Skip to comments.Explaining the LA Times Poll
Posted on 06/10/2004 3:40:55 PM PDT by pookie18
There's a poll that the media is going gaga over today out of the Los Angeles Times that shows John Kerry (true to form) has gone back into his cave this week -- except for his one appearance out in Simi Valley -- and his numbers are going up. Presidential poll says that Kerry is cleaning Bush's clock and gaining ground.
Well, I look at the internals of this poll and there's only one way this can be happening. Let me go through this for you. The poll out today shows that Bush trails Senator Kerry on a ballot test with Ralph Nader on there by six points, 48-42. You take Nader out, I think, it's Kerry may be at 51 and Bush at 44, something like that, but figure six points here. But, in the same poll, President Bush carries independents 49-46 and Republicans by a 92-4 margin.
Now, wait a second. How does this compute? If Bush carries independents 49-46 and Republicans by 92-4, how does Kerry have a six-point lead? Because in the same poll, Kerry leads among Democrats by 86-7, not 92-4. With Bush carrying independents by three points in this poll, and holding more of his own party than does Kerry, the Times' sample, in order to give Kerry this lead, has to contain far more Democrats than Republicans! It has to be a weighted survey. They have to have talked to a vast majority of Democrats compared to Republicans and independents in this poll. And in this same poll, they also point out there are three battleground states, and one of them is now Ohio, that Bush is doing much better in and Kerry is in trouble.
The way Ron Brownstein starts this story -- it's amazing, the headline: "Kerry Increases Lead Over Bush," and the first line, lead of the story is pretty much, "Wow, in what is great news for the campaign," I'm paraphrasing, "John Kerry has upped his lead!" And then after that it's everything that you ought to read to say, "Well but don't trust this."
It's just a strange, strange, strange story. I mean, it's worth noting that three major studies show partisan identification in the nation more or less evenly split. You know, for example, the Gallup study, 40,000 interviews in 2003 finds a 45.5 to 45.2 Republican-Democrat split, and ABC News study of 22 surveys in 2003 with a thousand or more interviews each find partisan identification evenly split 31-31. This is Democrat-Republican. And the Pew study of its 2003 survey finds Republicans trailing Democrats by one point, 30-31. This is Democrat-Republican, pretty much evenly split in all three of these surveys. Now, what this tells you is conservatives outnumber liberals in terms much how they identify themselves 2-1 right now. It's like 36-18. Only 18-20% of Americans actually have the courage and the guts and the temerity and the fortitude and the gonads to identify themselves as liberal. Only 18-or-20%.
So throw out this Democrat-Republican business to a certain extent. But this poll is awfully, awfully suspicious, I shall say.
There is no explaining an LA SLimes poll - it's not worth the paper it's printed in.
I guess if Kerry says nothing and is not seen for the next 145 days, he will win by 110%?
a bit long winded - how about - bovine excrement
If all three groups are weighted evenly, Pres. Bush leads Kerry 49-45%. Interesting.
So heck, they'll just tell America that he's popular and hope that the sheeple will begin to believe it.
In the end, its going to be Bush by a 20-point margin.
Well look at it this way.The NYT has admitted it does little or know fact checking, has fired editors and writers for making up stories out of whole cloth. Now as you look at this poll and take your points in consideration. What makes anyone think that the NYT's is the only media source guilty of unethical practices.Ofcourse the poll is a concoction of Sharon Stone's X. i do not believe anything I read in the "major" media anymore. They lie, and then they lie some more.
CBS and the LA Times seem to be in a contest to see which one can produce the most unrealistic poll results. Look for CBS to come out soon with a 20 point lead for JF'nK.
Maybe someone can dig up a post made during the Schwartzenegger campaign where an LAT insider posted that the editors had tasked more than 20 reporters around the clock to follow up on all the women stories of abuse and so on. The message was this activity was for the sole purpose of smearing Arnold.
At the time the LA Times had Schwartzenegger trailing Bustamente by ten points or so. And they never missed an opportunity to suggest his support was eroding.
I wish Rush we had the ability to make off-record contact with LAT employees and get more of the truth about what is really going on in that organization.
But I see more frequent media smears, examples of yellow journalism and attempts to distort the truth coming.
Come on now--it is worth much as an excellent means in which to wrap dead fish...
EXPLANATION FROM THE PRESIDENT'S POLLSTER, MATTHEW DOWD:
"With the avalanche of presidential polls, it's sometimes difficult to tell which ones you can rely on. As usual, BC'04 Chief Strategist Matthew Dowd provides helpful analysis and insight that goes beyond what you'll see in most news accounts. Regarding a new Los Angeles Times poll, Dowd shared the following with MSNBC's First Read:
Bush campaign senior advisor Matthew Dowd tells First Read that the poll "is a mess. Bush is leading independents by three, ahead among Republicans by a larger margin than Kerry is ahead among Dems, and we are down by seven. Outrageous. And it gets worse. They have Dems leading generic congressional ballot by 19. This means this poll is too Democratic by 10 to 12 points."
Having been an IT worker at a Polling Company, I can tell you the data can be manipulated and weighted.
One must read the fine print on the study to verify that the methodology is scientifically sound. Otherwise, it's all spin and opinion.
Private independant polling organizations crush these newspaper and college (Quinnipiac) polling "services".
Go with a private company who MUST be accurate and reliable in order to compete with the heavyweights like Zogby.
SurveyUSA :).. I realize I'm shamelessly plugging these guys all the time. I have no affiliation with them other than I think they are by far your best choice for polling data.
