Pollster.com

August 17, 2008 - August 23, 2008

 

POLL: Rasmussen Mississippi (8/21)


Rasmussen Reports
8/21/08; 500 LV, 4.5%
Mode: IVR

Mississippi
McCain 56, Obama 43
(July: McCain 54, Obama 42)

Sen: Wicker (R-i) 52, Musgrove (D) 43
(July: Wicker 52, Musgrove 43)


Why It's Taking So Long


So I went off the the beach with spouse and kids a few hours ago ("vacation," remember?), assuming that I'd come back to news on Obama's running mate. But as of the moment I clicked "publish" on this entry, nothing had been announced.

The reason a lot of us assume the announcement is imminent is the report that has been airing on CNN all day that a "highly placed Democratic source" who says Obama "called some people on his shortlist for the vice presidential slot Thursday night to tell them he had not selected them as a running mate." Usually, when the phone calls start, the news leaks out almost immediately.

My colleague Marc Ambinder confirms that Obama has called some "who were vetted by didn't quite make it." He adds: "Maybe these aren't the short-listers. Maybe these are the long-listers."

"What the hell is taking so long," Noam Scheiber asks? In retrospect, I think the reasons for the timing seem obvious to me. The slow drip of "news" is entirely consistent with maximizing response to their "Be the First To Know" email/text message campaign.

Think about it: The week starts with a leak to the New York Times generating a front page story that tells us:

Senator Barack Obama has all but settled on his choice for a running mate and set an elaborate rollout plan for his decision, beginning with an early morning alert to supporters, perhaps as soon as Wednesday morning, aides said.

Somehow, Matt Drudge hears about the article the day before and gives the news the full Drudge treatment. Meanwhile, the Obama campaign runs banner ads on web sites all over the Internet promoting the email text message alerts. Then after days of speculation, Obama confirms yesterday that he has made a decision. Today his campaign confirms to reporters that some potential running mates have been called. And nearly every story features some reference to the fact that the campaign will share its news via email or text messaging.

Coincidence? I think not.

PS: One of Marc Ambinder's readers points out the irony of CNN "begging viewers to stay tuned so CNN can bring them coverage of a text message." Another "triumph of new media" is the timing itself: Major campaign news timed not for the evening news, but (perhaps) for prime text messaging time.


POLL: Rasmussen California, Tennessee (8/20)


Rasmussen Reports
8/20/08; 500 LV, 4.5% for each state
Mode: IVR

California
Obama 54, McCain 41
(July: Obama 52, McCain 42)

Tennessee
McCain 60, Obama 35
(June: McCain 51, Obama 36)


POLL: Rasmussen Indiana (8/19-21)


Rasmussen Reports
8/19-21/08; 500 LV, 4.5%
Mode: IVR

Indiana
McCain 49, Obama 43


POLL: Selzer Michigan (8/17-20)


Free Press / Local 4 /
Selzer & Co
8/17-20/08; 600 LV, 4%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

Michigan
Obama 46, McCain 39, Nader/Barr 3


Obama VP "Someone Who's Independent"


Here's a lesson: If you work in politics (a) don't try to take a vacation in August of an even numbered year and (b) if you do, leave your laptop behind. Having made both mistakes, and waiting like everyone else to see who Barack Obama has selected as his running mate, I have a reaction to the one piece of real news we got yesterday about the choice.

In interviews published in the last 24 hours, Barack Obama has implied that his choice leans toward someone who will balance him ideologically. He has decided on "somebody who's independent," he told USA Today, "somebody who can push against my preconceived notions and challenge me so we have got a robust debate in the White House."

The conventional wisdom about vice-presidential choices shifted a bit in 1992 when Bill Clinton picked Al Gore, arguably the most successful vice presidential selection of the last several decades. Gore's selection was widely viewed as reinforcing Clinton's key strengths rather than providing geographic or ideological balance. Clinton, a young, Southern centrist Democrat bucked the conventional wisdom about ticket balancing and picked another young, Southern centrist politician. The combination reinforced the central "change" message of the 1992 campaign and helped provide a huge and sustained boost to the Clinton-Gore ticket.

