Articles and Analysis


Rasmussen: CA, KS (9/18-22)

Topics: PHome

Rasmussen Reports
500 LV, 4.5%
Mode: IVR

Kansas (9/18)
McCain 58, Obama 38
Sen: Roberts (R-i) 58, Slattery (D) 38

California (9/22)
Obama 56, McCain 39



Why are the polling in either of these states?


Hope Reborn:




How thoroughly uninteresting! Has anyone checked the competitive situation in Utah and Massachusetts?



Why are we wasting time with these?



Easy guys. California and Kansas are states too, its not fair that they should never get polled. Bad for self esteem.



what was the point?


Save US:

Thats a huge surprise... :)



I love the stathead annoyance shown in this comments section at the perceived lack of interesting data.

One interesting point re: Kansas.

It seems to me that most other states have sometimes radically different partisan divides between the presidential and senate races. Kansas is exactly the same. Interesting.

Maybe this is more true in the more lop-sided states that we don't see as much information from.



Is it useless to poll states where the outcome is pretty much certain? I don't think so. By polling such states, we can learn something about how much movement in the national polls is confined to non-battleground states (like the Palin bounce was for instance).



This is why we need to aboloish the electoral college. It greatly discourages voting.

What's the point in voting if I'm a Democrat in Utah or a Republican in Vermont.

And Americans wonder why nationally we have a historically low voter turn out.



We need these state polls to reassure us that the whole of the universe isn't turning weird. Just North Carolina and Indiana.



i actually think polls from CA are valuable (not only because I live there, lol), because CA, which has gone Democrat since 92, only went for Kerry and Gore by ~10%, which, in the grand scheme of things isn't really that much. The fact that he leads by 15% probably reinforces the idea that McCain's bigger than normal leads in the red states after the convention, are probably countered by bigger than normal leads in Obama blue states, hence, why the national polls initially shot up for McCain, and have now come back down to earth, i.e. tie, or Obama +2 ish.

Just a thought....



Move to Boulder - Move to Miami - Move to Cleveland. Electoral college is there for a reason - Our Framers thought it best and noone has yet to come up with a better idea to balance the huge number of latte sippin, tree huggin, open minded urban freak voters with the concealed automatic weapon toting, every sperm is sacred, aint openin me no mind rural voters. PS this is satire not an attempt to 'dis' anyone.



Obama is below +20% in CA. He'd better start pouring some more resources in there.



I still say we should go with popular vote. You would see a large uptick in voter participation.



Who wasted their money on this poll?



Yeah well it's nice to have one poll per month for each state. It'd be stupid not to have a poll for Kansas at all. I agree that these polls have little information value but it's nice to have confirmation once in a while.


Jacob S:

Yep, looks like Ras is patting its stats.



I want to be polled - just once I'd like to.........it means what?... ohhh,.....never mind.



The only ones wasting their time are those who seem to feel compelled to post here that pollsters were wasting their time.

Someone has to poll the all the states once in a while to find out if "common wisdom" is indeed true.

Plus Rasmussen also asks issue questions. The data they collect is not all targeted at who is ahead in the Presidential race.



I was also wondering what Governor Kathleen Sebelius is thinking about her Kansas. At one time she thought it could go for Obama. Remember Obama's mommy was born in Kansas, and he often talks about his roots there.


Ryan in MO:


Obama's mommy?????



Obama's mother was born in Kansas.

I'm glad they still do polling in the great battleground states of Kansas and California and to Kiptin:

Nobody thought Kansas was truly in play.




(This is a worthwhile read as it will open a window into some of the shenanigans pollsters pull):

"Let's start with the latest poll numbers. Yep, Obama back on top, is the headline for many of them, though it's a bit tight. I guess we should worry on the Right? Hmmmm, well maybe not so much, just as those on the Left did not have that much to worry about when McCain got the 'Palin Bounce' earlier this month. I said when the first bumps came out that I did not think Palin's effect would really be that immediate, and I have always said that the reader should go well past the headline to find out what a poll says. So, taking my own advice, let's see what Gallup has to say.

