that I wrote about it back
in June (Gore did better there for essentially the same reason as in the Michigan survey).
Needless to way, Friday's post was a bit rushed. MysteryPollster
needs a vacation. Sorry about that.
A new Greg Smith & Associates statewide survey (Craig release; Primary release) of 300 adults in Idaho (conducted 10/8 through 10/9) finds 51% opposing Sen. Larry Craig's decision to stay in the U.S. Senate while 21% favor it.
A new FOX News/Opinion Dynamics national survey (story, results) of 900 registered voters (conducted 10/9 through 10/10) finds:
35% approve of the job George W. Bush is doing as president; 56% disapprove.
Among 337 registered Democrats, Sen. Hillary Clinton leads Sen. Barack Obama (50% to 18%) in a national primary; former Sen. John Edwards trails at 11%. With former V.P. Al Gore included, Clinton leads Obama (44% to 17%) with Gore at 10% Edwards at 9%.
Among 316 registered Republicans, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani leads former Sen. Fred Thompson (29% to 16%) in national primary; former Sen. John McCain trails at 12%, former Gov. Mitt Romney at 11%, and former Gov. Mike Huckabee at 5%.
All other candidates receive less than five percent each.
An attentive reader noticed my reference
yesterday to David Yepsen's report
that "only 2 percent of likely Democratic caucusgoers" surveyed in the recent Des Moines Registerpoll
"are under age 25." My reader asked simply, "is 2% under 25 a problem?" Put
another way, my reader is asking, what is the expected age composition of
"likely caucus goers" and how does this poll compare? Unfortunately, for
reasons I'll explain below, that is a tough question to answer, although the 2%
estimate does appear low in comparison to 2004.
Let's set aside for a moment the nearly impossible task of
guessing the demographics of the voters that will turn out this coming January.
Consider instead what ought to be a much easier question: What were the
demographics of the Democratic caucus goers in 2004? Even that question, it turns
out, leads to series of riddles.
The table below shows the age composition of the Democratic
caucus participants measured in two ways. On the left, courtesy of the Iowa
Democratic Party, we have the age composition of the actual participants, based
on matching those who signed in at their local precincts to the list of
registered voters provided by the Iowa Secretary of State (which includes the
age of each voter). On the right is the age distribution of voters surveyed in
the network "entrance poll."
The caucus goers interviewed in the entrance poll are
significantly younger than those on the list of past caucus goers. But wait! The
reported ages are (roughly) four years apart. The entrance poll shows the age
of the respondent on Caucus day 2004, but the data from the voter list reflects
the ages of 2004 participants as of today.
In other words, those who were 17 to 24 years old in 2004 are now mostly age
21-25. So the 17-24 category in the age breakout on the left is missing at
least half of those who were 17-24 four years ago (I don't have access to the
file, and so cannot attempt to recalculate ages to reflect their age as of
However, the four year shift in age does not appear to
explain everything, and the roughly ten percentage point difference carries
though to the over 50 category.
In thinking about the differences between these two age
estimates, we should probably consider some of the potential shortcomings of
both data sources.
Let's start with the entrance
poll, conducted by the National
Election Pool. In many ways, their procedures for the Iowa caucuses are similar to those used for
election exit polls. They start with a random sample of precincts (50 in this
case) and send interviewers out to each location with paper questionnaires to
be filled out by randomly selected voters.
In Iowa, however, the
unique nature of the Iowa
caucuses require different procedures. Since the caucuses are meetings that
begin at 6:30 p.m., all voters arrive shortly before that hour rather than
streaming in throughout the day. The pollsters send two interviewers to each
caucus location with the task of gathering as many completed interviews as
possible as the participants arrive. We call it an entrance poll since they interview
voters on their way in.
Given the time crunch, they do not attempt to record the observed
gender, race and approximate age of those who refuse to be interviewed. They
also have no official headcount to compare to the precinct level result
(results are based on estimated state delegates chosen and reflect two rounds
of voting where the supporters of those with less than fifteen percent of the
vote are forced to "realign"
with a different candidate). So the pollsters cannot use their standard
procedures to attempt to "correct" either the demographics at the precinct
level (against their observations of all randomly selected voters) or the vote
preferences of sampled voters (at sampled precincts or in the state as a
Moreover, many of us learned in the aftermath of the 2004
exit pool controversies about a potential source of error that might introduce
error into their age estimates. In 2004, at least, exit pollsters depended
mostly on younger interviewers that had a much
harder time completing interviews than their older colleagues. So the
potential for a skew to younger respondents is real, especially without any
record of the approximate age of voters that refuse to participate in the
We should also consider that the adults streaming into each
caucus location included some out of state organizers (most famously the
thousands of young Howard Dean Perfect
Storm volunteers) and others who could not participate in the caucus vote
but may have been willing to fill out an exit poll questionnaire when
Now consider the actual
vote history data. The Iowa
Democratic Party reports that 124,000 Iowans participated in the 2004
Democatic caucus, but at least three campaigns have confirmed for me that on
the vaunted Voter Activation Network (VAN) list maintained by the Party, only
about 95,000 voters are identified as 2004 caucus participants. What happened
to the roughly one participant in four that seems to be missing?
