Friday, May 20, 2016

MAY 2016: CLINTON +6. MAY 2012: OBAMA -3.

This is being touted as a worrisome poll for Hillary Clinton, because the race is tightening:
CBS/NYT national poll: Hillary Clinton's lead over Donald Trump narrows

... Hillary Clinton now holds a six-point lead over Donald Trump, down from 10 points a month ago.
Clinton still leads Trump in the Times/CBS poll, 47%-41%. I'll just point out that in mid-May 2012, Barack Obama trailed Mitt Romney in the same poll, 46%-43%.

Individual polls don't mean much, but the 2012 race, if anything, looked tighter in May than this year's race does. Here are the polls, from Real Clear Politics:

Obama had a few big leads, so he was clearly ahead, but Romney led in seven of the fourteen polls. (Oddly, one of Obama's big leads in May 2012 was in a Fox News poll, which had him up by 7; this week, a Fox poll showing Trump up by 3 is setting off Democratic alarm bells.) This year, there have been six polls in May, including the Times/CBS poll, and Clinton has led in four.

I'm seeing at Politico that Democratic Party insiders are worried about party unity this year. I'm worried too, obviously -- but in the Times/CBS poll, 14% of Democratic primary voters say they won't vote for Clinton, while 12% of Republican primary voters say they won't vote for Trump. That strikes me as a wash.

Now, the Times/CBS poll does tell us that 28% of Sanders supporters say they won't vote for Clinton in November. But (and I'm not the first person to point this out), in a May 2008 Times/CBS poll, only 60% of Clinton supporters said they'd vote for Obama.

Overall, 13% of Democratic primary voters that year said they wouldn't vote for Obama. And, in fact, according to the exit polls in November, 16% of Clinton-backing Democrats actually did vote for McCain. And yet Obama won.

Make of all this what you will. I think I overreacted to polls this week showing Trump in the lead. Trump's best poll, from Rasmussen, is certainly hinky:

All this could get worse. But the averages are still in Clinton's favor.


AllieG said...

A relatively close race with Clinton ahead. This should be no surprise. IMO based on my own hanging up the phone when it's announced it's a poll (Rasmussen called just the other day, and the commercial surveys are 10 times as numerous as political ones) only the MOST politically committed voters respond to any polls. Since the Sanders argument now rests only on him polling better than Hillary, I'm not shocked a significant number of his independent supporters answer polls by saying they won't vote for her in November. They're playing the game for their team, not answering a survey.

Victor said...

Imo, these polls can be discounted until the VP's are chosen, and the conventions held.

And even then, the polls swing until after Labor Day, when non-political junkies wake-up and start to realize that the Presidential election is less than two months away.

Remember, after McCain chose Palin, they held a lead in the polls. And then, McCain fumbled the questions about the evervworsening economy and Palin showed how ignorant and bigoted she was.

So, I'll not panic until after the first debate between Clinton and tRUMP. If she presses the right buttons, he may have a rage meltdown on national TV.

petrilli said...

If you really want to screw the pollsters, don't hang up right away. Do it about half way through the interview. I may be wrong but I don't think a legitimate poll can use any of your answers in an incomplete interview. I say this because I bailed on one once and she begged and pleaded me to stay on and finish.

AllieG said...

Wasting only half of my time doesn't seem productive. I have no beef with pollster. We all have to eat. I just don't want to do it.

Dark Avenger said...

Last paragraph needs a touch-up Steve.

Steve M. said...

Thanks. I added the missing "I."

Victor said...

A smart and experienced pollster will ask for the person's demographic information well before the end.

That's what's critical to the people paying for the poll - political and otherwise.

This also makes the callee think the call is over, so you can get some more questions in, before they get tired of you, and hang-up.

An experienced and smart poll writer, will get the most important questions in the beginning, and the fluff, later.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of shitty poll writers who don't do that. And a lot of the polls I had to read were WAAAAY too damn long. For no earthly reason.

So, I'd get the demographics done early.
You don't need to finish the entire questionaire. Just about a half to two-thirds - as long as you got the demographic info.

That was the 2nd worst job I ever had. The worst, was telemarketing.

Oh, and btw, I'll work with a human calling, since I did that job and know how tough it is.
You robocall me?
Pay some humans, scumbags!

Feud Turgidson said...

It's not 'just' American voters. It's not even restricted to humans. We live in a universe where the arrow of time works off entropy, from simplicity and the illusion of order to complexity and the impression of chaos. In the result, it is impossible to predict the future on matters involving any significant degree of chance and a large element of apparent 'choice', 'favor', or 'whim'. The best that we can do, ASSUMING we have a certain actually rare combination of knowledge, skill and perspicacity, is make predictions based on probability.
MOST of us lack one or more of the necessary knowledge, skill or sense of perspective - which makes MOST of us just TERRIBLE at predicting the future, including predictions on what even our own personal preferences will be.

Now, I can't even know whether or not you will feel enligthened or moved by Sam Wang's "February Model" on the subject of pre-election head-to-head polling in presidential contests, but I do suggest, most humbly, that you CLICK THIS before embedding your thingmebob into your whosewhatsis over this question, particularly since we are now almost 3 full months into the Silly Season, during which all ups looks down, all downs look up, and everything gets under-observed yet over-determined.