The Gallup Organization is as clean and straight-arrow a polling group as I have ever found. Their methodology is consistent and transparent, their questions are the same and they have a longer history than anyone else in the business. But even Gallup has a few odd quirks, and when you see them it might change how you look at their poll releases. For this article, I am looking at the Gallup 'Daily Tracking Poll' for the Presidential election. For the five most recent weekly reports, here's where Gallup says the candidates stood:

Aug 21: Obama 45, McCain 44
Aug 28: Obama 48, McCain 41
Sep 04: Obama 49, McCain 42
Sep 11: McCain 48, Obama 44
Sep 18: Obama 48, McCain 44

From that, it appears that a tight race opened up first for Obama, then McCain, then Obama again, with each candidate sitting anywhere from 41 to 49 percent support (not counting margin of error) during that time. Fair enough, but let's look at their support by party identification, first by Obama:

- continued -

Liberal Democrat support for Obama - 88% Aug 21, 91% Aug 28, 93% Sep 4 through Sep 18.

Moderate Democrat support for Obama - 78% Aug 21 and 28, 81% Sep 4 through Sep 18.

Conservative Democrat support for Obama - 68% Aug 21, 63% Aug 28, 77% Sep 4, 70% Sep 11, 66% Sep 18

Hmmm. Obama's support goes up and down, but the Liberal and Moderate Democrat support for Obama has been steady all of September. Odd, isn't it? And support for Obama among Conservative Democrats went down four points in the last week, even though his overall support is supposed to have gone up four points. How to figure that?

Perhaps it's in the Independents. After all, if Obama started winning them over, he'd not only be making gains overall but gaining support where he wants it the most.

Independent support for Obama - 24% Aug 21, 29% Aug 28, 23% Sep 4, 29% Sep 11, and 27% Sep 18

Hmmm, again. Obama gained support among Independents in the last month, but he actually lost two points among Independents in the last week. So that 4 point gain overall is still a mystery.

Nothing to do, then, but look at the Republicans. It would really be something if he's improving support from GOP voters:

Liberal/Moderate Republican support for Obama - 16% Aug 21, 13% Aug 28, 14% Sep 4, 16% Sep 11, 10% Sep 18

Ouch. Obama lost six points among Liberal and Moderate Republicans in the past week.

Conservative Republican support for Obama - 6% Aug 21, 5% Aug 28, 4% Sep 4, 3% Sep 11 and 18

No change there in the past week.

Taken altogether, there is no group of political identification where Obama's support has increased in the past week. Mathematically, therefore, there is only one way in which Gallup could show an increase in Obama's overall support, when none of the party identification groups showed improvement for him. I will come back to that in a moment, but the reader should think about it, because it's very important, that only possible way this could happen.

Before I explain that possibility, I want to look at John McCain's support by specific party identification groups. The man, according to Gallup, lost four points of overall support in the past week,

Conservative Republican support for McCain - 89% Aug 21, 91% Aug 28, 94% Sep 4 and 11, 95% Sept 18

Interesting. McCain's support among Conservative Republicans went up a point in the last week. Well, let's move on:

Liberal/Moderate Republican support for McCain - 75% Aug 21, 77% Aug 28, 78% Sep 4 and 11, 85% Sep 18

Wow, McCain's support from Liberal and Moderate Republicans climbed by seven points in the past week, and yet we are told his overall support fell by four points? That is very odd, wouldn't you say? It must have been the Independents, perhaps?

Independent support for McCain - 34% Aug 21, 31% Aug 28, 29% Sep 4, 28% Sep 11, and 32% Sep 18

Stranger and stranger, McCain's support among Independents went up by four points in the past week, just as his support from Republicans increased, yet we are told his overall support went down by four. Very hard to explain that using the math most of us learned in school, isn't it? Well, there's just one place left to look. Maybe somehow McCain used to have significant support among Democrats, but lost it? Let's find out:

Conservative Democrat support for McCain - 23% Aug 21, 26% Aug 28, 15% Sep 4, 21% Sep 11, 24% Sep 18

Hmpf. Once again, a group where support for McCain went up, but the overall says he went down.

