Thursday, September 27, 2012

Gallup Explains

Gallup is the latest pollster to defend their polls, with a long rambling repetitive non-answer that sheds no light on how they choose their sample, what they weight for, and how they weight it.
So, if one sees a poll saying that Obama is leading Romney by nine points in Florida, then one should ask how likely it is that Obama will exceed his 2008 margin by six points.
What is there to discuss if we ignore party ID? What issues do we discuss? I wish someone could explain to me how I'm supposed to evaluate the results.The pollster argument seems to be that our poll is good because it's good. The major question we should ask is that if they choose to weight for race, gender, and age, as most pollsters do, are all 36 year old White males interchangeable?

The idea that party ID is something fungible that people change from poll to poll seems far-fetched to me. Almost everyone I know hasn't changed their party since I've known them. There are 30 states that have party registration. That is something that is fixed and people will answer with it most of the time when asked the question of what party they belong to.

Most of the people claiming party ID is meaningless try to not answer questions about it, Hugh Hewitt spent a lot of time with Steven Shepard of National Journal before he said this:
SS: I would write that if in a random sample of voters in a given state, or across the country, if 99% were identifying themselves as Democrats, but the poll was adequately weighted according to race, according to gender, according to age, I would look at education, I would look at income. And if everything else checked out, I would say well, maybe there’s an important shift going on.
Simply put that if the demographics of those polled matched up to his perceived Demographic breakdown of the electorate, a poll with 99% Democrats wouldn't be a problem, but recognize that 99% of people are now Democrats.

I'm dumbfounded.

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