In my last blog post I warned readers to be careful with the latest Elon poll. The methodology is unorthodox for political polling. The results are legitimate but using it as a comparison to other polls or as analysis of the 2008 elections can be dangerous. You are comparing apples and oranges.
On Friday two friends told me they heard on the radio that John Edwards was behind in North Carolina. I’m not sure who reported that, but it was probably either WPTF or WUNC.
According to the Elon poll, Edwards was behind, sort of. He was behind according to an open-ended question asked to all adults, not just voters—or even likely voters—or even likely primary voters.
So any thought that Edwards’ campaign was faltering in his home state would be an overreaction to these poll results. Newspapers and TV did a better job not hyping an anti-Edwards theme. Examples here, here, here and here. But I did find one station, WXII, that ran this headline on an internet news story “Poll: John Edwards Trails in NC.”
I would have preferred that news sources also explain how this methodology was different from other polls too. For example, the approval ratings of President Bush and Senator Elizabeth Dole are a much different measure than those from Civitas and PPP polls, which interview only likely voters.