Thursday :: Oct 28, 2004

Los Angeles Times Polls Add More Confusion

by Steve

Another day, another confusing poll for the battleground states.

This morning, the Los Angeles Times released its latest poll for Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. The shorthand version is that the LAT shows Bush with an 8% lead amongst LVs in Florida, Kerry with a 6% lead in Ohio, and tied in Pennsylvania. Needless to say, these results fly in the face of several recent polls in each state, where Zogby, ARG, and Survey USA among others have shown a tightening race in Florida and Ohio, and a Kerry lead in Pennsylvania. Zogby for its part with a larger LV sample shows only a 2% lead for Bush.

Likely Voter Results

Bush: 51%
Kerry: 43%
Nader: 2%

LV Sample Party ID Breakdown
(2000 Exit Poll Party ID Breakdown In Parentheses)

Dem: 41% (40%)
GOP: 43% (38%)
Ind: 16% (22%)

So the LAT LV sample overstates GOP "turnout" by 5% from 2000 (go Jeb go) while understating the number of Independents by 6%. The LAT says that nearly three out of five independents would back Bush and more than a third would back Kerry, which surely must be the lowest Indie support for Kerry in any battleground state.

According to the LAT poll summary, the biggest difference in Florida as compared to Ohio and even Pennsylvania to a lesser extent is that Floridians are more happy with the direction of the country than those in Ohio (an even split between right track/wrong track, whereas in OH, voters are very clear that things are headed in the wrong direction and Kerry is the guy to fix this.

According to this poll, Bush has a 53%-45% job approval advantage in Florida. Yet they also say that surprisingly a fifth of self-identified conservatives will be supporting Kerry, and a fifth of the Democrats will be voting for Bush.

But remember that the latest American Research Group poll done at the same time as the LAT poll with a LV sample that is much closer to the 2000 result (42% Dem, 38% GOP, 20% Indie) has Kerry up by 3% among LVs, with a totally different split of Indies (51% for Kerry, only 43% for Bush) than this LAT poll. So the ARG poll, with its more representative sample from 2000 may be closer to the mark.

Likely Voter Results

Kerry: 50%
Bush: 44%

LV Sample Party ID Breakdown
(2000 Exit Poll Party ID breakdown in parentheses)

Dem: 42% (38%)
GOP: 38% (37%)
Ind: 20% (26%)

So in this sample, the LAT poll overstates Democratic participation from 2000, accurately portrays GOP participation, and understates significantly Indie participation. This is significant because the poll results say that Kerry claims 45% of the Indie vote, which isn’t particularly high.

According to the LAT summary, unlike Florida nearly three fifths of the Ohio sample wants the country steered in a new direction, and Bush has a 47%-51% approve/disapprove job performance rating in this state.

My gut tells me that these results may be slanted a little too much towards Kerry because an ARG poll done at the same time with sample that more closely reflects the 2000 exit poll in party ID shows Kerry with only a 3% lead.

Likely Voter Results

Kerry: 48%
Bush: 48%

LV Sample Party ID Breakdown
(2000 Exit Poll party ID in parentheses)

Kerry: 45% (40%)
Bush: 40% (40%)
Ind: 15% (20%)

Again, it appears that the LAT poll is over sampling for Democrats and under sampling for Indies by an offsetting amount, while nailing the GOP number. Yet in Pennsylvania, this may be a wash because according to the poll summary, Kerry is claiming almost two thirds of Indies.

Taken all together, my reading of these results is that the LAT poll may be credible in Pennsylvania, overstating Kerry’s lead in Ohio, and not credible in Florida. In the big picture though, this is troubling for Kerry, in that if it is true that he has to scrap for Michigan, and if Florida is truly moving Bush's way, then he needs to nail down Pennsylvania and Ohio, and then pick up Wisconsin and other swing states like Iowa.

ARG has new results out today in Wisconsin, Iowa, and other swing states that show how this is possible. ARG reports that Kerry is clinging to a 1% lead in Wisconsin, and is 1% behind in Iowa, a state where other polls have shown him to be gaining of late.

Steve :: 7:00 AM :: Comments (6) :: Digg It!