Tags: PPP

What Else Is the PPP Survey Firm Not Telling Us?


Tom Jensen of the Democratic-campaign-affiliated polling firm Public Policy Polling:

We did a poll last weekend in Colorado Senate District 3 and found that voters intended to recall Angela Giron by a 12 point margin, 54/42. In a district that Barack Obama won by almost 20 points I figured there was no way that could be right and made a rare decision not to release the poll. It turns out we should have had more faith in our numbers because she was indeed recalled by 12 points.

It’s a free country, and if PPP doesn’t want to release a result, they’re free to eat the costs and keep a survey result to themselves.

But the rest of us are free to wonder just how “rare” it is for PPP to not release a poll, and what other results they’ve withheld from public release. 

From an interview with Tom Jensen, after the 2012 election, which PPP’s final result was quite close to the final results:

DTH: It appears that, while polling is statistical, some of it is gut feeling. Is that true?

TJ: Absolutely. In an era where people’s time is getting more and more precious, and there’s sort of more and more ADD, people just aren’t answering polls the way they used to. And that puts pollsters in a situation where it is getting to a point where the art side of polling is as important as the scientific side of polling.

Everybody’s gut makes mistakes.

Tags: PPP , Polling , Colorado Recalls

PPP’s Sample in Missouri Suddenly Becomes More Heavily GOP


This morning, Public Policy Polling races to tell us that

Missouri voters strongly disagree with the comments Todd Akin made about abortion over the weekend, but it hasn’t moved the numbers a whole lot in the Senate race. Akin leads Claire McCaskill by a single point, 44-43. That’s basically identical to our last poll of the contest in late May, which found Akin ahead by a 45-44 spread.

Boy, that’s surprising. Why, that might be the sort of thing that would persuade Akin he can still win this and that he should stay in the race. Let’s take a look at that sample . . .

Democrat ……………………………………………….. 30%

Republican………………………………………………. 39%

Independent/Other……………………………………… 32%

Wow, R+9? Well, Missouri has been trending red lately, so maybe that’s not that abnormal . . . Let’s take a look at PPP’s survey in this state in late May, when they found Obama leading Romney in Missouri by a point:

Democrat ……………………………………………….. 35%

Republican………………………………………………. 33%

Independent/Other………………………………………. 33%

Wait, the sample went from D+2 to R+9? Gee, does anyone think that a heavily Republican sample might be why Akin isn’t trailing yet?

Anyone suspect that the Democratic polling firm might be trying to get the result they want, to ensure Akin stays in, so that he can get pummeled in November?

Thanks to Number-Cruncher for catching this.

Tags: Claire McCaskill , Polling , PPP , Todd Akin

Obama Leads in Poll Sample With Lots of Democrats


Of all the blue states that could swing to red in 2012, I would put New Mexico pretty far back on the list, behind Indiana, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio, and perhaps a few others. But the GOP did enjoy a bit of a comeback there in 2010, winning the governor’s mansion and a House seat, as well as defeating an incumbent Democratic secretary of state.

The latest poll of New Mexico from Public Policy Polling shows Obama way ahead of any GOP challenger. But to reprise my traditional complaint, the sample looks like it includes a few too many Democrats.

On Election Day 2008, New Mexico’s exit polls showed an electorate that was 52 percent women, 48 percent men.It also showed an electorate that was 44 percent Democrat, 28 percent Republican, 28 percent independent. The latest PPP sample in New Mexico is 54 percent women, 46 percent men, and 55 percent Democrat, 29 percent Republican, and 16 percent independent. While it’s possible that New Mexico’s 2012 electorate will look different from the 2008 one, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where Democrats gain another 11 percent.

Tags: Barack Obama , PPP

NRSC to PPP: We LOL at Your CW


The survey firm Public Policy Polling reports today that Wisconsin Democratic senator Herb Kohl “would begin in a pretty solid position if he did decide to seek reelection. 50% of voters approve of the job he’s doing to 35% who disapprove.”

The National Republican Senatorial Committee responds, “Let’s take a moment to flash back to late November of 2009, when PPP claimed that ‘Feingold looks solid’ heading into 2010. Of course, we all know what happened there . . .”

Well, to give credit to PPP, Kohl does not appear to be a liquid or gas so he is, indeed, solid.

Tags: Herb Kohl , PPP , Russ Feingold

PPP’s President Donated Legal Maximum to North Carolina Democrat Running for Senate


Public Policy Polling is a Democratic firm, and they would argue that they have never hidden that. I note that their polls are often mentioned or cited by media publications that don’t mention their partisan affiliation, a phenomenon that is bothersome, but not really PPP’s fault.

It is a free country, and the folks at PPP are free to donate to whoever they like.

It is interesting, however, that PPP’s president, Dean Debnam, donated the legal maximum, $2,400, to North Carolina Democratic Senate candidate Elaine Marshall. He also donated another $2,400, presumably earmarked for campaign debt retirement; both donations are dated October 18.


(For formatting purposes, I’m breaking the line on the FEC sheet into two boxes.)

The firm’s last poll in North Carolina came out on October 19, and Debnam is quoted in it.

“The good news for Elaine Marshall is that she’s picking up undecided voters and closing the margin against Burr,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “There’s good news for Burr in the poll too though. His support is pretty steady and he’s very close to the 50% mark.”

