Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Ron Paul for President

His supporters are out there. Here is a question we got by email from a reader…

Why are you ignoring Ron Paul? He was there with the other nine on stage.

That’s a good question. We have had to leave out many candidates from our presidential tracking polls; five Democrats and up to eight Republicans. Mostly it was just an executive decision. The more candidates we add the longer the poll takes to complete and reduces our response rate. More choices also increase the chance of error in pressing the wrong button for the respondent. Most people are going to pick a top-tier candidate so we think it is better to make sure that count is accurate.

Additionally, the non top-tier candidates just don’t have enough support to merit their inclusion in the polls. One or two percent for each is not going to better inform us about the status of the race. The “other candidate” option in our latest poll, theoretically the support for all of those other candidates combined, was lower than the lowest performing named candidate.

On the Republican side it is also a matter of technology. With our IVR technology we can only have 10 response categories-- touch tones 0 through 9. But there are up to 12 Republican choices (Giuliani, F. Thompson, McCain, Romney, Gingrich, T. Thompson, Brownback, Huckabee, Trancedo, Paul, Hunter, and Gilmore) plus the undecided category.


Phillip Rhodes said...
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Phillip Rhodes said...

That's a pretty disingenuous answer. It's far too early to suggest leaving a candidate out because of their performance in polling... Now is the time when the lesser known candidates are simply trying to get their names out to the people. And the media should be aware of the extent to which they affect the outcome of elections, by the way they cover them. Every poll which leaves off a candidate because the editors have already made a value judgment about that candidates viability, actually serves to diminish that viability. Can you say "self fulfilling prophecy?"

Additionally, regarding the IVR problem: there are NOT 12 Republican candidates, last I heard. Unless the news has broken very recently, neither Fred Thompson nor Newt Gingrich is a candidate for the Republican nomination.

Will Cubbison said...

If you include undecided, then there are 11 choices. If you choose undecided and none of the above then it is 12. I dont think that is disingenuous.

Justin Guillory said...


I agree with you about the viability question, and in a perfect world I would like to ask a poll question including every candidate.

But with our methodology we don't have unlimited choices, nor do we have unlimited time to keep people engaged.

And we certainly were not going to add some lower-tier candidates and not others, that would be unfair.

This is our best effort.

Phillip Rhodes said...

Blue South: Ok, fair enough, but allow me to point out that you can have more than 10 choices in an IVR menu anyway. One can use the * and/or # keys, and/or multi-tone combinations to represent the additional choice.


I can understand that decision, even if I disagree with it. I don't accept the notion that there *are* "upper tier" or "lower tier" candidates, at least not at this point in the game. At least not beyond the degree to which the media anoints candidates as such and "perception is reality."

Will Cubbison said...

Its not the only thing by any stretch, but money is a big indicator of support and organization levels.

I think there very clearly is an upper tier and a lower tier. But, the good thing about these polls (from my perspective) is that if Paul or Biden or Brownback or Dodd or anyone starts to get some serious traction then its easy to add them in and see what their numbers look like.

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