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Slate Update: Michigan & Oregon Governors

Topics: 2006 , Slate Scorecard , The 2006 Race

Our Slate Election Scorecard update for this evening focuses on two races for Governor: Michigan, where two new polls showing Governor Jennifer Granholm leading restore that state to "lean" Democrat status, and Oregon where Democratic Governor Ted Kulongoski's recently narrowing lead has shifted the race into the toss-up category. Read it all.

 

Comments
Gary Kilbride:

Perhaps I've missed this since I never pay attention to the classifications. But is there a numerical range for the specific categories, like within 4 either way equals "tossup" and 4-8 equals "leans"? I'm just guessing with the numbers.

I ask because I noticed Granholm's lead is not much higher than Kulongoski's +4.4 average in the last five polls compared to +3.4. Yet they are shuffled into separate categories.

Also, is any consideration given to number of undecideds in making the classifications? The Granholm race apparently has significantly fewer undecideds than the Oregon race, about 10% fewer. Let's reverse it and say Kulongoski led by 4.4 with 20% undecideds and Granholm by 3.4 with 10% undecideds. In that case, perhaps Kulongoski would be listed as "leans Democrat" while the Granholm race would still be in the "tossup" list.

But it can be argued Granholm would actually be in superior shape, despite a 1 point lesser lead in the poll averages. I would rather be ahead by 3 yards with 10 yards remaining in a race than up 4 yards with 20 remaining.

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Mark Blumenthal:

Gary,

There's a "how do we get these numbers" sidebar that explains the classifications. Here's the part that answers your question:

Blue state names indicate a statistically meaningful lead for the Democrat ("likely" status or better), while a red state name indicates a meaningful lead for the Republican (for the statistically minded, our standard is a lead of a least one standard error, a modest statistical advantage). Those states listed in black are ones we classify as "tossups"�those races in which neither candidate shows a significant lead over the last five polls. States in which an independent has a lead are green. Safe seats are those for which the candidate consistently has a statistically significant lead (in this case, a lead of more than two standard errors).

Also, regarding the 3.8 percent lead that now appears on the Scorecard (as opposed to the 4.4 lead reported last night). Hours after last night's update "went to print," as it were, SurveyUSA released a new survey with Granholm ahead by 5. That managed to cut Granholm's average lead slightly (because the new polls replaced a 9/12 EPIC/MRA survey in the average that had Granholm up 8 points). The net narrowed the margin just enough to move Michigan back to toss-up (as now indicated by the black header). Murphy's Law.

And no, this formula doesn't take undecideds into account.

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Gary Kilbride:

Mark, thanks for the link and that explanatory paragraph.

The Granholm example reminds me of fall 2004, when posters on certain sites who had access to Rasmussen's private data were aware of day-to-day numbers and would emphasize that an aberrational number was on the verge of falling out of the sample, changing the average.

Great addition with the House polls, BTW.

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