But if you look back, Clinton had a real need to reinforce his core "change" message. Before the 1992 Democratic convention, Clinton had net negative favorable ratings and was running behind George H.W. Bush and (at on some polls) independent candidate Ross Perot. Voters had been introduced to Clinton during the primaries through news about an alleged affair and efforts to avoid the draft while a student at Oxford and Yale. In his book, Middle Class Dreams , Clinton pollster Stan Greenberg recounts learning from his research that doubts about Clinton focused on the perception that he was a typical politician from a privileged background.

To address the perception of privilege, the Clinton campaign used the convention to emphasize the "Man from Hope" story of Clinton's modest upbringing. My sense is that the Gore selection helped counter the perception of Clinton as a younger, but otherwise typical pol. Rather than making the predictably "political" choice (an grey eminence with years of Washington experience), he picked another young Southerner (albeit one with considerable Washington experience). So in picking Gore, Clinton was, in a sense, shoring up a weakness, making that case that his election really would be a break with politics as usual.

Now consider Obama. He owns "change." Between his age, his race, his name, his unusual background, his limited time in Washington and his campaign's exceptional message discipline, Obama has no need to convince anyone that his presidency will be different or that he "really likes change." What voters doubt most is whether he is prepared to be president, and perhaps whether he is a bit too taken with the "audacity" of his own candidacy. The NBC/Wall Street Journal poll shows that 22% of voters choose "arrogant and cocky" as the negative characteristic that best describes Obama.

So Obama reaches out to someone of considerable experience with whom he disagreed on the Iraq War, someone with a different political philosophy or someone with proven willingness to challenge him, he can help shore up a weakness with relatively little risk to his core brand. At least that strikes me is the logic behind the kind of pick Obama is telegraphing.


Omero: Young women optimistic, yet uncertain


EMILY's List released their Women's Monitor survey this week comparing women across four different age cohorts: Gen Y, Gen X, Baby Boomers, and seniors.  While their findings on the Presidential race are interesting and worth reading, I'd like to focus more on attitudes toward the role of women.  (Disclosure: EMILY's List is a Momentum Analysis client, but we had nothing to do with this survey.)

 

Overall, women across age groupings agree on many topics.  But the survey finds younger, Gen X or Gen Y women consistently more optimistic than their older counterparts, especially when it comes to changing women's roles.  Boomers and senior women are more likely to strongly agree that "sexism is still a serious problem for women in our society today" and "there is still a need for a woman's movement that has a strong political voice in America."  They are also more likely to strongly disagree with:  "women today have equal opportunities and equal treatment in the workplace."

 

While hardly anyone uses words such as "satisfied" or "proud" to describe how the country is headed, younger voters are the least pessimistic about the future.  And while majorities across age groups disagree with the statement "this is a good time in America's history to be a young person just starting out in life," youngest women disagree with it least often.

 

However, despite being generally more optimistic, younger women are at the same time the most uncertain about the future.  They are not as likely as Boomer women to agree that "because they have so many more options and choices available to them, young women today are better off than their mothers' generation."  And when asked to identify what word describes the direction of the country, they are more than twice as likely as older women to say "uncertain," and are far less likely to say "dissatisfied."

 

Uncertainty could have many causes.  First, the study shows younger women less engaged in politics, and less likely to follow the news.  Second, the survey also suggests younger women are more concerned than older women about issues affecting them personally, such as pocketbook issues, rising gas prices, issues affecting children, and college affordability.  Third, age itself could be a factor, where women with more life experience are less likely to be unsure of the future.

 

Given younger women's optimism, with uncertainty, it is not surprising that they prefer a candidate who is also optimistic, but provides clarity.  Younger women are more interested in a presidential candidate who can provide "hope and optimism," while older women are more likely to crave "safety and security" or both equally. Younger women are also more likely to prefer a candidate with a "vision for the future," and older women are disproportionately more likely to seek a candidate who can "get things done."

