Maintaining Optimism in the Face of Reality. Occasional observations on the state of the world, society, business and politics. Usually anchored by facts, always augmented by opinion.

Polling Miscellaney (including Cell Phones)  | e-mail post

A couple of interesting polling items.

From a comment over on Jay Cost's blog, I was pointed at the Tarrance Group's poll. [Latest results in PDF] The results were unsurprising: like most national horserace polls now, they have Bush ahead 46-41 and if leaners are pushed, they split 1:1 for a 49-45 result.

What did strike me about the poll, however, was the demographic questions. If a respondent answers they are of the Jewish faith (#11), the interviewer is instructed to skip question #12, which is he race inquiry. Now, I certainly understand that there is the concept of a Jewish race, with the children of David and all that, however, I wouldn't expect a polling firm to record questions that way.Three words: Sammy Davis, Junior. It just kind of struck me as odd.

What didn't strike me as odd was the result of last nights' Zogby poll of cell phone users, which I was alerted to by Joe Trippi's post on MSNBC. You can get info on the poll at Zogby, or at the poll's sponsor, Rock the Vote.

Zogby of course, ever the self-promoter, strains his arm a little bit with his back-pats:
"The results of this text-message poll mirror what we’re seeing in our more conventional polls," said John Zogby, CEO and president of Utica, N.Y.-based Zogby International. "Among 18-29 year-olds, Kerry leads the President by 14 points—55% to 41% in our current daily tracking poll—virtually identical to these results. Our text-message poll seems to have been validated by this experiment. All in all, I think we’ve broken some new ground in polling."
Broken new ground? This is hardly an assumption that needed to be validated, except to maybe shut up the people who don't know how polling works. See my previous post on the flawed logic of thinking cell-phone only voters would make a difference.

I was surprised, however, that the result was as close as it was, given the sample was drawn from the relatively left-leaning Rock the Vote campaign. I wonder what the results would have been using P Diddy's "Vote or Die" group.

What did surprise me is Joe Trippi's commentary about the polling:
I’ve been looking at the data from polls in state after state— and there is a common pattern in most of them. Among voters over the age of thirty, Bush or Kerry (depending on the state) hold a very slim advantage. Among voters under the age of thirty— and in just about every state— Kerry holds a significant advantage over Bush. So if this is true, if among those over 30 it’s a dead heat or Bush has a slight advantage, then why with Kerry’s huge advantage among those under 30 just about everywhere, is that advantage not enough to show him in the lead in national and state polls?

The reason in my view is that pollsters are using old turn-out models for younger voters, and are failing to see the increased intensity among these voters, and therefore are likely to be surprised on Tuesday night. It is now becoming increasingly clear to me that if John Kerry wins on Tuesday it will be due to an unprecedented turnout among younger voters.
Unprecedented young voter turnout is something that everyone looks for every four years and then really never sees. The other thing that Trippi seems to miss is that the 18-29 crowd, in addition to not being too good at making it to the polls, is that the 18-29 crowd is really only about 10% of the voting population, compared to the 30+ crowd (it makes sense when you're comparing an 11 year range to a 70+ year range). The over 65 crowd alone is twice the size.

I would agree with Joe's logic, however: if John Kerry wins then it will mostly likely have been due to younger (and yes, less informed) voters making it to the polls in droves on Tuesday. I don't think that's necessarily something to be pleased about.

e-mail post | Link Cosmos | [Permalink]  |  | Monday, November 01, 2004
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