Wednesday, May 21, 2014

SUSA California State Poll is Worthless

A bunch of California TV stations pooled their money together and paid Survey USA for a truly terrible poll. There are two obvious reasons for this. The less important one is that the poll is the sample is 47% Democratic/29% Republican. This is a more Democratic sample than actual California registration and more Democratic than any November electorate. While it's certainly worth an argument that California may eventually have an electorate this Democratic in a November election, June primaries are always far more Republican due to low Democratic turn-out. Paul Mtichell, the premiere Democratic campaign analyst in California, predicts a 44%D/37%R turn-out. So the results of this survey skew very Democratic.

What's a really big deal is that they chose to only poll 3 candidates for governor, 3 for controller, and 2 for secretary of state. There will be 15 Gubernatorial, 8 Secretary of State, and 6 Controller candidates on the ballot. The includes indicted state senator Leland Yee for Secretary of State. When you're polling to find out who'll finish top two and poll only 2 or 3 candidates, those candidates will poll best. The number of people choosing "another candidate" is going to be far smaller than the actual election will be with actual names.

By not providing a Democratic, Green, or even NPP alternative to Jerry Brown, Brown gets 90% of the Democratic vote. By not providing the names of any of the four other Republicans on the ballot, Neel Kashkari gets all the non-Donnelly Republican vote in the survey. Kashkari trailed all four of them previously. It'd be nice to know if he's actually surging and has taken votes away from these candidates. Yet even without them on this survey he doesn't come close to passing Tim Donnelly for second place.

Ashley Swearingin is unlikely to lose enough votes to fellow Republican David Evans to finish third, but without Evans' name on the ballot, we'll never know if she's in danger. They do include Democrats Betty Yee and John Perez, so at least we get to see how they're doing relative to one another. Yee continues to lead Perez, despite Perez's cash advantage. Yee dominates Perez among women. There is a third Democrat, unknown Tammy Blair. She's also a woman. Would she take enough of the female vote from Yee to put Perez in top two.

The biggest joke is the Secretary of State question. They provide two names and, surprise, they finish first and second. They could've provided any two names on the ballot and those two would've finished first and second. Everyone expects Padilla to beat fellow Democrat Derek Crossman, but how can we know if he will if Crossman's name isn't included? Ex-Republican Dan Schnur is running as an NPP, hoping to get enough Republican and independent votes to make top two. He's not included either.

I hope for a better poll.

Edit: It's been pointed out on Twitter that they contacted 1,000 people and determined 610 voted or were likely to vote. A 61% turnout would be unprecedented. The predictions are less than half of that.

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