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Re: Obama-Clinton "Virtually Tied" or Not?

Topics: 2008 , Divergent Polls , The 2008 Race

In response to my post yesterday on the latest USA Today/Gallup poll, I received this comment via email from USA Today Polling Editor Jim Norman:

Concerning your question about whether our weekend poll had a higher percentage of independents than the previous Gallup one, the answer is "not really". Democrat-leaning independents comprised 34% of the sample in our most recent question about the Democratic race, 35% of the sample when the question was asked May 10-13.

A look at other subgroups where Obama has been running well showed that there were virtually no differences from the May poll to the one last weekend in the percentages of (a) those with annual household incomes $75,000 and above; (b) college grads; and (c) men. There was a change in the percentage of those younger than 50, another good group for Obama, but they represented a smaller proportion (35%) of our current poll than of the one in May (41%)

The new numbers may be a function of the small sample, as Frank points out, but it's not because of substantive changes in the proportions of the key subgroups.

Gallup's Frank Newport also emailed to say that he would post more on this topic soon on his USA Today "Gallup Guru" blog.

 

Comments
Travis:

How many state's allow Independents to vote in the Democratic Primary?

I know in NY they are not allowed to. However in NH, non-enrolled voters can vote in one of the two party primaries, but not both.

Also, when they are referencing Independent voters, are they referring to Independence Party members or non-enrolled voters?

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Mark Blumenthal:

Travis:

On your first question, the rules definitely vary from state to state. I don't know of a site that lists them all, but if you (or anyone else) finds one, please post it here. Rhodes Cook's "Race for the Presidency: Winning the 2004 Nomination," lists the rules as of 2004, if you can find a copy.

On the second question, the answer is neither. Gallup, and most other pollsters, uses a party identification question. As asked by Gallup: In politics, as of today, do you consider yourself a Republican, a Democrat, or an Independent? (Asked of independents: As of today, do you lean more to the Democratic Party or the Republican Party?)

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Travis:

Wow, how can people consider these polls accurate if they are not polling "likely primary" voters, ie people enrolled in the party?

I am not a pollster, nor do I have a ton of experience in the field, but from talking to people and having them refer to themselves as "independent voters" they are often just as likely to be registered in one party or the other as they are to be non-enrolled.

How do pollster account for this? Do they only call people who they know are registered in one party or the other?

Thanks for the response.

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KB:

Indies will be voting in the California primary.
And because they are shut out of the Californai GOP primary, they will be participating in large numbers. Advantage Obama.

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cminmd:

In Maryland Independents can not vote in another parties primary- they can only vote for other offices that happen to be on the ballot. However, according to Mitt Romney, he said he voted for a democrat in the primary to pick the weakest candidate.

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Independents are allowed to vote in the primaries in 22 states.

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