The Campaign Spot

This Fishy Tied Poll Leaves Some Fit to Be Tied

The closing note of today’s Jolt:

ADDENDA: Once a media institution has sold for a dollar, the affiliated polling unit tends to punch at a lower weight class. You figure if Newsweek really is in financial dire straits, polling would have been the first thing to go; it’s not like we don’t know what to expect from it.

2008: “Obama now leads McCain by 13 points, 53 percent to 40 percent. Among likely voters, Obama’s lead is similarly strong, 53 percent to 41 percent.” Actual split: 53/46.

2006: “If the elections were held today, 54 percent of likely voters say they would support the Democratic candidate in their district versus 38 percent who would vote for the Republican-a 16-point edge for the Democrats.” Actual split: 52/44.

Their latest: “As Democrats prepare for considerable losses in the November elections, there’s reason to believe the party in power may not be headed for the bloodbath it might expect.”

But Todd Eberly, an Assistant Professor in the Poli-Sci Department of St. Mary’s College of Maryland dismantles the latest effort: “Democrats are winning 90% of the Democratic vote and Republicans are winning 94% of the Republican vote – Independents favor Republicans by a 45% to 33% margin – resulting a 45% to 45% tie…   Something seem fishy? It should. Consider the [stated] breakdown by party – 284 Republicans, 280 Democrats and 247 Independents – that’s 33% Republican, 33% Democrat and 29% Independent (a few folks must have reported no party).  It is mathematically impossible for Democrats and Republicans to be tied at 45% if each party is receiving similar shares of their own party vote, but Independents prefer Republicans by 12 points.  If Democrats are winning a few less of their own votes as compared to the GOP, and they are losing Independents – they simply cannot be tied.”

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