Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Can You Scratch That Itch? New Poll Shows Mixed Results

A new poll released today by Public Policy Polling, gives Republicans and Democrats things to cheer...and cry about.

Obama is shown as leading his Republican rival, John McCain, 48-46. I believe this is the first poll in quite some time to show Obama ahead of McCain in the state.

The big scratch event appears to be the Governor's race. Republican Governor Daniels leads by a whopping 21 points in the poll, 57-36. This is in contradiction to several recent media polls showing Democrat Jill Long Thompson only down 1 to 4 points. It should be noted that it is extremely rare for a Democrat presidential candidate to run ahead of the Democrat candidate for Governor. It hasn't happened since 1976. It looks like it will happen this time.

Polling in a more baseline race, Attorney General, shows Democrat Linda Pence leading Republican Greg Zoeller 42-39. The other poll I saw in this race had Zoeller up 10 points. My guess is that Pence will run 2-3 points above the Democratic baseline in the state. Guessing what that baseline will be is the challenge.

For Superintendent of Public Instruction, Republican Tony Bennett has a 38-36 lead over Richard Wood. That is even more of a baseline race than the AG's race. Probably less than 10% of the voters know the names of the candidates. Whenever I hear the names of the two parties' candidates for this position, I chuckle.

The methodology used for this poll is not quite clear, though they did use a "likely voter" screen. While that's a good thing to do when polling in most elections, in a high turnout election like this, it's likely to narrow the voters too much, to the benefit of Republicans. 1,411 likely voters were surveyed on October 18th and 19th. The poll has a margin of error +/- 2.6%.


Anonymous said...

Might this stuff be more goaling than opinion polling?

Paul K. Ogden said...

I'm not sure. I've never seen polls so wildly all over the place. This poll has Obama atwo points ahead, but JLT 21 points behind. That would me there's going to be about a 23 point difference between the two top races on the ballot. That's highly unlikely to happen. While I think Obama will run ahead of JLT, it won't be by any 23 points.

Other polls show JLT's deficit against Daniels, to be a few points, just like Obama's. My gut instinct tells me if the election were held today, Daniels would win by about 6 points, which would be a pretty solid win in the face of what I expect will be a Democrat tidal wave which is going to takeout a couple Hoosier Republican congressman.

Of course that is my prediction today. I'll make my actual predictions when the election gets closer.