Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Tale Of Two Polls

I mentioned last time out that the more Obama friendly polling assumes Democrats will enjoy similar advantages in enthusiasm compared to Republicans that they did in 2008. You can see this assumption built into some of the polling. For example, this recently released Time magazine poll which shows Obama up 5 points in Ohio and which many lefties are convinced means the election is over.

If you look at he internals of the poll you discover the pollsters have broken down the Ohio electorate as follows:

Democrat: 37%
Republican: 28%
Independent: 29%

(The numbers don't add up to 100% in the above because 40 something respondents answered something else.)

Now, lets compare this to the Suffolk University poll which found the race a dead heat.

Democrat: 39%
Republican: 35%
Independent: 27%

Very, very different samples, you will agree. So different, in fact, that the Time sample seems to be measuring an "Ohio" in a alternate universe (presumably one in which the sky is always fuchsia.) Indeed, no other poll listed by Real Clear Politics is claiming Independents outnumber Republicans in Ohio. However, that is the sample Time is using. When you look at the exit polling from 2008, when everything, and I mean everything was breaking in Obama's favor the partisan split between Democrat and Republican was only +8D. That's right, Time is telling us this election will break even more favorably for Obama than 2008 at +9D.

The way they achieve this "result" is by skewing the gender numbers. In the Time sample a full 65% of Democratic respondents are women, in the Republican sample its a 50/50 split (exactly.) The only way they make the whole thing not look ridiculous is by making the Independent sample skew male heavy at 57%.  As males as a group break heavily for Romney this gender imbalance has the effect of depressing Romney's vote total among Republicans and pumping up Obama's score among Democrats. Time has Romney winning among Republicans by 84% to 11%, while McCain won 92% to 8%.  Meanwhile they have Obama winning amongst Democrats 92% to 6%, while in 2008 those numbers were 89% to 11%.

Among Independents Romney is ahead 53% to 38%. In 2008 Independents went for Obama by a 52% to 44% margin.

Any way you want to slice it, it don't add up.

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