Monday, June 9, 2014

Those California Polls

Before the election I was critical of several California polls. My main criticism wasn't that they had the wrong electorate or too high a turn-out. While I agreed with those, I let others do that. My big criticism was that they didn't include all the candidates. Here was the SurveyUSA poll.

Jerry Brown (D) 57%
Tim Donnelly (R) 18%
Neel Kashkari (R) 11%
Another Candidate 4%
Undecided 10%

Not bad? They'll come close on Jerry Brown and even though they have Donnelly and Kashkari reversed they showed Kashkari surging. The LA Times/USC poll was even closer. Of course their undecideds "broke" for "someone else." The problem with this method occurs when there are more significant candidates than the ones depicted. Here's the SurveyUSA Controller poll.

Ashley Swearengin (R) 31%
Betty Yee (D) 24%
John Perez (D) 18%
Another Candidate 8%
Undecided 18%

By not polling David Evans they miss a serious candidate, underestimate the total Republican vote while also overestimating Ashley Swearengin's support. Their Secretary of State poll was worse.

Alex Padilla (D) 48%
Pete Peterson (R) 32%
Another Candidate 9%
Undecided 11%

They pretty much hit on Peterson, but by only polling one Democrat, they miss three Democrats taking 22% of the vote, as well as a Republican, an NPP, and a Green getting a share. So Padilla is way overinflated. Californians clearly had many choices for these statewide offices and they spread those choices out. You wouldn't have known that was happening from these polls.

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