Sunday, November 11, 2012

Watching the watchmen:
Final 2012 grades for the smaller partisan polls

Public Policy Polling is officially a Democratic partisan poll. Rasmussen Polls is officially not a Republican partisan poll, much in the same way that Fox News is not officially the propaganda arm of the Republican Party.

Which is why Karl Rove is part of their election night news team.

In any case, in the final week of polling, PPP went 33-0 picking both Democrats and Republican winners, while Rasmussen became a shrinking violet, going 5-6, all six losses occurring because they said a Republican would win or it was a tie when the Democrat actually prevailed.

So let's look at the polling companies that have either an [r] or a [d] after their names that don't produce as many polls as the big boys.

Garin Hart Yang [d]: 1-0. This company is a significant reason why my system picked Montana, a race that helped me beat Nate Silver this year.  Thanks, guys.

Keating [d]: 1-0. Keating said Obama by 4 in Colorado, when the actual lead was 4.7% That's nice close work.

Global Strategy [d]: 1-0. They predicted a 7% lead in the Indiana senate race, which finished at 6.6%.Given that the company rounded to the nearest percent and the final answer rounded to the nearest tenth of a percent, this is as close to golden as they could get.

Lake Research Partners [d]: 1-0. Arguably the worst of the Democratic partisans because they were so far from the correct percentage. predicting Obama by 1% when it was actually 4.7%. Notice that this company actually gave Romney more of an advantage than he actually deserved, given the numbers.

Mellman [d]: 4-0. They got it right on the presidential side in Florida, Iowa, Colorado and Virginia. very strong work.

Grove Insight [d]: 6-0. They got it right on the presidential side in Florida, Iowa, Colorado, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin.

Let it here be noted, that none of these companies ever picked a Republican to win. PPP correctly chose six GOP winners on their way to going 33-0.

And now the Republicans.

NMB Research [r]: 0-1. They said it was Romney by 1% in Minnesota. It was Obama by 7.7%. Maybe this is the poll George Will saw when he predicted Mitt would win the Land of 10,000 Lakes and One Big Mistake. 
Glengariff Group [r]: 2-0. This is the best Republican partisan polling result by far, but they picked two easy races, the Michigan senate race and Romney vs. Obama in that same state. Thing is, these were two huge wins for the Dems, roughly 10% for Obama and 21% for Debbie Stabenow, and Glengoniff missed the actual victory margin by about 7% favoring the Republicans each time.

Did I call them Glengoniff? Oops, my bad.  It's easy to look good stinking the place up in races like this.

Kimball [r]: 1-1. Like Glengoniff, Kimball only polled one state, Massachusetts. They were even worse though, missing the actual results each time about about 10%. That means they gave a win to the loser Scott Brown and gave Obama only a 13% margin instead of the 23.2% the people of Massachusetts actually gave him.

Susquehanna [r]: 1-0-1. Another one state poll, Pennsylvania. They said Casey by 1% in the Senate, he won by 8.9%. They said it was a tie between Mitt and Barry, Barry won by 5.2%

Public Opinion Strategies [r]: 1-0-1.  Though they have the unfortunate acronym of P.O.S., for a Republican polling company they almost come up smelling like roses. They polled New Mexico, and missed the Senate by calling it a tie when Heinrich won by 5.6%, they actually did some creditable polling in the presidential race, giving Obama and 8% lead when he actually won by 9.9%.

Wenzel [r]: 1-2. Wenzel polled in the last week in both Ohio races and in Wisconsin presidential. It's odd that they didn't poll Wisconsin Senate as well, but I won't speculate as to why not. The one they got right was Obama winning Wisconsin, though they guessed 2% when it was actually 6.7%. They completely sucked eggs in Ohio, predicting a 5% win in the Senate race when it was a 5.2% loss and picking Romney by 3% when it was Obama by 1.9%

I have already said I will NOT use fudge factors in my system ever, even though I have seen how dishonest the partisan polls can be, especially the Republican side. Though I am a state employee - and so in the view of Pat Sajak a super moocher who does not deserve citizenship - I'm going to go with the free market in this case. People running campaigns in either party need reliable data, and the Republican partisan polls look like blatant puffery. The people who paid for it this time are going to think twice about laying down actual cash for this crap. I also expect that some of these companies will fold in the night and sprout up again, the same crooks using a different name, but then again, that's the free market, too, isn't it? Besides clowns paying for this garbage, there's the question if any news outlet will publish it when the track record this year is made public.

The Republicans have some serious structural problems going forward. They are not producing grumpy old white guys fast enough and a lot of their infrastructure looks to be run by people who think Jack Abramoff just chose unwisely when he selected the people he would fleece. That said, in midterms the turnout goes down, and less people voting is often an advantage for the GOP.

It's now a while off, but stay tuned.


Anonymous said...

Comments are not commentary.

Anonymous said...

Comments aren't commentary.