I put that question to Carrie Giddins, the communications
director for the Iowa Democratic Party. Here is her response:
1. There were some caucus goers
from 2004 who did not sign in. In 2004, we had one of the largest caucuses in
history and the sheer volume of people was more than some precincts had
experience dealing with. Because of this, there were caucus goers who did not
get fully signed in before they caucused and therefore we did not have enough
information to identify them after the fact.
2. The New Democratic Caucus
Attendee forms required individuals to write down information about themselves
so that we could identify those caucus goers after the caucuses were over. Not
all of that information was completed in its entirety and some of the completed
forms were simply illegible. This left us no way to identify those caucus goers
in our records.
3. Some caucus goers may not
have been entered into our records due to data entry errors.
4. The VAN is a dynamic environment.
It is not intended to show historically what the attendance was at the 2004
Caucus. Therefore, anyone who has been removed from the SOS rolls, including
people who are deceased or who have moved, is no longer included in the VAN. At
this time, if we turn off the suppressions that we have internally in the VAN
the number of caucus goers goes up by about 7,000 people, so the number of 2004
caucus goers whose status may have changed in 4 years to the extent that they
have been removed from the SOS is likely not an insignificant amount of this
Chris Sullentrop's 2004 dispatch
for Slate confirms that in one Des Moines precinct, there
were "so many" new and first-time caucus participants "that the organizers ran
out of forms to register them."
I should add here that least one 2008 campaign tells me they consider the reported 124,000 turnout too optimistic. They believe the real total was closer to 105,000.
But either way, we can easily hypothesize a number of
reasons why the past caucus goers identified on the VAN list may be older than
those who actually participated. Based on the accounts above, it appears as if
the voters that never signed in were more likely to be first time caucus goers
(who tend to be younger). Other missing voters may have registered elsewhere
since (and more mobile voters tend to be younger). On the other hand, those
2004 participants purged because they are no longer living probably skewed
So what is the precise age composition in 2004? We have a
general sense, but precise percentages are unknowable. What is the "right"
percentage of 17-24 year olds? Your guess is as good as mine, although it was
probably somewhere in the range of 6% to 14%. As such, the 2% on the Register
poll does look a bit low by comparison.
But even if we knew the precise age composition for the 2004
caucuses, we would have only a general sense of the potential demographic
composition this time around. Only 60,000 Iowa Democrats participated in the 2000 caucuses, so using
their demographics as a model would have been misleading four years later.
We also know that several campaigns are spending heavily to identify
and motivate potential supporters among the hundreds of thousands of registered
voters (and potential registrants) that have not participated before. Those
they persuade to caucus will not make up their minds about participating until
the final weeks of the campaign. Thus, when it comes to younger Iowa voters, as
reader "FlyOnTheWall" put
it earlier today, "we don't have the first f---ng clue what voters younger
than 25 are likely to do."
If you remember nothing else about this post, remember this:
Since late July, we have seen 13 different Democratic polls in Iowa taken by eleven
different pollsters. Each pollster does things differently, so we have eleven different conceptions of Iowa's "likely caucus goers."
Take a look at our Iowa chart (above), take into account the up-or-down, overlapping
spread in the results for each candidate, and the only sensible conclusion is
that Iowa is currently a competitive three-way race. The varying conceptions of
the likely electorate create a margin of potential real world error far more
important here than mere sampling error. And of course the results may look
very different in early January.
A new SurveyUSA automated survey of 571 likely voters in Kentucky (conducted 10/8 through 10/9) finds Democrat Steve Beshear leading incumbent Republican Gov. Ernie Fletcher (56% to 40%) in a statewide general election match-up for Governor.
Three new Quinnipiac University statewide surveys of registered voters in Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania (conducted 10/1 through 10/8) find:
Among 345 Republicans in Florida, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani (at 27%) leads former Sen. Fred Thompson (19%), former Gov. Mitt Romney (17%), and Sen. John McCain (8%) in a statewide primary. Among 337 Democrats, Sen. Hillary Clinton leads Sen. Barack Obama (51% to 17%) while former Sen. John Edwards trails at 10%. All other candidates receive less than five percent each.
