Mark Blumenthal | November 30, 2007
Topics: 2008 , The 2008 Race
Yesterday, I blogged about the possibility that the age estimates in the 2004 Iowa Caucus "entrance poll" may have understated the percentages of younger (under 45) voters. I also wondered if the poll also overstated the percentage of self-reported first time caucus goers (55% on the poll), as I assume past caucus participation to be related to age.
Well, we can confirm that past caucus participation is strongly related to age, thanks to Sarah Dutton at CBS News who ran the data from the 2004 exit poll for us. Here are the numbers:
Various surveys have shown strong relationships between Democratic vote preference and both age (Obama does better among voters under 45) and past-caucus history (Edwards does better with past caucus goers). The data above show these two characteristics are strongly related to each other. And here's the important part: Not only are we uncertain about what the "right" mix of age and past caucus experience will be on January 3, 2008, but the strong likelihood of non-response bias toward younger participants in the 2004 entrance poll should make us treat the estimates of both characteristics from that sample "with caution" (as Kathy Frankovic put it).
Incidentally, the CNN table of the 2004 entrance poll result appears to mislabel the question about past caucus participation. The question was whether voters had attended any caucus before [Update - complete text is: "Before tonight, had you ever attended an Iowa Democratic presidential caucus?"]. So a "no" indicated a first-time caucus-goer.