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Monday, October 18, 2010

For Whom the Cell Phone Polls




One of my favorite pollsters, FiveThirtyEight, predicted little change from last week's projection that Republicans have a 73% chance of taking over the House this midterm. "During an average simulation run, Republicans finished with 227 seats, up from 226 last week; this would suggest a net gain of 48 seats from the 179 they hold currently."

Yet, pollster Nate Silver calls that forecast "uncertain".

Whether the gain is 70-80 seats or as few as 20-30 seats, Silver cites that several factors inhibit an accurate forecast of the number of seats expected to be gained: the number of House seats in play, the generic ballot and the enthusiasm gap.

"If Gallup’s likely voter model, which implies extremely lopsided turnout in favor Republicans, were to be correct, G.O.P. gains would be well in excess of 50 seats. Other turnout models, however, imply more like a 4- or 5-point enthusiasm gap, which would be more consistent with patterns in a typical midterm election. With an enthusiasm gap of that magnitude, Democrats would probably lose the House only narrowly and would have decent chances of holding onto it."

Meaning, every vote counts.

Another big factor playing (or actually, not playing) into the midterm polls, is the Cell Phone Factor.

"It is also important to remember that there are some factors, like the fact that many pollsters do not include cellphones in their sample, that could potentially result in the polls underestimating the position of Democrats. Our model assumes there is a chance that the overall “consensus” of polling could be off, which could affect the results in a great number of individual districts. This is one reason that it thinks such disparate outcomes as a 70-seat Republican gain or a mere 30-seat gain are not exceptionally unlikely. But such systematic bias in the polling could run in either direction."


A personal aside. I can't remember the last time my 25 and 30 year old used the land line gathering dust in the corner of our kitchen. That being said, both voted by absentee ballot without one call from a pollster, via the Bell dinosaur or the cell, never too far from their reach. Odd that pollsters would not clamor for the insights of my NPA-registered young adult, which adds weight to Silver's cell phone polling point.

Read more from Nate Silver here.

Talk to Me.

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4 Comments:

At 10/18/10, 6:23 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sheree wrote:
Just a quick fyi.

Tonight, Monday, October 18 at 8 p.m. - Attorney general candidates Pam Bondi (R) and Dan Gelber (D) face off in an hour-long debate

http://www.cfnews13.com/article/news/2010/october/162713/Attorney-general-candidates-square-off-on-News-13

Should be fun.

 
At 10/18/10, 6:24 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

dftts wrote:

When I read the results of a poll that included 600 to 1,000 registered likely voters, I roll my eyes. Calls to landlines only is an interesting fact on polling methodology. Might as well use a Magic 8 ball to make predictions.

For me the only poll that matters is the one where voters make their decisions through the secret balloting process.

 
At 10/18/10, 6:24 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

zenswimmer wrote:
I agree w/Sheree & dftts: The polling methodology for this poll was fairly exclusionary. Neither myself, nor anyone I know, (Re-pub, Dem, nor NPA), including my parents, has had a land line in the last 10 years, and tilts the poll towards an older demographic instead of a more representative sample. Great Work Sheree!

 
At 10/18/10, 8:14 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

N0_Tea4Me wrote:
Well done! and lets not forget the Vonage people as all the Magic jacks... All the working Middle class and poor people that can't afford the Luxury Liners for long distance any more,


Sheree wrote:
Bondi...as evidenced by tonight's debate, out of her league. If a transcript is available, I'll post a link.

Gelber got her on FICA and health care reform right off the bat. She is clearly inexperienced.

I love the third party candidate and how he brought up the hypocrisy in the drug laws by using Limbaugh as an example of slap on the hand vs jail time. LOL!

 

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