 

Below are some of the responses across age groupings.  I calculated net agree/disagree, and a 4-point mean score, where 4 means "strongly agree," and not sure is omitted.  Other results, methodology, and some question wording are available here and here.

 

 

strng agree

smwt agree

smwt disgr

strng disgr

mean

net agree

net disgr

B/C so many options & choices, yng wmn better off than mothers' generation

Gen Y

42

42

10

4

3.24

84

14

Gen X

46

34

11

5

3.26

80

16

Boomers

51

30

13

3

3.33

81

16

Seniors

45

30

9

10

3.17

75

19

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All other things equal, better of more women elected to important offices

Gen Y

48

35

11

3

3.32

83

14

Gen X

42

36

11

5

3.22

78

16

Boomers

48

29

11

4

3.32

77

15

Seniors

46

29

10

7

3.24

75

17

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sexism is still a serious problem for women

Gen Y

36

41

19

3

3.11

77

22

Gen X

34

41

15

6

3.07

75

21

Boomers

46

33

12

5

3.25

79

17

Seniors

43

29

14

9

3.12

72

23

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Still a need for a women's movement with a strong political voice

Gen Y

34

44

14

5

3.10

78

19

Gen X

36

37

13

7

3.10

73

20

Boomers

42

28

16

8

3.11

70

24

Seniors

45

26

14

9

3.14

71

23

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Women should stay home w/infants & toddlers, even if means sacrifice

Gen Y

12

28

28

28

2.25

40

56

Gen X

20

28

26

21

2.49

48

47

Boomers

23

22

24

20

2.54

45

44

Seniors

33

27

17

13

2.89

60

30

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good time in US history to be a young person starting out

Gen Y

14

33

31

20

2.42

47

51

Gen X

10

28

33

25

2.24

38

58

Boomers

14

20

31

29

2.20

34

60

Seniors

20

19

25

29

2.32

39

54

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Women today have equal opportunities w/men in workplace

Gen Y

11

38

33

17

2.43

49

50

Gen X

11

30

29

28

2.24

41

57

Boomers

10

20

32

37

2.03

30

69

Seniors

17

15

25

36

2.14

32

61

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For woman to be truly fulfilled, she needs to be married/have kids

Gen Y

6

12

29

52

1.72

18

81

Gen X

5

8

27

57

1.60

13

84

Boomers

4

5

24

62

1.48

9

86

Seniors

8

11

28

47

1.79

19

75

 


POLL: SurveyUSA Kansas (8/18-20)


SurveyUSA**
8/18-20/08; 641 LV, 3.9%
Mode: IVR

Kansas
McCain 58, Obama 35
(June: McCain 50, Obama 39)

Roberts (R-i) 58, Slattery (D) 31, Hodgkinson (L) 5, Martin (Ref) 2
(June: Roberts 51, Slattery 34)

** In June, SurveyUSA conducted a survey for the Pat Roberts for Senate Campaign (R).


POLL: ARG Florida, New Hampshire (8/18-20)


American Research Group
8/18-20/08
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

Florida (600 LV, 4%)
McCain 47, Obama 46
(July: McCain 47, Obama 45)

New Hampshire (600 LV, 4%)
Obama 46, McCain 45
(July: Obama 47, McCain 45)


POLL: Rasmussen New Mexico (8/20)


Rasmussen Reports
8/20/08; 700 LV, 4%
Mode: IVR

New Mexico
Obama 48, McCain 44
(July: Obama 49, McCain 43)

Sen: Udall (D) 52, Pearce (R) 44
(July: Udall 61, Pearce 35)


POLL: FOX National (8/19-20)


FOX News /
Opinion Dynamics
8/19-20/08; 900 RV, 3%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews
(story, results)

National
Obama 42, McCain 39
(July: Obama 40, McCain 37)


POLL: Research 2000 Nevada (8/18-20)


