Monday, October 29, 2012

Polling question

To say I've been obsessed with information related to Ohio polling would be an understatement.

Mrs. Gekko is ready to have Gallup tattooed on my forehead.

None the less, I believe there may be some significant party ID issues with any Ohio poll.

Let's take the time machine back to 2008. Remember that in the primary, McCain had already won the GOP nomination which left Ohio republicans with only the democratic primary to vote in.

Many republicans changed their party affiliation to democrat to vote in the primary; some as part of Rush's Operation Chaos and some, like me, who just wanted to vote against Obama.

How many of those registered democrats changed back to republican in the past four years? After all, the GOP nomination was locked up again this year. So unless, you had some compelling reason to vote a GOP ballot in previous elections you're probably still a registered democrat.

The reason I wonder is today I got a call from Sherrod Brown's office asking me where my absentee ballot was.

They called because I've never changed my party affiliation back so they're thinking that I'm a sure democratic vote.

How many guys like me are in the voter pool? How skewed are the party ID figures if there are people who never changed their party affiliation back from 2008?

So when I read this at NRO I'm wondering what factoring has been done for this phenomenon.

As mentioned above, in current Ohio polls, Democrats have a party-ID sample advantage of 6.3 points. In 2008, Democrats had a 5-point turnout advantage in Ohio. That means that while national polls have the turnout advantage down 2.6 points, in Ohio it has actually increased 1.3 points. It is almost impossible to conclude that while the nationwide party-ID advantage of Democrats has dropped since the wave election of 2008, Ohio has actually increased over the last four years.

If that’s not enough, the Ohio polls have actually become more Democratic since the post-DNC polls that gave Obama the significant bounce that led many pundits to declare Romney’s chances in Ohio DOA. Of all Ohio polls from September 7 to September 19, Obama held an average lead of 4.2 points, with a Democratic party-ID advantage of 5.7 points. Today Obama leads by 2.1 points, with a party-ID advantage of 6.3 points. In the last month, while Romney has had surges in polls all over the country, the polling in Ohio has actually found more Democrats even while Obama’s lead was cut in half.

The biggest explanation for this discrepancy appears to be the prevalence of early voting. Many Ohio polls state that more voters claim to have voted early than the county records show; this inflates the likely-voter pools, with Obama voters pushing the Democrats’ advantage up as a result. It is a big problem for pollsters — many respondents want to say the socially popular thing, which is that they have already voted. When voters say they have voted (unlike when respondents say they plan on voting), pollsters ask no follow-up questions to determine how likely it is that they are telling the truth. Respondents who say they have voted go straight into the likely-voter pool, even though it’s clear that the number of respondents who claim to have voted is much larger than the actual early-voter turnout, based on the county records. From this, it’s reasonable to conclude that Democrats’ party advantage may prove to be lower, which would ultimately cut 
Obama’s lead in Ohio dramatically.

For the record, I told that Brown volunteer to Go Romney.

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