Monday, November 01, 2004

Weekend Polls

After a couple of weekend polls showed movement for Kerry, conservatives everywhere seemed to go into a panic. The Fox Dynamic Poll and the Gallup Poll both seemed to portend bad news for the President. They were both outliers, but given the fact that the Fox poll had the President with a healthy lead just a week ago, and the Gallup poll is one of the oldest and most respected polls, the sudden movement in in teh numbers toward Kerry was enough to start a mini-panick. Fear not. The secret to those polls is in the internal numbers. the internals for both reveal that their is something not quite right about their samples. For example, the Fox Poll showed Kerry leading among men 47-46 and among women 47-46. No gender gap at all. It is also common for weekend polling to favor the Democrats. This from Jim Geraghty at KerrySpot:

I called one of my old polling friends, Republican Ed Goeas, who worked with me years ago in Christine Todd Whitman's tax-cutting 1993 gubernatorial victory in New Jersey. Along with Democrat Celinda Lake, Goeas publishes the highly-regarded Battleground Survey. He told me to be careful about reading the polls. For one thing, it really matters if polls are conducted during the week or over the weekend. He told me that "political pollsters don't poll on the weekends. They prefer Sunday night through Thursday night. Weekend results are just not reflective of where a given race really is."

Goeas explained that more Democrats are found at home on the weekends, especially blue-collar Democrats. He added that "anyone who spends 20 to 30 minutes during the weekend talking to some pollster is not normal."


There is an obvious problem with the sample of the Fox poll, and, it was taken over the weekend. Sorry, but nothing has happened that would have changed the Fox poll so dramatically in one week. It should probably be disregarded.

The internals of the Gallup Poll show an even more obvious problem. The Gallup Organization, again according to KerrySpot, allocated zero undecided voters to the President. From Gallup:

“This year, the allocation of the undecided vote is based on Gallup's experience in previous presidential elections, showing that in election contests with an incumbent, virtually all of the undecided vote among likely voters will break for the challenger(s). Thus, in this case, with 3% undecided, 2% is allocated to Kerry and 1% to the Nader/other group, resulting in the estimated tie.”

Excuse me? Two thirds of all undecided voters will vote for Kerry and one third will vote for a third party but zero will vote for the President. That is absurd, and it really makes no sense at all. This poll was also taken over the weekend. Be sure to read all of this KerrySpot post. Apparently the Bush Campaign has seen late movement toward the candidate in Pennsylvania and believe they can take Hawaii.

Polls are polls and it should come as no surprize that they would be erratic the weekend before the election.

If you need a shot of optimism, read Hugh Hewitt's latest post. He still believes that the President will carry 40 states in this election, as does Bill Kristol by the way. At this point it is not possile to know which way the election will go, but it certainly looks as though Kerry has a harder road to hoe to come out on top.

Update:


Powerline has heard from a reader that the Kerry rally in Wisconsin today that was expected to draw 20,000 only drew 1,000-2,000. Yeah the weather was bad, but that has to leave a bad feeling in your stomach if you are with the Kerry Campaign. Wisconsin will still be a difficult pick-up for the President, especially you calculate in the amount of voter fraud that is likely to occur on behalf of Kerry.

Be sure to check the current posts for updates.