A few days ago, we talked about many reasons why Democrats shouldn’t take any of the recent polls seriously. But today, CNN released a number of polls in which the indirectly show why we shouldn’t trust any poll that is coming out prior to this election.
As you all know, according to polls, Republicans are in good shape to take over the House and to cut down the Democrat’s lead in the Senate. And today, CNN released polls from Wisconsin, West Virginia, Washington and Delaware.
As predicted, Coons is dominating O’Donnell in Delaware. In both West Virginia and Washington, the Democratic candidates, Joe Manchin and Pat Murray respectably, are starting to creep ahead of their Republican opponents. And in Wisconsin, Democratic Senator Russ Feingold still trails Ron Johnson 52% to 44%.
Or does he?
Here is the polling data from the CNN polls.
While we can look at all of the polls, which all will demonstrate my point, lets specifically look at the Wisconsin poll. In this document, go to page 33. On this page, we see the age breakdown of the people polled. This is what you should see:
35-49: Johnson leads 58% to 37%
50-64: Johnson leads 50% to 48%
65+: Johnson leads 54% to 45%.
Ok, do you notice the HUGE hole in this poll. Seriously, there is NO data whatsoever on voters between the age of 18 and 34? CNN expects that nobody between those ages are going to vote?
Well, of course not. As has been mentioned in other articles, it is harder to poll people between these ages because very few of them have landlines nowadays. Therefore, it is nearly impossible to get an accurate poll of any race.
But at least we have some old exit polling data to look at in regards to this race. In 2006, 17% of the electorate were ages 18 to 29. That, of course, doesn’t include the 30 to 34 year-olds, which adds, probably, another 2% to 3%. And in the 2006 exit poll from the Wisconsin Senate race, 69% of the 18 to 29 year olds voted for Herbert Kohl (true, he did win his election by a massive amount).
But in all of these CNN polls conducted, there is no data for 18 to 29 year olds. Therefore, both Pat Murray and Joe Manchin could be leading by even a bigger margin.
But what does this say about polls in other closer states like Nevada and Colorado. In both of these states, the Republican candidates have only been leading by a few points, usually within the margin of error. And, like in the case of the CNN polls, if 18 to 34 year olds are not being polled, are the Democrats actually leading in these races? This could easily be the case.
Of course it is a good news story to say that this election is neck-and-neck. But to release incorrect polling data to get a better story…is that right?
In these CNN polls, the margin of error is +/- 3.2% But with these missing numbers, which usually favors Democrats, the margin could be as high as 8% to 10%. Therefore, Feingold could be in the lead, but we really won’t know until Election Day.
So, if you are looking at the polls, and they are excluding the 18 to 34 year-olds like the CNN polls do, you could easily add about 2% to the Democratic candidate while taking away 2% from the Republican candidate. Therefore, if you were to look at a “more realistic” number in this race, Feingold is still losing 50% to 46%. But with the margin of error being 3.2%, Feingold is getting much closer.
In races that are close, but still have the Republicans ahead, don’t be surprised if the Democrats actually win the races.