Reno Gazette-Journal /
Research 2000
8/18-20/08; 600 LV, 4%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

Nevada
Obama 44, McCain 43, Barr 3, Nader 2


POLL: MPR Minnesota (8/7-17)


Minnesota Public Radio /
Humphrey Institute
8/7-17/08; 763 LV, 3.6%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

Mode
Obama 48, McCain 38, Nader 3, Barr 1

Full results


POLL: YouGov/Economist National (8/18-20)


Economist /
YouGov-Polimetrix
8/18-20/08; 1,000 Adults, 4%
Mode: Internet

National
Obama 39, McCain 38
(8/13: Obama 41, McCain 40)


POLL: NPR Battleground States (8/12-14)


NPR /
Public Opinion Strategies (R) /
Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research (D)
8/12-14/08; 1124 LV, 3%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews
(story, results, highlights)

Battleground States *
Obama 46, McCain 45, Nader 2, Barr 1

* Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin


POLL: Rasmussen Pennsylvania (8/19)


Rasmussen Reports
8/19/08; 700 LV, 4.5%
Mode: IVR

Pennsylvania
Obama 48, McCain 45
(July: Obama 51, McCain 45)


POLL: NBC/WSJ National (8/15-18)


NBC News /
Wall Street Journal
8/15-18/08; 1,005 RV, 3%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews
(NBC story, results)

National
Obama 45, McCain 42
(July: Obama 47, McCain 41)


POLL: CBS/Times National (8/15-19)


CBS News /
New York Times
8/15-19/08; 869 RV, 3%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews
(CBS story, results)

National
Obama 45, McCain 42
(July: Obama 45, McCain 39)


POLL: GQR South Dakota (8/12-14)


Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research (D) /
Tim Johnson
8/12-14/08; 610 LV, 4%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

South Dakota
Sen: Johnson (D-i) 61, Dykstra (R) 34


POLL: Rasmussen Maryland (8/18)


Rasmussen Reports
8/18/08; 500 LV, 4.5%
Mode: IVR

Maryland
Obama 53, McCain 43


POLL: InsiderAdvantage North Carolina (8/19)


InsiderAdvantage
8/19/08; 614 LV, 4%
Mode: IVR

North Carolina
McCain 45, Obama 43, Barr 5, Nader 1
Sen: Dole (R-i) 40, Hagan (D) 40


POLL: Rasmussen New Hampshire (8/19)


Rasmussen Reports
8/19/08; 700 LV, 4%
Mode: IVR

New Hampshire
Obama 47, McCain 46
(July: Obama 49, McCain 45)

Sen: Shaheen (D) 52, Sununu (R-i) 43
(July: Shaheen 51, Sununu 45)


VP Preferences Among Democratic Delegates: Some Historical Context


On Monday, CBS News and the New York Times released a survey of delegates attending the Democratic National Convention in Denver next week. The major finding from this survey came from a question asking delegates who they would like to see as the vice presidential candidate. 28% of the delegates interviewed preferred Hillary Clinton, compared to just 6% who selected Joe Biden (the second most popular choice). The support for Hillary Clinton attracted a lot of attention from news outlets, as well as Pollster.com readers. Of particular interest is whether the 28% figure for Clinton is particularly high or low. To answer this question, we could use a little historical context.

I was able to dig up two earlier Democratic delegate surveys which asked similar questions about VP preferences--one from 1988 and the other from 1992. The results from these surveys are presented in the table below. I've shown the top five finishers in each survey, as well as the percentage naming another candidate ("Other") and the percentage declining to name anyone ("no preference").

delegate_compare.PNG

The first important point that stands out from this table is that support for Clinton is almost twice as high as it was for any other single candidate in 1988 or 1992. Bill Bradley had the support of 15% of Democratic delegates in 1992, while Jesse Jackson was the preferred candidate for 14% in 1988.