Of course the release neglects to mention that he is a Marshall donor.

Tags: Elaine Marshall , PPP

Latest PPP Poll Spells Toomsday for Sestak


I’ve given Public Policy Polling some grief about their polls, contending that because they don’t weight for party, many of their polls this year have presumed a throughly unrealistic level of turnout among Democrats.

Well, give them a bit of credit; they have now shifted from polling “registered voters” to “likely voters.” And the results are dramatic:

In PPP’s previous survey of the Pennsylvania Senate race in June, Republican Pat Toomey and Democrat Joe Sestak were dead even at 41% among occasional voters. In the first survey using its likely-voter model, however, PPP now finds Toomey jumping out to a 9-point lead, 45-36, with 20% still undecided.

Their release spends a paragraph trying to explain that they think their sample was too conservative.

Also noteworthy: President Obama’s approval/disapproval splits at 40/55 among likely voters in Pennsylvania.

Tags: Joe Sestak , Pat Toomey , PPP

A Second Look at Those PPP Numbers in California and New Hampshire


I have gotten to the point where when I see good news for a Democrat candidate in the PPP poll, I figure it’s probably just a shift in the partisan divide in their polling sample.

One of my regular correspondents, Number Cruncher, checks in on their latest numbers in New Hampshire:

They blame Palin for the reason why Kelly Ayotte, has lost, four of her seven point lead over Paul Hodes. However, in reading the poll I think a more obvious answer can be deduced once you read the cross-tabs.

First, I checked the “Who did you vote for last time”, I always find this one interesting, because about 6% of people forgot they voted for Obama. This cross-tab is the one I read for my own amusement.

So next we go to Obama personal approvals: While Obama is slipping nationwide, somehow he has made a remarkable turnaround if you trust PPP’s latest poll. In fact his Approve/Disapprove is at a far more respectable 49-47 (+2); in the prior poll it was 47-48 (-1). Could all those polls across the country be wrong? We have a three point turnaround to the positive — hurray the recession is over! I wonder how that would play into Ayotte losing 4 points over April?

Next stops are Party ID and Political Philosophy, both trending more favorably for Democrats and Liberals since the April poll.

PPP Party ID in July: 35% Democrat, 29% Republican, 36% Other (D+6).

PPP Party ID in April: 32% Democrat, 30% Republican, 38% Independent (D+2).

That alone should pretty much tells you why Ayotte lost 4 points. For the record, the exits in 2008 indicated party ID to be Democrat 29%, Republican 27%, and Independent 45%. (D+2).

Next stop: What is your political Philosophy?

In April: 37% Conservative, 20% Liberal, and 43% Moderate

In July: 30% Conservative, 23% Liberal, and 47% Moderate.

So let me get this straight: Liberals have gained 3% and Conservatives lost 7% since April? For the record, the exits in 2008 showed 26% Liberal, 28%, Conservative, and 46% Moderate. In 2004 the exits indicated 30% Conservative, 21% Liberal, and 49% Moderate. Even if PPP argues that their more recent poll is more in line with past elections, it doesn’t change the fact that the reason Ayotte’s polling numbers decreased is that PPP samples 7% less Conservatives and 3% more Liberals. Simply put, its not Palin who caused Ayotte’s polling numbers to go down, rather it’s that PPP sampled more liberals and Democrats this time around than they did in April.

I guess when you’re a partisan pollster you can take a poll and tell whatever story you want. PPP is a Democrat pollster. That being said: I find it interesting that a Democrat pollster is so interested in discrediting Palin from endorsing candidates. If she is truly so polarizing and thus a drain on Republican candidates, why not just keep your mouth shut?

PPP also has a new poll out in California, showing Democrat Jerry Brown leading Republican Meg Whitman in the governor’s race, 46 percent to 40 percent, and Democrat Barbara Boxer leading Republican Carly Fiorina, 49 percent to 40 percent.

Their sample splits 46 percent Democrat, 34 percent Republican, 19 percent independent. The CNN exit poll of the state in 2008 was 42 percent Democrat, 30 percent Republican, 28 percent independent.

An electorate with fewer independents in it would normally be plausible as you change from a presidential election year to a midterm. But more voters are identifying as independents this year, and the economic hard times might mitigate the regular drop-off. It’s not impossible that the California electorate will be more Democratic this year than it was in 2008, but I am skeptical.

UPDATE: A Republican operative well-versed in California politics emails in to contend that there’s a good chance PPP oversampled voters in two groups more likely to favor Democrats in its California poll: Hispanics and African-Americans: “In 2008, Latinos comprised 18 percent of those voting, but 20 percent of those surveyed by PPP were Hispanic. CNN’s exit numbers did show that 10 percent of California voters in 2008 were African-American, but without Barack Obama on the ballot, there’s a good chance that PPP’s 8 percent number could be off, too.”

This individual says that the proportion of Hispanic, and African-American, voters is expected by many California political operatives to be lower than does PPP. I think that interpretation makes sense, but I’m not going to go nuts over a 2 percent shift. I think the party ID is the more troublesome factor in this sample.

Tags: Barbara Boxer , Carly Fiorina , Jerry Brown , Kelly Ayotte , Meg Whitman , PPP

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