Polling Madness

This is why polls drive me crazy.

Gallup Daily Tracker:

Gallup Poll Daily tracking shows a tightening of the national Democratic race, with Barack Obama now holding just a 3-percentage point advantage over Hillary Clinton, 47% to 44%.

These results are based on interviewing conducted April 15-17, with Thursday night’s interviewing the first conducted following the April 16 debate in Philadelphia. The initial indications are that Obama may have been hurt by the debate, which was noted for its negative tone and focus on the candidates’ recent “gaffes” and Obama’s associations with the controversial Rev. Jeremiah Wright and William Ayers (a former member of the radical Weather Underground group).

In Thursday night’s interviewing, Clinton received a greater share of national Democratic support than Obama, the first time she has done so in an individual night’s interviewing since April 3. That stronger showing for Clinton helped to snap Obama’s streak of statistically significant leads in the three-day rolling averages Gallup reports each day. Until today, he had led Clinton by a statistically significant margin in each of the prior 11 Gallup releases.

Newsweek:

Despite her campaign’s relentless attacks on Barack Obama‘s qualifications and electability, Hillary Clinton has lost a lot of ground with Democratic voters nationwide going into Tuesday’s critical primary in Pennsylvania, a new NEWSWEEK poll shows.

The survey of 1,209 registered voters found that Obama now leads Clinton by nearly 20 points, or 54 percent to 35 percent, among registered Democrats and those who lean Democratic nationwide. The previous Newsweek poll, conducted in March after Clinton’s big primary wins in Ohio and Texas, showed the two Democrats locked in a statistical tie (45 percent for Obama to 44 percent for Clinton). The new poll puts Obama ahead among women as well as men, and voters aged 60 and older as well as younger voters. (For the complete poll data, click here).

One of the more devastating results for Clinton was that a majority of all registered voters now see her as dishonest and untrustworthy. According to the poll, just four in 10 (41 percent) registered voters view the New York senator as honest and trustworthy, while 51 percent think the opposite. This compares with solid majorities of voters who see Obama and McCain as honest and trustworthy (both polled 61 percent).

They can’t both be right, can they?

Kyle? Help!

2 Responses to “Polling Madness”

  1. Tentatively I’m going to say that they are both right. The Newsweek poll includes data before and after the debate, while this new Gallup daily should be primarily post debate.

    But, okay, here’s the thing to think about, the Newsweek poll is a snapshot, whereas the Gallup is more like a photo taken with the lens held open a little longer. In this case, the Gallup poll is going to be more sensitive because it feels every bump in the road and those bumps are going to carry on for a few days.

    Here, what is significant is that Obama is taking a post debate hit, however, it’s not worth banking on the gallup for a few days to see if he just took a single day’s hit or if we are once again on a downward trend. Either is possible.

    With newsweek, there’s a different measurement going on, specifically, before and after, and they are saying their numbers remained relatively constant.

    So, what I expect is going on is simply that Newsweek put their poll in the field, and Clinton took a big hit, one that was not greatly aided by the debate the other night. By contrast, the Gallup daily, because of the frequency of it’s polling, probably registered an immediate post debate dip for Obama, and it will take a few days to work that out of the system. Right now we can’t say that Gallup’s is solid until then.

  2. Kathy says:

    I knew you would be able to explain it, Kyle. 🙂

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