CBS’s new poll has Edwards with 30 percent of the vote, followed by Kerry at 18 percent, Sharpton and Clark tied at 11 percent and Dean at 10%. This is far out of line with Zogby and ARG who have Edwards with a slim lead within the margin of error. What gives?
As I’ve written here repeatedly, polling SC Democratic primary voters is bogus because there’s no such thing. South Carolina hasn’t had a significant statewide Democratic primary since 1994. Compare that to the Republicans who had five of them in 2002.
What CBS’s pollster has done is call a random sample of registered voters and asked them “Do you plan to vote in the primary?” And as any pollster will tell you, nearly everyone says “yes,” even if they’ve never voted in a primary in their lives. Pollsters deal with this by using voting records to call people who have voted in most or all of the recent primaries.
Ooops: There hasn’t BEEN a recent primary. Add the fact that South Carolina has open primaries (no party registration) and the pollsters are making total and utter guesses as to who is actually going to show up and vote.