Moderate Democrat support for McCain - 14% Aug 21, 13% August 28, 11% Sep 4, 12% Sep 11 and 18.

Steady there, so that one does not explain it.

Liberal Democrat support for McCain - 6% Aug 21, 6% Aug 28, 4% Sep 4 and 11, 5% Sep 18.

It's only a point, but again we see McCain's numbers in this group went up.

So, put it all together, and in the past week Obama has stayed steady or lost support in every party identification group, yet Gallup says his overall support went up four points. And McCain stayed steady or went up in every party identification group, yet we are supposed to accept the claim that his overall support went down by four points? Anyone have an answer for how that is even possible?

Well, actually I do. There is one, and only one, possible way that such a thing can happen mathematically. And that way, is that Gallup made major changes to the political affiliation weighting from the last week to now. Gallup has significantly increased the proportional weight of Democrat response and reduced the weight of Republican response. Bear in mind that this assumes that people change the foundation of their political opinion like a showgirl changes costumes, which has no scientific basis or historical support whatsoever. As I said earlier, the Gallup Organization is very much a professional polling agency, who tries their level best to gauge the national mood. That, after all, is why I chose to use their poll for my examination. I could do the same thing with any other of the major published polls, and I can tell you straight-up that I would find the same practice going on everywhere. But just because something is popular, does not validate it as a scientific method. Rather than report the rising and falling levels of support for Obama and McCain with constant party identification weighting, the Gallup and other polls are shifting the party weights over time, which pretty explains how the 'bounce' happens for each convention. When the Democrats held their convention, the polls increased the weight of Democrats and lowered the Republican response, and when the Republicans had their convention, the polls gave the Republicans more weight. That's why Palin made such an immediate difference in the polls; the Liberals were not all that impressed with her, but the Republicans were happy and with a bigger share of the weight their response was magnified. I can't prove it, since the Gallup people do not invite me into their strategy meetings, but I think somewhere they are weighting the party ID by the mood as they see it. The problem there, is that such weighting is still very subjective, and what's more it fails to consider that someone may consider themselves a member of one party with respect to the House and Senate races, but something else entirely when it comes to voting for the President. The state of Oklahoma, for example, is a very Democratic place, but it's pretty solid for McCain, just as it was for Bush. So weighting a presidential poll for party identification on the basis of how they think someone will vote for Congress, is going to miss the mark.

Anyway, going back to my earlier piece on party weighting, if we go back and look at the historical track record for the last ten years in terms of self-identified party affiliation from actual exit polls, we see a clear standard of weights; 38.4% Democrat, 35.8% Republican, 26.0% Independent. If we then work them out to fill the liberal/moderate/conservative slots used by Gallup, the following weights have historical validity and may be used as a constant for poll responses:

Liberal Democrat 9%
Moderate Democrat 16%
Conservative Democrat 13%
Independent 26%
Liberal/Moderate Republican 23%
Conservative Republican 13%

If we apply those weights to the poll response, here is what happens to the Gallup polling responses:

August 21: Obama 39.94%, McCain 43.43%, Undecided 16.63%
August 28: Obama 40.04%, McCain 43.60%, Undecided 16.36%
September 4: Obama 41.06%, McCain 41.77%, Undecided 17.17%
September 11: Obama 42.04%, McCain 42.45%, Undecided 15.51%
September 18: Obama 39.62%, McCain 45.71%, Undecided 14.67%

Movement still happens in both sides' support, but it is more gradual and is consistent with events in both parties. Frankly, it is only reasonable to expect that Democrats largely support Obama while Republicans largely support McCain, and even now there is a significant amount of indecision; between one of six and one of seven voters are not sure who they want. Most of that doubt is with independents, whose support may make all the difference in the key states. Further, the stated levels of support are within the statistical margin of error. It is also interesting to note that both Obama and McCain, in general, are gaining support incrementally, with gains gradually reducing the undecided portion (at the present pace, however, the undecided portion of the vote would still exceed ten percent of the total vote). The latest support level for Obama, statistically, appears to be an outlier, so his next poll may be expected to reflect stronger support. If Obama is in fact losing support, some specific reason would have to be found - it is not reasonable to expect support to diminish without a clear cause."



er, nice piece Boomshak, one problem - Gallup does not weigh for party-id.



