Yesterday Hugh Hewitt had Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac Polls, on his program. Besides running often-covered national and state polls, Quinnipiac is now doing swing state polls for CBS and the New York Times.
Hugh homed in on what has been a common objection of recent polls: that while many polls are weighted to ensure that they are roughly proportional to the historical averages for voter turnout by age, race, and gender, they aren’t weighted for party representation. The largest split for an electorate came in 2008 when Democrats enjoyed a seven point advantage nationally; the closest it has been was in 2004 when the parties were evenly split. Unsurprisingly, most swing states have rough parity in their party ID numbers on Election Day — this is what makes them swing states!
But Quinnipiac’s samples in Florida and Ohio had many more Democrats than Republicans; as Hugh put it, in Florida, Quinnipiac’s sample “gave Democrats a nine point edge in turnout. In Ohio, the sample had an eight point Democratic advantage.”
Brown was strangely unresponsive when Hugh pressed him on whether he felt that was a realistic depiction of the likely electorate.
HH: If you held the election today, do you think Democrats would turn out nine percentage points higher than Republicans [in Florida]?
PB: If the election were today, yeah. What we found is obviously a large Democratic advantage.
HH: I mean, you really think that’s true? I mean, as a professional, you believe that Democrats have a nine point turnout advantage in Florida?
PB: Our record has been very good. You know, Hugh, I…
HH: That’s not responsive. It’s just a question. Do you personally, Peter, believe that Democrats enjoy a nine point turnout advantage right now?
PB: What I believe is what we found.