Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Some thoughts on the Florida Polling

I'm getting a bunch of questions today about why our last poll in Florida correctly showed Rick Scott winning while most others had Bill McCollum ahead. I don't know that there is a silver bullet answer to that question, particularly since I don't know much about the demographic compositions of the Mason Dixon and Quinnipiac polls, but here are a couple thoughts just on our end:

-We used a loose screen in determining who to call that may have picked up more non-typical primary voters who went for Scott. Instead of calling a list of people who had a history of voting in past primary elections, as we usually do, we just called folks who had a history of voting in general elections and then screened on voting intent for the primary from there. If the folks who voted yesterday had been exactly the same as the folks who voted in the 2006 primary I imagine McCollum would have won. That's because he was the Republican establishment choice and the kinds of folks who vote in every primary likely went to him. But there were hundreds of thousands more people voting yesterday than in 2006 and my sense is the newbies went strongly for Scott.

-We picked up a Republican electorate that was exceedingly conservative. In 2008 exit polls showed 61% of Presidential primary voters were conservatives. Our poll over the weekend suggested 72% of primary voters this year identified as conservatives. Given that Scott was winning conservatives and McCollum was winning everyone else, identifying that conservative shift in the Republican electorate probably helped contribute to our poll's accuracy.

Those are just a couple thoughts and other folks may have different theories but those are the things that leap to mind for me.

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