The second notable pattern from 1988 and 1992 is that the eventual VP pick was not one that delegates named in large numbers before the convention. In 1988, only 2% of convention delegates mentioned Lloyd Bentsen as a running mate for Dukakis while just 5% recommended Al Gore in 1992. Thus, Clinton's standing in first place does not necessarily bode well for her chances of ending up on the ticket.

Third, notice that VP ambivalence is not a new phenomenon in 2008, nor is the phenomenon of having a wide swath of politicians named. In 1988, one-third of convention delegates declined to state a preference for Dukakis's running mate, while one-quarter of delegates did not name anyone in 1992. In both years (along with 2008) support was scattered across dozens of names, with only one or two candidates even breaking double-digits in any given year.

Finally, I was able to get the raw data for the 1992 convention delegate survey to look at one additional question: to what extent do a losing candidate's delegates promote their candidate for VP? In 1992, Jerry Brown and Paul Tsongas lost out on the nomination; but each candidate sent plenty of committed delegates to the Democratic convention. The figure below shows who those delegates preferred for Clinton's VP choice.

1992delegates.PNG

The figure reveals mixed patterns. Interestingly, Jerry Brown's supporters picked plenty of different possibilities for a Clinton running mate, but almost none of them supported Brown himself. Tsongas's supporters, on the other hand, were more likely to name Tsongas as a potential running mate, but they were also about as likely to name Bill Bradley. For their part, (Bill) Clinton delegates were the most ambivalent, with one-third of them failing to state a preference.

Overall, the historical comparison reveals that Clinton's support is high compared to delegate preferences in 1988 and 1992. However, pre-convention support among delegates didn't do much for Jesse Jackson in 1988 or Bill Bradley in 1992.


POLL: Cronkite-Eight Arizona (8/14-16)


Arizona State University /
Crokite-Eight
8/14-16/08; 402 RV, 4.9%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

Arizona
McCain 40, Obama 30, Nader 2
June: McCain 38, Obama 28


POLL: PPP Missouri (8/13-17)


Public Policy Polling (D)
8/13-17/08; 750 LV, 3.6%
Mode: IVR

Missouri
McCain 50, Obama 40
(July: McCain 47, Obama 44)

Gov: Nixon (D) 48, Hulshof (R) 42
(July: Nixon 47, Hulshof 37)


POLL: Zogby National (8/14-16)


Zogby/Reuters
8/14-16/08; 1,089 LV, 3%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

National
McCain 46, Obama 41
July: Obama 47, McCain 40


The "Loopy" Zogby Polls


All pollsters, it seems, eventually find themselves with what Andy Kohut once referred to as "loopy" results. His comment was about the Gallup polls in the 2000 election, though in September 2004, Pew experienced such results itself, and of course several polls this campaign season have produced inexplicable or "wrong" numbers, as indicated by the subsequent primary election vote counts.

 

This time, it's Zogby's turn to confuse the masses. His latest Reuters/Zogby poll, based on a sample of 1,089 "likely voters" drawn from listed telephone numbers, conducted Aug. 14-16, 2008, shows McCain over Obama by 46% to 41%.

 

Two days earlier, Zogby reported substantially different results. His online poll (of self-selected people who want to be part of his Internet polling sample) of 3,339 "likely voters," conducted Aug. 12-14, showed Obama with a three-point lead, 43% to 40%.

 

By Zogby's own calculation of the margins of error of each poll, the difference between the two polls in McCain's support (46% in the later telephone poll vs. 40% in the earlier online poll) is statistically significant. The difference in Obama's support (41% vs. 43% respectively) would not be statistically significant. Still, the 8-point difference in the margin of McCain's lead would be significant - a McCain 5-point lead vs. an Obama 3-point lead in the earlier poll.

 

If we believe both polls, the period of Aug. 13-14 must have been a real bummer for Obama and an electoral high for McCain. Whatever it was that caused millions of voters to "change" their minds and gravitate toward the Republican candidate in the two-day period, however, escaped my notice. Perhaps others have been more observant.