New results from the recent Gallup national survey of 1,010 adults (conducted 10/4 through 10/7) finds:
Among 488 Democrats and those who lean Democratic, Sen. Hillary Clinton leads Sen. Barack Obama (47% to 26%) in a national primary; former Sen. John Edwards trails at 11% -- "each candidate's support is the same or varies by only 1 percentage point compared with a Sept. 14-16, 2007, poll." All other candidates receive less than five percent each.
NBC's First Read
said it best: No Iowa poll "gets (and deserves) more attention than the Des Moines Register poll by ace Iowa pollster Ann
Selzer." That reputation was earned, in part, from their final 2004 pre-caucus survey,
the only public poll to correctly predict the rank order of the top four
Democratic candidates. Political web sites have been buzzing since Sunday about
release, which to the credit of all involved includes a "methodology
and questions" page that answers many of the questions asked by our Pollster
Disclosure project. Today, Ann Selzer provides us with a few additional
Their methodology page includes the full text of the
substantive questions asked, plus a reasonably complete general description of
how they selected "likely caucus goers." Follow the link for full details, but
the gist is that they started with a random sample of telephone numbers drawn
from "the Iowa
secretary of state's voter registration list." They then interviewed those who
said they would "definitely" or "probably" attend the caucuses on a question
that offered those two choices plus one more ("probably not").
Selzer also informs us via email that their completed interviews
included a small number of voters interviewed on their cell phones. They sent
their original sample to a service that identified the known cell phone numbers
among those provided by the secretary of state. Selzer dialed those numbers
The data released on the Des
Moines Register site did not address two questions we have been asking
pollsters as part of our Disclosure Project. The first involves the percentage
of adults represented by the each sample. In other words, how tight was the
Ann Selzer has provided an answer via email. I will spare
you the wonky math: The Democratic sample represents roughly 12%, and the
Republican sample 10%, of Iowa's
voting age population.
While the Register did
not include data on the demographic composition of their samples on their results
pages, the Register's David
Yepsen (via First Read),
included some of this information in his Sunday column:
Among likely Democratic
caucusgoers, 62 percent are women, and Clinton
carries more of them - 34 percent - than any other candidate...
Only 2 percent of likely Democratic
caucusgoers are under age 25, while 51 percent are over age 55. On top of that,
only 23 percent of the Democrats say this will be their first caucus...
[T]he poll shows 49 percent of the
likely Democratic attendees are from rural and small-town Iowa. Among Republicans, 54 percent say they
live in those places...
Among likely Republican
caucusgoers, 51 percent describe themselves as "born again" or
A majority of GOP caucusgoers - 58 percent - are men, a contrast with the 62
percent female majority among Democrats...
Among Democrats, 76 percent have at
least some college or more and 56 percent of them earn more than $50,000 a
year. Among Republicans, 80 percent have some college or more and 60 percent
earn more than $50,000.
We will have more on returns from the Disclosure Project
later in the week.
Last week, the InsiderAdvantage poll released new surveys of
likely Republican primary voters in five states all conducted in just two
nights, October 2-3, 2007. This feat prompted reader Chantal to ask some
Maybe I'm missing something, but how many phone
calls per minute do you have to make in order to get 1,339 likely Republican
caucus attendees [in Iowa]
over the course of just two nights? What kind of incidence rate are we talking
And this doesn't take into
consideration the fact that InsiderAdvantage was also polling in four other
states these evenings. Who is paying for this? Are these robopolls? Was the
call center in the North Poll?
I forwarded Chantal's question to InsiderAdvantage CEO Matt
Towery, along with a request to provide answers to our Disclosure
Project questions for the Iowa
Regarding the number of calls made, Towery replied on
Saturday that he does not have "the exact number on a weekend, but clearly they
are [in the] thousand[s]." He added, "we have a very high completion rate on
these because we ask only a very few questions."
Towery did not mention that his surveys typically sample
from lists of registered voters and make use of past vote history to help
select "likely voters," so that they need to screen out relatively few
How many interviewers would it require to complete 6,357
interviews with likely Republican primary voters? In the absence of a more
specific answer from Towery, we can guess, but the answer will depend on a
variety of issues involving how the poll was fielded: The exact length of the
interview, how many "unlikely" voters they terminated, how many "call backs"
they made to phone numbers yielding no answer on the first dial, whether they
called during the day or just during early evening hours and whether they used
a "predictive" auto-dialer that waits until a human being answers the phone
before connecting an interviewer (something many pollsters avoid but that can certainly
boost interviewer productivity).
