Monday, November 30, 2009

Why Harry Reid's position may not be quite as bad as it looks

There is no doubt Harry Reid is in a pretty precarious position for reelection next year, but his situation may not be quite as bad as recent polling suggests.

That's because Nevada was the most poorly polled swing state in 2008 and the error all skewed in a Republican direction. Only one pollster (congratulations AP!) ever showed Obama up by his 12 point margin of victory. Only two others (Zogby and Suffolk) even came within four points of getting Obama's margin right and most (including us) were off by 7-8 points.

The three polling companies that have been most active in Nevada this year, showing Reid's vulnerability, have been Research 2000 (underestimated Obama by 7 last year) and Mason Dixon and Rasmussen (underestimated Obama by 8 points.)

I don't know if any of them have changed anything about their Nevada polling after last year, but if not it's possible that Democratic performance in the state is still being shortchanged by the polls.

Nevada is the only closely contested state I can think of last year where the pollsters were not only pretty universally off, but also pretty universally all off in the same direction. When we went back after the election to see where we went wrong it seemed like the culprit was significantly under measuring Obama's share of the Hispanic vote. Nevada is also one of the fastest growing states in the country and that could trip up pollsters as well, especially ones like us who sample based on past voting history.

Just something to keep in mind on the Reid polling.


Elliot said...

Well, the same was true of New Mexico (to a lesser extent) although it is worth mentioning that PPP was the only pollster to correctly predict that Obama would win by 15%+

Maybe it has something to do with the Hispanic vote (I think that was something else that many pollsters hadn't counted on, Obama did best among hispanics from Nevada iirc).

political forum said...

I think the polling thus far looks bad for Reid. Even though he's neck and neck with Angle, he should be ahead. With all Angle's extreme positions, if he hasn't put her away by now is it really possible for his attack ads to turn people away? He should still continue to do the attack ads, but I just would have thought that they would have dispatched Angle by now.

- Kevin

Anonymous said...

Here in Reno there is a very large Hispanic population who are appalled by Sharron's extremely racist ads. When even Sharron's Hispanic relative was shaken by the ads, you can only imagine how the rest feel. Students on the UNR campus were overwhelmingly behind the reasonable and moderate Sue Lowden, not Sharron Angle, and many others are working under projects funded by Harry Reid, so a large majority of UNR students will be voting for Harry. A working UNR student I know has a daughter born with a birth defect who was instantly considered with a "pre-existing condition" by her insurance company (pre-existing before birth, it seems), so she will DEFINITELY vote for Harry. These two groups, both hard to reach with old phone records and driver's license records, will push Harry over the edge. Little old religious ladies, with enough Halliburton stock to not need Social Security, will still vote for Sharron.

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