 

Of course, there are reasons to discount both polls. Zogby has long been known for refusing to use sound methods in designing his samples. The use of only listed telephone numbers, and the self-selected samples of voters in his online surveys, are the two most salient problems. Still, his last pre-election polls often come close to the actual election results, and many news media outlets regularly publish his results.

 

Regardless of how loopy are Zogby's results, or his sampling methods, his polls contribute to what Kathy Frankovic, in her AAPOR presidential address in 1993,[i] referred to as the "noise and clamor" of the polls. Thus, they're worth noting, if only in disbelief.



[i] Kathleen A. Frankovic, Presidential Address "Noise and Clamor: The Unintended Consequences of Success," Public Opinion Quarterly, Vol. 57, No. 3 (Autumn, 1993), pp. 441-447.


POLL: Rasmussen Ohio (8/18/08)


Rasmussen Reports
8/18/08; 700 LV, 4%
Mode: IVR

Ohio
McCain 48, Obama 43
(July: McCain 52, Obama 42)


POLL: GWU Battleground National (8/10-14)


GWU Battleground /
The Tarrance Group (R) /
Lake Research Partners (D)
8/10-14/08; 1,000 LV, 3.1%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews
(Questionnaire, Rep analysis, Dem analysis)

National
McCain 47, Obama 46
(May: Obama 49, McCain 47)


POLL: U of Iowa (8/4-13)


University of Iowa
8/4-13/08; 617 LV, 3.9%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

Iowa
Obama 50, McCain 43


POLL: SurveyUSA Indiana (8/16-18)


SurveyUSA
8/16-18/08; 645 LV, 3.9%
Mode: IVR

Indiana
McCain 50, Obama 44
(June: Obama 48, McCain 47)

Gov: Daniels (R-i) 52, Long Thompson (D) 38, Horning (L) 3, Stried (i) 3
(June: Daniels 50, Long Thompson 45)


POLL: Times/Bloomberg National (8/15-18)


Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg
8/15-18/08; 1,248 RV, 3%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews
(Times, results; Bloomberg)

National
Obama 45, McCain 43
(June: Obama 49, McCain 37)

Obama 42, McCain 41, Nader 4, Barr 1
(June: Obama 48, McCain 33, Barr 3, Nader 4)


POLL: Rasmussen Florida (8/18)


Rasmussen Reports
8/18/08; 500 LV, 4.5%
Mode: IVR

Florida
McCain 48, Obama 46
(July: Obama 49, McCain 47)


POLL: Susquehanna Pennsylvania (8/11-14)


Susquehanna Polling and Research
8/11-14/08; 700 LV, 3.7%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

Pennsylvania
Obama 46, McCain 41
(May: Obama 46, McCain 39)


POLL: Civitas North Carolina (8/14-17)


Civitas / Tel Opinion Research (R)
8/14-17/08; 600 RV, 4.2%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

North Carolina
McCain 46, Obama 40, Barr 2
(July: McCain 43, Obama 40, Barr 2)

Sen: Dole (R-i) 44, Hagan (D) 41, Cole (L) 4
(July: Dole 47, Hagan 38, Cole 2)

Gov: Perdue (D) 43, McCrory (R) 41, Munger (L) 3
(July: Perdue 43, McCrory 40, Munger 2)


POLL: Rasmussen Louisiana (8/14)


Rasmussen Reports
8/14/08; 500 LV, 4.5%
Mode: IVR

Louisiana
Sen: Landrieu (D-i) 56, Kennedy (R) 39
(July: Landrieu 51, Kennedy 45)


POLL: Zogby New Jersey (8/7-11)


Zogby /
Garden State Equality
8/7-11/08; 803 LV, 3.5%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

New Jersey
Sen: Lautenberg (D-i) 50, Zimmer (R) 32


POLL: Mason-Dixon Utah (8/13-15)


Salt Lake Tribune /
Mason-Dixon
8/13-15/08; 400 LV, 4.9%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

Utah
Gov: Huntsman (R-i) 73, Springmeyer (D) 9


The Accuracy of Likely Voter Models


Several recent posts have addressed whether the likely voter (LV) models are more accurate than the results based on registered voters (RV). My sense is that this is not a question that can be answered in general, but rather has to be considered separately for each polling organization.

