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A Likely Voter Story

Topics: Cell Phones , Likely Voters , Party Weighing

My NationalJournal.com column for the week is now posted online. It looks at pollster likely voter models and the question of whether they will be able to capture an increase in turnout should it occur this year. The short version is that very few are placing great weight on measures of past voting, and virtually none are using methods that would systematically exclude new registrants.

The topic is likely voter models is rich and complex and next to impossible to try to summarize in an 800 word column. Four years ago this week, I did an eight part series on the topic (including a guide to the methods used by almost all of the best known pollsters), and most of what I wrote then still applies. I tried to use today's column to concentrate on the degree to which the current models stress past vote behavior (answer: not much). In preparation for this column, I sent some additional questions to various pollsters about this topic, and I will try to blog those over the coming week.

I'll have more to say about this over the next two weeks, but the combination of cell phone interviewing (or the lack thereof), party weighting and the emphasis given to reports of past voting in likely voter models or screen questions appears to explain why some polls (IBD/TIPP, Battleground, Zogby/Reuters and possibly Rasmussen) are showing a slightly closer race nationally than other surveys.

 

Comments

Regarding Mark's allusion to party weighting, I maintain a website devoted exclusively to documenting Party ID numbers in both national polls and key states.

http://courses.ttu.edu/hdfs3390-reifman/weighting.htm

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