Tag Archives: Polling

Push Polling

I posted this one back in 2012.

By now, many poll results have been reported to the public by the media.  Scientific polls were conducted to get those poll results.  Whether you are a Barack Obama, Mitt Romney or third party candidate supporter, you can rest assured that those polls results were compiled in a legitimate manner.  When you see polling companies such as Gallup, Rasmussen, Pew and the like, you know that the poll is credible.  Credibility is something that cannot be said for the push poll.

A push poll is not a real poll.  In fact, those who conduct a push poll are not concerned about the data gleaned from their surveys.  A push poll is conducted in an automated fashion over the phone.  The goal of a push poll is to put a rumor or false inference in the mind of the person who answered the phone.  It designed to sway voters from one candidate to another.  To the untrained voter, they may believe the push poll is a scientific poll.  However, scientific polls usually do not ask questions such as, “How can someone who is Mormon be President if he does not believe in Jesus Christ?” or “If you knew that your candidate for President fathered an illegitimate black child, would you still vote for him for President?”  The first question is being used in Ohio currently by a group that is rumored to support President Obama.  It is designed to harm the Romney campaign.  The second question was asked of primary voters in South Carolina in 2000 regarding John McCain and his non-Caucasian daughter.  The daughter was not black, nor was she illegitimate.  She just happened to be adopted from Bangladesh.  Supporters of then-Governor George W. Bush were have said to be the source of the McCain question.  Those who engage in push polling typically do not leave their calling card as to the identification of the push poll’s source.  They are negative in nature and are designed to destroy political campaigns.  The voter who answers the phone is left questioning whether or not what they heard over phone was valid or not.  Push polls are not valid in any shape or form.  This election season, as the electoral finish line approaches, beware of the push poll and its consequences.

(2012 Question)  What are your thoughts regarding push polls?  (2015 Question)  Have you ever been push polled?  I have…actually twice.  Once in 2010 and another was in 2014.  Both were for races for Illinois Governor.


The Influence of Polls

What Title Do You Look For In A Presidential Candidate?

Presidential Approval Ratings

RCP Data




F rom the Real Clear Politics website, here are the latest polling results in relation to President Obama’s job approval.  Under the “Sample” heading, ‘LV’ means ‘Likely Voters’, ‘RV’ means ‘Registered Voters’, and ‘A’ means ‘Adults’.  Do you foresee his numbers going up any time soon?  For more polling data, please visit the RCP site.  You can also click on the chart for a larger view of the data.

Polling Problems

Polling, the act of measuring public opinion, is not a flawless way of measuring said opinion.  There is always error found in a scientifically conducted poll.  We recognize this as the margin of error.  But what about errors that you can find within the poll’s questions or responses?  Below are three polls that have errors/potential errors within each.  Once you find the error(s), ask yourself, what adjustments could be made to eliminate those errors?

I.  If the election for President were held today, who would you vote for?

Person A (Democrat) 52%
Person B (Republican) 48%

II.  If the election for Governor were held today, who would you vote for?

Person A (Democrat) 35%
Person B (Republican) 45%
Person C (Independent) 20%
Number of People Polled:  1000 Adults
Poll Conducted via landline phone

III.  If the election for Senator were held today, who would you vote for?

Person A (Democrat) 45%
Person B (Republican) 35%
Person C (Independent) 20%
Number of People Polled:  1000 Registered Voters
Margin of Error:  +/- 3%



The Power of the Invisible Primary

It is only 2013 and many Democratic and Republican Party leaders are already testing the waters for a Presidential run in 2016.  Many of those who enter into the Presidential fray will drop out before they even officially run.  The others, who do make it to the 2016 primaries and caucuses, can thank the “invisible primary” for their ability to compete in an electoral format.  The invisible primary or the “money primary” does not involve any voting at the ballot box.  Candidates, however, who want to be considered as viable candidates must do well in the invisible primary.

In the months and years before the first votes are cast, candidates try to woo financial backers into supporting their campaigns.  Monetary contributions separate potential candidates from pretenders.  With more financial backing, a candidate can make the early campaign rounds in states like Iowa and New Hampshire.  Those two states hold the first caucus and first primary respectively every Presidential election season.

The added campaign stops then increases the public’s awareness about that candidate.  The increased public awareness subsequently inflates the candidate’s poll numbers.  Positive polling results also separates the top-tier from the second-tier.  This increases the candidate’s chances on Election Day.

Paul Laxalt
Paul Laxalt

The invisible primary can also eliminate good candidates who may have great ideas, but lack the prowess to raise large amounts of money.  An example of this happening would be the failed 1988 Presidential run of US Senator Paul Laxalt (R-NV).  Considered to be an heir to the Ronald Reagan legacy, Laxalt, who was dubbed, “The First Friend”, entered his name into the Presidential race too late, and dropped his bid in 1987 due to a lackluster four months of fundraising.

What are your thoughts on the invisible primary? Do you see any positives or negatives with the invisible primary?

2012 Exit Polls

boardExit polls are conducted after a person has already voted.  Individuals are surveyed and their answers are then tallied by the pollster who conducted the survey.  The results of those surveys are then compiled and then presented to the public as to how people voted on Election Day.  From these numbers, you can identify the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate’s support and of their respective parties.

Take a look at this example from the 2012 Presidential Election.  Where were President Obama’s and Governor Romney’s main areas of support?  Why would those groups support their candidate in the way that they did?