 

Let's look, for example, at Brian Schaffner's recent post, where he compared the RV vs. LV results for several pollsters in the 2004 election. He found that "On average, the RV samples for these eight polls predicted a .875 Bush advantage while the LV samples predicted a 2.25 advantage for Bush, remarkably close to the actual result." He concludes that "it does appear as though likely voters did a better job of predicting the result in 2004 than registered voters."

 

This quick look at the data is hardly conclusive, of course, which Brian acknowledges. He had only eight polling organizations in his analysis, and despite the average results, four of the eight polls showed no advantage to using the LV model, while the other four did. As he suggests, it would be important to look at other years, but also other types of elections and other polling organizations.

 

Even then, however, an overall conclusion would not be especially helpful. Each polling organization's LV model is so different from another's that each organization has to look at its own success rate over the years to determine whether the LV model is helpful. In 1996, Gallup's senior editor, Lydia Saad, showed that in some presidential elections, Gallup's LV and RV results showed little differences, but when they did differ significantly, the LV results were more accurate in predicting the election results. That was at the national level. In the New Hampshire primary Gallup poll results over time, however, it's the RV results that typically were marginally closer to the final election results.

 

Still, at the national level, I would always bet on Gallup's LV results being a better estimate than the RV results, an example that Brian found for 2004. Gallup's final RV results showed Kerry up by two percentage points, while the LV results showed Bush winning by two points. Pew, which uses the Gallup LV model, also showed a four-point swing, from a one-point Kerry victory to a 3-point Bush victory.

 

Other polling organizations, of course, could find different results. And trying to average the results across polling organizations, to determine whether "in principle" LV models should be used, I would argue, is not helpful. That question has to be addressed by each polling organization based on its experience with its own LV model.

 


POLL: Quinnipiac National (8/12-17)


Quinnipiac University
8/12-17/08; 1,547 LV, 2.5%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

National
Obama 47, McCain 42
(July: Obama 50, McCain 41)

Bush's Job Approval:
Approve 30, Disapprove 64
(July: Approve 26, Disapprove 67)


POLL: SurveyUSA Minnesota (8/13-14)


SurveyUSA
8/13-14/08; 682 LV, 3.8%
Mode: IVR

Minnesota
Obama 47, McCain 45
(June: Obama 47, McCain 46)

Sen: Coleman (R-i) 46, Franken (D) 39
(July: Coleman 52, Franken 39)


POLL: CBS/Times Democratic Delegates (7/16 - 8/17)


CBS News /
New York Times
7/16-8/17/08; 917 Democratic Delegates, 3%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews and Online
(CBS story, results; Times story, results)

Who would you like Barack Obama to choose as his vice-presidential nominee?

    28% Hillary Clinton
    6% Joe Biden
    4% John Edwards
    4% Bill Richardson
    4% Evan Bayh
    3% Jim Webb
    2% Kathleen Sebelius
    2% Tim Kaine
    2% Wesley Clark


Scoring the Veepstakes

Topics: 2008 , Bounce , National Journal

Interrupting my "vacation" for this special announcement: My NationalJournal.com column, on the potential for a running-mate "bump" and whether we will be able to measure one, is now online.


POLL: Rasmussen Illinois (8/12)


Rasmussen Reports
8/12/08; 500 LV, 4.5%
Mode: IVR

Illinois
Obama 55, McCain 40
(July: Obama 50, McCain 37)

Sen: Durbin (D-i) 61, Sauerberg (R) 33
(July: Durbin 63, Sauerberg 28)


POLL: Rasmussen Georgia (8/14)


Rasmussen Reports
8/14/08; 500 LV, 4.5%
Mode: IVR

Georgia
McCain 53, Obama 44
(July: McCain 53, Obama 42)

