Posts Tagged ‘Polling’
In the past two weeks, Republican Christine O’Donnell has narrowed Democrat Chris Coons’ lead in Delaware’s U.S. Senate race from 19 points to 10 points. The latest Monmouth University Poll finds Coons has the support of 51 percent of likely voters to 41 percent for O’Donnell. Two weeks ago, this race stood at 57 percent to 38 percent.
O’Donnell has actually pulled into a 49 percent to 43 percent lead in the southern part of the state (i.e. Kent and Sussex counties). Two weeks ago, this region of the state was divided at 47 percent for O’Donnell and 46 percent for Coons. The Democrat continues to hold a sizable advantage in New Castle County, but the current 56 percent to 36 percent margin is down from the 63 percent to 33 percent edge he held earlier this month.
O’Donnell has also made gains among independent voters, now leading Coons 47 percent to 42 percent among this voting bloc. Two weeks ago, she trailed in the independent vote by 51 percent to 41 percent.
“While Coons still has the advantage, it has to be uncomfortable knowing that O’Donnell was able to shave nine points off his lead in just two weeks. The interesting thing is that while her vote total has risen, the majority of Delaware voters still say she is unqualified for the post,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.
The poll found that just 35 percent of likely voters in Delaware feel that Christine O’Donnell is qualified to be a U.S. senator, while 56 percent say she is unqualified. That contrasts with their opinion of Chris Coons, who 65 percent say is qualified for the U.S. Senate to 25 percent unqualified. These qualification results for O’Donnell and Coons are basically identical to the Monmouth University Poll results from two weeks ago.
However, O’Donnell has seen some improvement in voters’ opinion of her personally, while Coons’ rating has dropped. O’Donnell is now viewed favorably by 34 percent of the electorate and unfavorably by 51 percent. Two weeks ago, this stood at 31 percent favorable to 58 percent unfavorable. Coons has a 45 percent favorable to 39 percent unfavorable rating, compared to a 50 percent favorable to 33 percent unfavorable rating two weeks ago.
While the Senate election has experienced some movement, there has been little change in the race for Delaware’s at-large House seat. The poll finds Democrat John Carney holding a 51 percent to 44 percent lead over Republican Glen Urquhart in the race to fill the vacant House seat. That marks a slight narrowing of the gap from Carney’s 53 percent to 44 percent margin two weeks ago.
Delaware voters’ personal ratings for the two major party House candidates have remained fairly stable. Carney has a 46 percent favorable to 28 percent unfavorable rating, with 26 percent offering no opinion. Urquhart has a 38 percent favorable to 27 percent unfavorable rating, with 35 percent offering no opinion.
The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone with 1171 likely voters from Oct. 25 to 27, 2010. This sample has a margin of error of + 2.9 percent.
I always hated poll stories. To me, they were a poor substitute used by news organizations for genuine investigative reporting, which is much harder to do than to hire a pollster to ask silly questions. But they populate our media every week, giving some political junkie on either side of the aisle to parade around for a few days to say “Look, most people think like me!”
Today brings another example of a poll that for this news cycle will bring joy to the right, but is so meaningless its embarrassing.
CNN Opinion Research Poll interviewed 1,136 adult Americans, including an oversample of African-Americans, by telephone by Opinion Research Corporation on July 31-Aug. 3, 2009. The margin of sampling error for results based on the total sample is plus or
minus 3 percentage points.
On Question 3, pollsters asked, “Do you consider the first six months of the Obama administration to be a success or a failure?” Fifty-one percent said “success,” 37 percent said “failure,” 11 percent said “too soon to tell,” and 1 percent had no opinion.
Then it compares a similar poll conducted in August 2001 about then-President George Bush. Fifty-six percent said “success,” 32 percent said “failure,” 7 percent said “too early to tell,” and 5 percent said they had no opinion.
Quickly, this was touted on Drudge as “CNN POLL: After 6 Months, More View Obama Presidency a ‘Failure’ Than Bush…” and on RealClearPolitics as “After 6 Months, More View Obama’s Presidency as a ‘Failure’ Than Bush’s.”
The problem is, only 11 percent got it right this year, as compared to 7 percent in 2001, and now the poll is being touted as proof of Obama’s failure as a president.
You can’t judge any president as a success or failure after six months. It’s ludicrous. We like stories that nurture this instant gratification world. It’s easy to put a number on a president’s success or failure and say “Here it is!” But in reality, Obama’s policies will only be judged for their effectiveness decades down the road.
Six months into Abraham Lincoln’s first term, all 11 states in the South had seceded; the battle of Bull Run had been a disastrous loss, and the country was in the first days of its ugliest war. If we had polls back then, I would imagine his numbers would be worse. But I would also doubt anyone now thinks of Lincoln as a failure — at any point in his life.
You simply cannot judge a president’s success on only six months of work. Sometimes a president’s impact can only be seen through the light of history. Heck, even Nixon is getting kudos for some of his accomplishments 40 years after the fact.
Instead of spending the money on a poll, CNN should do some of the hard work no one else seems to want to do. A start could be actually getting a few reporters to read through the thousands of pages in the various health-care bills, and get insurance and health experts together to analyze them. Then report on what each bill would really do to Americans. Heck, that’s more than our congressmen are doing. It’s harder work, but it’s better journalism.