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COLUMNIST [LA Times]
Kucinich, Dennis J
How the L.A. Times' Pro-Bustamante Poll Is Bogus
Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2003
WASHINGTON Two events occurring over the last three days have altered the perception and the reality of California's gubernatorial recall. One, former GOP gubernatorial nominee Bill Simon's decision to quit the race, is real. The other, a Los Angeles Time poll showing Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante at 35 percent, leading the pack of potential replacements, may not be. Yet, and it comes as no surprise, the Times' poll has been the focus of attention.
In a sidebar published with the poll, Times Poll Director Susan Pinkus explained how the poll was conducted. "The Times Poll contacted 1,351 California registered voters, including 801 voters deemed likely to vote, by telephone Aug. 16-21," she wrote.
"The survey was not designed to track shifts in public perception on a daily basis, it did pick up movement toward increased support for the recall as well as increased support for (Arnold) Schwarzenegger's candidacy in the last two days," she says, though the way the results have been spun suggest otherwise.
Pinkus says the entire sample "was weighted slightly to conform with census figures for sex, race, age and education and with registration figures provided by the secretary of state. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish. All racial and ethnic groups are proportionally represented in this survey, even though there may not be enough in the sample to be specifically mentioned."
The sidebar does not explain how the "likely voter" designation was determined.
'People Who Won't Get Anywhere Near a Voting Booth'
The distinction and the methodology are important. As former Clinton adviser James Carville once wrote, "Many pollsters say their surveys are based on nothing but likely voters, when in fact they're including hundreds of people who won't get anywhere near a voting booth on Election Day."
Veteran California Republican strategist Arnold Steinberg makes much the same point about methodology, especially in news polls.
"All the media polls cut corners, to save money," he says. "Their samples are questionable. The first CNN survey was a one-night [Friday night, the worst night] following [Schwarzenegger's] announcement [to run]. The Gallup survey let people vote more than once, and it came to 180 percent. Both polls thus inflated Arnold's numbers."
Even in normal elections the population of registered voters is not a particularly helpful universe from which to draw inferences. Far more people are registered to vote than actually do. With the advent of such franchise enhancers as the so-called motor voter registration, the discrepancy has become wider.
A recall election is unlike any other, drawing higher rates of participation from disaffected voters then from what some political experts call casual or presidential year voters. This makes the category of registered voter an even more unreliable measure.
The poll is also an outlier. Most recent polls had more than half of California voters as being in favor of the recall, with the number trending upward. The Times poll has 50 percent in favor of recalling Gov. Gray Davis, 45 percent voting "No."
The Times has Bustamante leading Schwarzenegger by 13 points, a dramatic shift from the slight lead outside the margin of error the millionaire movie star had in last week's Public Policy Institute of California poll.
"Volatile polls are not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, they're a great way of adding artificial excitement to a boring race," Carville said in the same article. "Hell, why rely on a scrupulous, uneventful poll when you can commission a crappy poll that shows a big overnight swing? A big swing makes big news."
Steinberg has specific concerns about the way the Times' poll was constructed. "[It] claims to adjust for census data. Why on earth would you do so, especially for a special recall election?" he asks.
"The Times poll has the correct placement: Bustamante, Arnold, McClintock. But the Bustamante lead is exaggerated. Moreover, the recall is not presently this close, although the Democrats are consolidating against it. The most telling point is that statewide polling is showing Arnold with upwards of 40 percent unfavorable. That's too high for comfort," Steinberg says.
When the Media Influence Voters and Non-voters
The Times' data show movement toward Schwarzenegger over the last few days of the six-day survey. If several more polls showing a swing toward Bustamante appear in the next few days, then the Times is obviously on to something. The problem is that the national coverage given this poll may cause the behavior, or at least the responses, of the voters to change.
Simon's withdrawal is, in real terms, much more significant.
The former GOP nominee had been running hard at Schwarzenegger from the right, especially on the tax issue. Simon was willing to say, "No, never" to any tax increases. Schwarzenegger refused to go as far. The GOP base typically repudiates candidates who try to establish some kind of carve-out caveat on the issue.
This has not yet happened to Schwarzenegger, perhaps because voter anger at Davis is so strong. With Simon out, some of the pressure coming from the right is off, though state Sen. Tom McClintock, a recognized fiscal conservative, remains in the race.
Bustamante is believed to have the support of the partisan Democrats who will vote on Oct. 7. Independents, Republicans and disaffected voters are presumably up for grabs. The final group in this triad is potentially a powerful voting bloc. The California secretary of state's office reports voter registration has increased since the recall qualified for the ballot.
The Times' poll also says 46 percent of its likely voters could change their mind about whom they will vote for between now and Oct. 7. Recall supporters indicate no desire to change their position on the overall issue. The sentiment is significant.
Bustamante, as part of the Davis-Bustamante administration, is unlikely to win additional support from independents, Republicans and disaffected voters. Bustamante does not get Simon's vote, 6 percent in the Times poll, which is also unlikely to sit out the recall. Consolidation of the field benefits Schwarzenegger, as the leading candidate of the center-right coalition, while hurting Davis and Bustamante.
Analysis by Peter Roff, UPI political analyst and 20-year veteran of the Washington scene.
Also in the recall, the LA Times had a poll where Cruz was leading Arnold by several points while all the other polls had Arnold winning easily. On closer examination of the poll, it showed the Times counting Blacks, Asians and Hispanics, in far higher proportions than they had ever voted before. The poll was obviously fraudulent and dishonest. The LA Times and the general liberal media is not to be believed.
Thanks for the reminder. LA Times polls are agitprop.
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