Sen: Chambliss (R-i) 50, Martin (D) 44
(July: Chambliss 51, Martin 40)


POLL: Ayres McHenry Tennessee (8/10-12)


Ayres, McHenry & Associates (R) /
Lamar Alexander
8/10-12/08; 500 RV, 4.4%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

Tennessee
McCain 51, Obama 36
(March: McCain 53, Obama 36)
Sen: Alexander (R-i) 60, Tuke (D) 30
(March: Alexander 59, Tuke 28)


POLL: Siena New York (8/11-14)


Siena College
8/11-14/08; 627 RV, 3.9%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

New York State
Obama 47, McCain 39
(July: Obama 50, McCain 37)


POLL: Benenson Oklahoma (8/12-14)


Benenson Strategy Group (D) /
DSCC
8/12-14/08; 600 LV, 4%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

Oklahoma
Sen: Inhofe (R-i) 50, Rice (D) 41


A Break

Topics: Pollster.com

I will be taking a break this week, although I filed a National Journal column for the week, which should appear in a day or two. Meanwhile, Eric will continue with poll updates and our other contributors should be active this week. See you next week!


POLL: PPP Ohio (8/12-14)


Public Policy Polling (D)
8/12-14/08; 950 LV, 3.2%
Mode: IVR

Ohio
McCain 45, Obama 45
(July: Obama 48, McCain 40)


Convention "Bumps" in Context

Topics: 1980 , 1984 , 1988 , 1992 , 2008 , Bounce , Bump , Conventions

"Bounce" or "Bump?" The terminology is up to you, but this is certainly the season to consider the short term changes in polling numbers that frequently result in the wake of national political conventions.

A useful first stop would be the 2004 analysis from Gallup's Jeff Jones. It includes the post convention "bounce" numbers from Gallup back to 1964 that are the primary source of the conclusion that average post convention gain for candidates has been six or seven percentage points.

Last week, Tom Holbrook posted a more a thorough review of the past "before and after" data and it's implications. He looks at the gain for each candidate by taking their "average share of the two-party vote in trial-heat polls conducted six days to two weeks prior to the start of the convention" an subtracting that from the candidate's "share of the two-party vote in polls conducted during the seven days following the close of the convention." He does not list the polls used for each year, but presumably his data looks at much more than the Gallup time series for more recent elections.

Holbrook's post is worth reading in full for the lessons he draws from the considerable variation in past convention bumps, although probably the most important is his caution that "the magnitude of the convention bump is not a great predictor of election outcome." Still, he sees a pattern to the past variation that "should be a useful guide to what to expect" from the conventions and promises to update later this week with a prediction for each candidate.

But before reading two much into the twitches in the daily tracking polls over the next three weeks, please read the latest column from CBS News director of surveys Kathy Frankovic. She reminds us that the gap between the Democratic and Republican conventions is just three days -- much shorter than in past elections -- and will coincide with the Labor Day weekend:

Will we even be able to measure whatever impact the Democratic Convention has on Obama before it’s time to measure the GOP convention’s impact on John McCain? And will we be able to sort out what has caused what?

Will we actually discover a “bounce” or a “bump?”

Probably not. Polling over Labor Day Weekend is always a problem. We confront more than the usual number of people who don’t respond or can’t respond. People are away from their homes, heading back from summer vacation, or preparing their children for the start of the school year. In addition, the focus will shift so quickly from the Democrats to the Republicans that whatever opinions might be expressed over Labor Day Weekend might not last too long.

I thought it would be helpful to look at some past elections, not in terms of the immediate "before and after" averages, but rather where the conventions fit into the longer arc of the trend in the vote preference over the course of the election year. I spent some time gathering past polls from a variety of sources and asked Charles Franklin to create some charts matching the format he used to look at the trends of the 2000 and 2004 elections a few weeks back.

I had hoped to use those charts for a series of posts. Unfortunately, I got delayed, so I will post the charts along with a some very compressed discussion after the jump.

Continue reading "Convention "Bumps" in Context"


 

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