Update: The Ipsos Poll results have become available, and the article has been changed to reflect the findings.
Seeing that Beto O’Rourke is finally beating Ted Cruz in the polls may elicit a few reactions. For some, it’s elation that the Texas Democratic challenger to Cruz has finally overtaken his opponent. For the rest of us, something doesn’t smell right.
Reuters reported on Wednesday that a Reuters/Ipsos online poll showed O’Rourke ahead of Cruz by two points. The Ipsos poll disects the voting public like this:
These are findings from an Ipsos poll conducted September 6 – September 14, 2018 on behalf of Thomson Reuters and the University of Virginia Center for Politics. For the survey, a sample of roughly 2,000 adults age 18+ from Texas were interviewed online in English. The sample includes 992 likely voters, 423 likely voter Democrats, 463 likely voter Republicans, and 90 likely voter Independents.
The information given from the polling data suggests more Republicans participated than Democrats. Altogether, the poll results are as such:
The problem with online polls is that it’s still a burgeoning new style of polling, with everyone still trying to figure out how to accurately predict how people think when the options are in front of them vs. being put on the spot by a random phone call. For instance, Reuters/Ipsos had Hillary Clinton with a 95 percent chance of winning in 2015.
Some post-hoc problems plague the Texas poll. For instance, the poll was conducted in English, further muddying the waters, as Texas has a very dense Spanish speaking population. Furthermore, there’s no dissection of the geography of where these voters are voting from. Whether they live in a big city or a rural town may effect their voting habits. What’s more, though this is currently an unknown, one might no longer be a Texas resident.
This poll still has Governor Greg Abbott up in his poll, but admittedly, he doesn’t suffer the same national drawbacks that Cruz does in terms of likability.
There are a few too many oddities that go with an online polling that pollsters are still working out. This Ipsos poll still leaves a lot of information to be desired.
Even the people who helped run the poll don’t seem wholly convinced that O’Rourke is doing as well as the poll suggests.
“There’s a possibility it could happen. I’m not saying probable. But it’s possible,” said Larry Sabato, director of the UVA Center for Politics.
All this to say that this new poll seems like a lot of smoke and no fire. This is also odd given that just the day before on Tuesday, a Quinnipiac poll showed Cruz nine points above O’Rourke. Adding to the fuel on the Republican bonfire is the fact that a seat that has been held by Democrats for 139 years just flipped Republican, though as Strieff explains, this may be more of a fluke brought on by a lazy Democratic party that took their seat as a given than an actual flip by voters.
Only time and election results will tell the true story.