Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Truth Behind the Florida Poll

The headline number was Romney 47% Obama 41% in the Quinnipiac poll of Florida voters released today. It's too bad that the media can't read a poll effectively or analyze its results.

The search for the relevant numbers requires that you scroll all the way to the bottom of the poll and click on the Demographic Summary link. A Word document will open (and open your mind) and reveal that the pollsters seriously oversampled Independents, and undersampled Democrats. From the survey:

PARTY IDENTIFICATION - Generally speaking, do you consider yourself a Republican, a Democrat, an Independent, or what?

 Republican                 34%     640
 Democrat                   31      493
 Independent                29      507
 Other/DK/NA                 6       82

First of all, I love the "or what" part of the question. Can't Quinnipiac come up with other language, such as "or other political party?" 

Second, the actual voter registration split in Florida is:

As you can see, Democrats were underpolled to the tune of 9%. True, Republicans were also undersampled, but relative to their actual numbers, not by much. If anything, the oversampling of Independents should be of some concern for Obama, since they are probably the difference in the poll.

Usually Quinnipiac is a solid pollster, but on this one they missed the boat.

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