Pollster.com

Articles and Analysis

 

POLL: Daily Tracking (6/27)


Gallup Poll

National:
Obama 44, McCain 44

Rasmussen Reports

National:
Obama 49, McCain 45

 

Comments

There is also a Gallup Editors' Election Poll Analysis that attempts to place Gallup's tracking poll horserace numbers in context with other polls. Two of three contributions emphasize the "stability" of the Gallup poll, which is not something I find particularly compelling since random sampling error could produce the appearance of stability when there is instability.

Perhaps the most interesting explanation has to do with the question sequencing and wording, where Frank Newport takes issue with the LA Times/Bloomberg poll for asking the direction of the country question before the ballot test.

Still, I'd like to see Gallup pull apart their poll more. What are the demographics and support among groups in comparison to other polls? I think a beginning towards the answer why Gallup is different will lie somewhere in there.

I also find it a little disingenuous to explain the differences between Gallup and the two double-digit Obama lead polls only. I'm willing to believe the truth lies somewhere in the averages, but this begs the question why the Gallup daily tracking is different from the single-digit Obama lead polls.

____________________

brambster:

I just read that Gallup article. Here's the real issue. Gallop must be weighting for party ID or something else that is skewing this, and the LA Times and Newsweek do not. Gallop was showing a 10 point Dem party ID margin for the last week with 40% Independents, while Newsweek was showing a 15 point margin in party ID with 35% Independents.

Gallop seems take a two question approach to identify party ID leaners separate from more solid identification. Newsweek asked about party ID in one question, wanting to know which party they leaned more toward. It's impossible to accurately compare these two ways of asking about party ID.

This is the first election since 1976 where neither party is running on the record of who is currently in the White House. That's what being a change election is all about. I get a feeling that the more conservative pollsters are having difficulty with their models because of this. They aren't used to polling for a Republican who can't run on his party's record while the current president has roughly a 30% approval rate. They might not expect young people to turn out in record numbers. They haven't seen in recent times a primary as polarized as the Dems was. They don't know what to expect with the Black vote, which could surprise. They don't know how to poll cell phones in a nation where there are more cell phones than land lines. They don't know how to best reach non-primarily English speakers which are a fast growing group in this country. And I could go on.

I understood that both Kerry and Gore had a tough election in front of them, and the popular votes were very close to even. This election is a whole new ball game. The landscape looks better than even 2006 for the Dems as a whole, and Bush is even less popular than he was 2 years ago. I can't for the life of me figure out how Obama won't win by 5% so long as they don't catch him in bed with hookers. Seriously!

____________________

Jeff Jones' contribution to the Gallup analysis provides some insight on the issue of party id: "Over the past week of Gallup Poll Daily tracking, an average of 34% of Americans have identified themselves as Democrats, with just 24% saying they are Republicans. (About 40% do not identify with either major party.)" And as he notes, this partisan distribution is consistent with other recent polls. What seems to be different is that the Gallup daily tracking indicates greater loyalty among Republicans than Demcorats, by +6 percentage points. I think this may be where the Gallup daily tracking differs from the other polls, and it would perhaps be interesting to explore this further.

____________________

ndirish11:

I don't see why these polls matter at all. If the whole country voted and the election was done by popular vote then they would matter. Obama could be leading nationally, but McCain percent comes from states that would win him the electoral college or it could be the other way around. Sure these polls are good to show who the more popular candidate is, but I don't think they have a big importance on the outcome.

____________________

ndirish11:

I don't see why these polls matter at all. If the whole country voted and the election was done by popular vote then they would matter. Obama could be leading nationally, but McCain's percent could come from states that would win him the electoral college or it could be the other way around. Sure these polls are good to show who the more popular candidate is, but I don't think they have a big importance on the outcome.

____________________

brambster:

@ndirish11

It matters because as fivethirtyeight.com points out, it is improbable that a candidate could lose the electoral college with a 4% lead in the popular vote.

http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2008/06/popular-vote-v-electoral-vote.html

One trick that Clinton played for the final 2 months of the campaign was to pretend that a mathmetical possibility was no where near the same thing as a statistical probability.

It is mathmetically possible to flip a coin 50 times and have it land heads every time. This will however happen once out of every 11,258,999,100,000,000 times you flip a coin 50 times. That's the statistical probability.

This applies to the electoral college in the sense that for one to have a lead as large as 4%, it would require an imbalance in the electorate on a broad scale that has yet to have been experienced and is not predicted.

I think that polls also lead the media and even popular opinion as people in the minority for instance might re-think their support for something for fear of being wrong. I know that I personally doubted my own opinion in the latest Iraq invasion for about a month when opinion swung wildly behind the war, and that popular opinion was one of two major things that influenced me (the seeming ease of victory was the other).

I believe that polls are commonly used to shape popular opinion (propaganda), and this is why you see candidates sponsor their own polls that always favor them in tight elections.

Good press is good press is good press.

____________________

It may come as little surprise to many that Gallup's Sunday tracking poll release now shows Obama with a four percentage point lead, up from a tie on Friday (there was no Friday polling and Saturday release).

So, what are we to make of this? I doubt this one day movement of the three-day average had much of anything to do with the "Unity" rally noted in the release commentary. The most probable explanation to me is that the tracking poll had (by chance) a couple days of outlier positive polling for McCain and is now reverting closer to the average of the other recent election polls.

I'll say it yet again, I wish Gallup would stop linking movement in their tracking poll to campaign events. They've got a wonderfully large sample to investigate some interesting trends among subgroups. But with a 5% chance that any night's polling will be an outlier, there will undoubtably be at least one more time between now and November where the daily tracking poll will be divorced from reality just on sheer chance alone.

____________________



Post a comment




Please be patient while your comment posts - sometimes it takes a minute or two. To check your comment, please wait 60 seconds and click your browser's refresh button. Note that comments with three or more hyperlinks will be held for approval.

MAP - US, AL, AK, AZ, AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, NE, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NY, NC, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, WA, WV, WI, WY, PR