Given the sort of incidence that InsiderAdvantage reported
for their recent Florida
survey and the variables mentioned above, a single interviewer might be able to complete anywhere from 5 to 15
interviews per hour. If we assume the more conservative estimate of 5 an hour, such a survey
could require roughly 1300 interviewer hours. If we assume they dialed
during evening hours only, the project would require somewhere between 100 and
150 interviewers. That's not an implausible number, especially if the
interviews were farmed out to more than one call center. And obviously, any
number of compromises in methodology (daytime interviewing, predictive dialers,
and so on) could enable completion of a project like this with far fewer
As for the question of who is paying for the interviews,
Towery had this reply:
We are, as I noted, owned by a holding company
(Internet News Agency, LLC) which is comprised of investors including the family
owners of one of the nation's largest privately owned newspaper chains, the
largest privately held real estate development fund in the Southeast, as well
as numerous other investors. We employ some of the region's top journalists
such as Tom Baxter, former national editor and chief political correspondent
for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution; Hastings Wyman, founder of the Southern
Political Report in D.C.; Lee Bandy, 40 year political editor for The State
newspaper in South Carolina
and the like. I myself am syndicated by Creators Syndicate, the largest
independent newspaper syndication company in the nation. We also have a
non-political research/consulting divisions with clients primarily composed of
Fortune 500-1000 publicly held companies, as well as large associations, such
as the Florida Chamber of Commerce. We started in January of 2000 and were
founded by a Democrat and a Republican. I hope this sheds some light on who we
are and how and why we are able to poll so frequently.
Readers - does this information answer your questions?
PS: Other than the answers above, I have received no response from Insider
Advantage to our Disclosure Project questions regarding their Iowa poll.
A new Gallup national survey (Bush analysis, GOP analysis) of 1,010 adults (conducted 10/4 through 10/7) finds:
32% approve of the job George W. bush is doing as president; 64% disapprove.
Among 409 Republicans and those who lean Republican, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani (at 32%) leads former Sen. Fred Thompson (20%) and Sen. John McCain (16%) in a national primary; former Gov. Mitt Romney trails at 9%, former Gov. Mike Huckabee at 7%. All other candidates receive less than five percent each.
A new Public Policy Polling (D) automated survey (story, results) of likely primary voters in North Carolina (conducted 10/3) finds:
Among 621 Democrats asked to choose between three candidates, Sen. Hillary Clinton edges out former Sen. John Edwards (32% to 31%) in a statewide primary; Sen. Barack Obama trails at 20%.
Among 755 Republicans asked to choose between four candidates, former Sen. Fred Thompson leads former Mayor Rudy Giuliani (31% to 20%) in a statewide primary; Sen. John McCain and former Gov. Mitt Romney both trail at 11%.
A new InsiderAdvantage/Majority Opinion national survey of likely presidential primary voters (conducted 10/4 through 10/7) finds:
Among 910 Democrats, Sen. Hillary Clinton leads Sen. Barack Obama (31% to 16%) in a national primary; former Sen. John Edwards trails at 12%, Sen. Joe Biden at 6%, Gov. Bill Richardson at 5%.
Among 844 Republicans, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani leads former Sen. Fred Thompson (25% to 16%) in a national primary; Sen. John McCain trails at 13%, former Gov. Mitt Romney at 10%, former Gov. Mike Huckabee at 6%, and Rep. Ron Paul at 5%.
All other candidates receive less than five percent each.
A new AP-Ipsos national survey (Bush results, 08 results,
Dem story, Rep story) of 1,005 adults (conducted 10/1
through 10/3) finds:
31% approve of the way George W. Bush is handling his job
as president; 66% disapprove.
Among 482 Democrats and those who lean Democratic, Sen.
Hillary Clinton leads Sen. Barack Obama (46% to 25%) in a
national primary; former Sen. John Edwards trails at 11%.
With former V.P. Al Gore included, Clinton runs at 42%,
Obama at 20%, Gore at 12%, and Edwards at 9%.
Among 358 Republicans and those who lean Republican, former
Mayor Rudy Giuliani edges out former Sen. Fred Thompson
(25% to 22%) in a national primary; Sen. John McCain trails
at 12%, former Gov. Mitt Romney at 9%, and former Speaker
Newt Gingrich and former Gov. Mike Huckabee both trail at
All other candidates receive less then five percent each.
View all National Primary poll data at Pollster.com:
Among 405 Republicans, former Gov. Mitt Romney leads former
Sen. Fred Thompson (29% to 18%) in a statewide caucus;
former Gov. Mike Huckabee trails at 12%, former Mayor Rudy
Giuliani at 11%, Sen. John McCain at 7%, Rep Tom Tancredo
Among 399 Democrats, Sen. Hillary Clinton narrowly leads
former Sen. John Edwards (29% to 23%) in a statewide
caucus; Sen. Barack Obama trails at 22%, Gov. Bill
Richardson at 8%, Sen. Joe Biden and 5%.
All other candidates trail at less than five percent each.