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re: Incumbent Rule


Thank you Mark and Nate for the thoughtful critique of my post regarding incumbents polling under 50%. I think this is an excellent example of the kind of smart, civil dialogue we can have around polling data. And, I think it serves the public interest well.

The data is the data. It is certainly compelling. And it suggests that the old 50% incumbent rule may have fit the 1980s and 1990s more than the 2000s. As Mark noted in his post, those that gained their formative public opinion research experience in that era, absorbed the conventional wisdom of that era. I'm a product of that time. But, times change. Mea culpa.

I found Mark's "Four Pollsters on the Incumbent Rule" (December, 2006) to be the most interesting. Here I agree most with Hickman (incumbents are much more aggressive, not worrying as much about building their opponent's name ID) and Greenberg (nationalization and partisan consistency). I also think that microtargeting combined with a renewed focus on turnout machines can have the effect of both saving endangered incumbents and complicating the vote models.

It will be interesting to see how this old rule works in 2010. Like baseball statistics, we always have another wave of data to analyze.

In the case of the Strickland-Kasich race in Ohio, I remain VERY skeptical of the Governor's reelection prospects.

1. First, Strickland's ballot support average in the new year puts him within that perilous under 45% group that Nate's analysis of the 2006-2009 data highlights (67% average loss rate). Even throwing out the hard to believe OH Right to Life survey, Strickland's average ballot support is 42.5%. Moreover, of the last four surveys, Strickland has only led Kasich in one. This data reminds me somewhat of the DeWine reelect in 2006.

2. Second, Strickland's image looks to be in tough shape and approaching a 1-1 fav-unfav ratio.

3. Third, the President's job approval seems to have slipped into negative territory in the Fall of last year.

4. Finally, as I noted in my initial post on the Quinnipiac survey, Kasich is handily defeating Strickland 46%-34% in Central Ohio. This is the part of the state where voters are most likely to remember Kasich. It is also a key battlegound. This does not bode well for Strickland.

 

Comments
poughies:

Great response :)

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conspiracy:

Points 1 and 2 are both very true but the fact it is the most recent poll suggests the possibility that Strickland has started to turn things around. Or it could be a faulty sample. Time will tell.

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