Polls and Party ID Sample Weighting

I decided to review some national polls after seeing the Newsweek poll, and Jim Geraghty’s piece over at NRO with regards to the spread between reported D/R/I party affiliation. Sample weighting is always problematic, and this election appears to be no different. Dating back to 1988, D’s traditionally have a 3-4 point advantage in turnout, save the 2004 election when the two parties ran even. Even 2006, with the Democratic wave in Congress only saw an advantage of D+3 nationally.

We are also told that this is the worst year for the GOP brand since Watergate, and we have a standard bearer candidate in McCain that is not exactly the model Republican or conservative. Obama is also supposed to have a major ground game compared to McCain, and new appeal to younger and minority voters that will drive up Democrat turnout. These things suggest that, perhaps, a spread similar to that in the past, if not slightly higher is indeed possible, if not probable.

However, looking at the polls in which I was able to attain data (I don’t have any premium subscriptions) listed on Real Clear Politics, we see a distinct advantage for the Democrats. I hope this formatting works:

  • Poll Sponsor Date Dems GOP Indys DemAdv Obama Adv

  • Hotline 10/10 41 37 18 +4 +10

  • Newsweek 10/9 40 27 30 +13 +11

  • FoxNews 10/9 41 34 21 +7 +7

  • Time 10/6 37 29 27 +8 +6

  • NBC 10/5 44 36 15 +8 +6

  • CBS 10/5 37 28 35 +9 +3

  • DemCorp 10/5 40 33 26 +7 +3

  • AP 9/30 40 29 25 +11 +7

  • Pew 9/29 37 30 30 +7 +6

  • Average 39.7 31.4 25.2 +8.3 +6.6

The +6.6 spread for Obama is roughly the same as in recent polls I was not able to get party ID data from, at +6.3. These polls include Gallup, Rassmussen, and Zogby’s daily trackers from 10/10, as well as CNN on 10/5, Ipsos on 10/6, ABC on 9/30, and Marist on 9/30. If any of you have access to these #s, let me know and I’ll update.

If McCain is able to close the gap in future polls, it will be important to watch these figures, and see if the gap closes between D/R. Hotline is the only daily tracker on the list, and is a bit of an outlier. Otherwise, several of the polls show Obama’s lead mirroring the sample advantage for the Dems. Indeed, Republicans should look at polls from CBS and Democracy Corps last week with a bit of hope, assuming the electorate reflects past elections, with a 3-4% D advantage, since roughly 9/10 Republicans are voting for McCain in all these polls, it would quickly shave off the lead.

The Dems, at a 39.7% average are running about where they normally do (just slightly above) in electoral turnout. The GOP’s 31.4 % is what’s off, since we usually run at 35-36%. This makes the GOTV effort on our side even more important. Indeed, 2 of these polls show Independents outnumbering the GOP (Pew does as well in raw numbers). Thus, as we’ve been saying on here, and hearing from consrvative radio: do not let yourself get depressed by the MSM or the horse race aspect of these polls! You need to turnout and continue to talk to friends about the election! This is just as important as winning over the Indys, as it would quickly close the gap in these polls.

This will, no doubt, be where the MSM screams racism or purports the Bradley effect as the reason for a McCain victory. But they are missing this very key figure in the reporting of polls, perhaps on purpose. It could be the frustration with the socialist leanings of Obama, and the Dems in congress that help drive the turnout towards a more historical figure, rather than the gaps shown by the polls currently. McCain can and should indeed feed off the frustration illustrated in the crowds at his events recently.

If Obama wins, it will be interesting to note if these polls are accurate in reflecting the electorate. If so, the MSM will declare it a death knell for the GOP. It may just be a fault of McCain, and his inability to separate from Bush’s shadow or purport a solid economic plan thus far. But it will be a signal, hopefully, to the GOP that it needs to rally the troops for future elections as Rove/Bush did last go-around, and get back to a solid conservative message.

I will follow this up with some battleground state polls soon to see if there are similar problems.

Sources:Jim GeraghtyRCP National Polls