Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Polling Firms Crash and Burn

So this morning we were treated to another poll on the race for Governor, and with each poll the picture get murkier. This morning's release of a Pioneer Press / Decision Resources Ltd. shows all DFLers leading Tom Extra Conservative and Tom Moderate Conservative. But what it really demonstrates that the real problem polling this race is coming up with a likely voter model.

Over the past month and a half there have been four major polls on the Governor's race. Of the three that reported partisan identification numbers, the differences are huge (Rasmussen does not report party ID in their publicly available toplines.)

SurveyUSA / KSTP (5/3 - 5/5)
36 GOP
35 DFL
24 Independent

Humphrey Institute / MPR (5/13 - 5/16)
42 GOP
42 DFL
15 Independent

Decision Resources Ltd. / Pioneer Press (5/28 - 6/2)
39 DFL
32 GOP
2 Independence Party
24 Independent

So while this morning's poll results had to be good news for DFLers, polling results so far are entirely about party ID numbers. I'll bet if I gave you these numbers and asked you to predict the results of each poll, you'd probably come close to the actual results. Unless and until the party ID numbers across different polling organizations settle down into a tighter range of agreement, the value of each of these polls turns on their proprietary voter prediction models. In other words, we don't know much, and what we do know is pretty shaky.

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