Local vernacular.



From Gallup:

PRINCETON, NJ -- Democrats have re-established a double-digit advantage over Republicans in party affiliation, with 49% of Americans identifying themselves as Democrats or leaning to the Democratic Party, and 39% identifying as Republicans or leaning to the Republican Party. This is a shift from immediately after the Republican National Convention, when Democrats enjoyed their smallest advantage of the year, leading only 47% to 42%.

After the Republican convention:
Dem. 47% Republican 42%, +5% Democrats

After the Wall Street Meltdown:
Dem. 49% Republican 39%, +10% Democrats



I am glad that the Kansas polls have FINALLY been updated. There is growth in the whole Democratic ticket, and some pretty heavy hitting investigations into Sen. Robert's role (or non role) in the intelligence leading to the invasion of Iraq may bring yet more changes before November.

It is unfortunate that Kansas reads so red on the map. The eastern half of the state is much more blue than the west, and support for Obama is huge here in the more populated areas. Look for surprises in November. I only wish that we would take a cue from Nebraska and split our electoral votes to better represent the reality of the electorate.

I always question rasmussen polls...If you check out their website, it is plastered with McBush ads.



The problem with Rasmussen national tracking is that since he DOES weigth his polls, if a sudden change in party affiliation occurs he misses it. For example, after the Republican convention, the Republican brand got a boost, previous Independent/Republican-leaning began identifying themselves as Republicans. Gallup noticed this, but Rasmussen didn't because he was using the "old" party affiliation. So, Rasmussen was sort of "depressing" McCain's numbers by depressing the number of Republicans.

It seems that a similar event happened with the Wall Street meltdown, some Republicans jumped back in the "closet," out of embarassment? I don't know :-)




FAIL. Gallup doesn't weight by party id, dude. C'mon.



2 questions to all the people complaining about the fact that this poll was even conducted:

If any of the states that you consider not worthy of polling had been shifting during this election and no one found out until after election day, wouldn't you complaining about how all the polling organization missed it?

More importantly, doesn't it make sense from an academic standpoint to have as much information about every state and it's polling history during one of the most historic elections in our history? Wouldn't the information about demographics, party ID, and shifts in county-by-county voting also prove useful to pollsters, political scientists and campaigns in the future?



Read My Lipstick! No Bail Outs! Not Now, Not Ever, No Way, No How!

All bail outs do is steal/rob opportunities from the prudent such as myself to reward the irresponsible.

You can not bail out an irresponsible party without penalizing prudent parties. Not just in the bail out funding cost, but also in denying the opportunities that would have been available to the prudent who have prepared and positioned themselves to be ready and able to take advantage of the inevitable opportunities that would be created by the inevitable failure of the irresponsible parties.

Tell me who is going to compensate me for the opportunities that will be robbed from me by a bail out? I have prudently positioned myself to be able to take advantage of these foreseeable opportunities only to have them robbed from me by the theft perpetrated in the name of a bail out.

Anyone who votes for this bail out should be voted out on Nov. 4th.

That goes for both Obama and McCain too. If they vote for this, then vote for someone else for President.



Boomshak is f'ing crazy. How long did it take for him to do all that research?!?! His sky is falling as he bitterly clings to his guns and bibles.

Gotta go this elitist's latte is getting cold.

Actually I'm just a teacher from a rural town of 3,500.



Hey, rasmussen, you'd better poll MT. nobody have poled there for 3 weeks, and if it evolved the same as many other states, it may well be bluish by now.



Have a look at the new ABC/Washington Post poll out this morning.

Obama leads by 9, at 52% (this is a gain of 11% from the previous poll from this source).

Internals are fascinating: no surprise that economy and fixing financial mess are the major concerns, and that Obama is trusted more on these, but for the first time Obama is also ahead of McC on the war in Iraq, and on foreign affairs.

The game is slipping away from team red.


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