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Time's "How America Decides" Polls

Topics: 2008 , The 2008 Race

While media outlets and pollsters often assert their disinterest in the "horse race," the partnership of Time and SRBI have produced a new set of surveys of Iowa, New Hampshire and the nation that appear to omit trial heat questions altogether. Here's how the analysis by Time's Mark Halperin and Amy Sullivan puts it:

Political polls usually function as Ouija boards that campaigns and pundits can use to try to predict the outcome of an election. We're more interested in figuring out how voters make the decisions that lead to that outcome. Is it a gut reaction, an emotional response to a candidate who makes them feel proud or angry? Are voters more interested in character traits like leadership and sincerity or in policy positions that match their own?

The especially unique aspect of the survey -- at least for the moment -- is that virtually all of the numbers appear, not in the Time article, but in a very slick interactive Flash chart that allows a graphical comparison of results on all questions across all three samples for any two of the candidates running. The graphic may seem a bit confusing at first -- they key is to use your mouse to point to any spot along the trend line after selecting candidates from the pull down menus. It's definitely worth a click.

12-07_time_flash_chart.png

My one complaint about the presentation is that Time has so far provided virtually none of the most basic methodological information that usually accompanies media polls. How many interviews? When were they conducted? And who was interviewed? That is, are the numbers in the charts based on the views of all adults, of likely general election voters or of primary voters? I suspect this omission is temporary, as the Time/SRBI team is typically a leader in disclosure. SRBI, for example, always posts a complete "filled in" questionnaire with all results for every question, including demographics. I'm assuming SRBI will do the same for this survey soon.

UPDATE: They have. Follow this link to the full report, including the usual full disclosure of methodology, on the SRBI web site (thanks to Mark L).

 

Comments
Mark Lindeman:

Looks like ALL the good stuff is here:
http://srbi.com/time_poll_arc43.htm
including links to full toplines.

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c:

Am I right in interpreting this to mean that the more BO campaigns the better he does and the more HRC campaigns the worse she does? The nation/Iowa differences are striking, no?

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Fascinating... great stuff, Mark.

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