Tag Archives: Huffington Post

Stop polling in North Carolina? Never!

The president of Suffolk University Political Research Center made a bit of a splash earlier this week when he said that the center had stopped polling in North Carolina, Virginia and Florida — three swing states.

 “I think in places like North Carolina, Virginia and Florida, we’ve already painted those red,” David Paleologos said. “We’re focusing on the remaining states.”

He later told Huffington Post: Paleologos said that Obama has consistently polled at 47 percent of the vote in the three states, making a win for him “not impossible, but highly improbable,” especially in North Carolina. The state, which Obama carried in 2008, is currently trending red, and several pollsters agree that it’s one of the strongest battleground states for Romney.”

The good folks at the Huffington Post asked Elon University Poll Director Ken Fernandez his thoughts.

“We’ve seen the lead changes in North Carolina a dozen times and results have almost always been within the margin of error. I don’t think you will see many well-funded polling organizations pulling out of North Carolina, Florida, or Virginia,” he said.

Fernandez noted that pollsters with limited time and money might choose to focus on different states, but “it seems premature to make a methodological decision based on a single campaign event and poll change,” he said.

Fernandez pointed to 1948, when Gallup stopped polling two weeks before the election and predicted that Thomas Dewey would defeat Harry Truman. “When you make such a decision with incomplete information, you are increasing your chances of being wrong, very wrong.”

The Elon University Poll isn’t abandoning North Carolina. It goes into the field with another statewide poll later this month.

— John Robinson

North Carolina is first!

It appears as if the first two votes cast in the 2012 presidential election were cast in North Carolina, thanks to absenttee ballots. Is there significance to that?

No.

But the Huffington Post reports: The number of absentee ballot applications is down by nearly half from 2008. In 2008, election officials had received 37,539 applications compared to 20,695 in 2012, or 45 percent fewer applications. The number of applications from registered Republicans is down more than Democrats, which are also down. The percentage of registered Republicans declined by 55 percent while the percentage of registered Democrats declined 35 percent. Thus registered Republicans composed 51 percent of the earliest absentee ballot applications in 2008 and 42 percent in 2012.

In other news from the world of polling, we present what we hope is the last of the post-convention polls. Gallup reports that Americans liked the Democratic National Convention more than the Republican National Convention.

But:  At the same time, a relatively high 38% of Americans say the convention made them less likely to vote for Obama, resulting in a net impact rating of +5, which is on the low-end of Gallup’s historical comparisons.

And finally, it appears Americans are judging the election as a choice between two candidatesrather than a referendum on President Obama’s first term.

A majority of voters say their opinion of Obama has gotten worse since he took office, the poll found.

Forty-one percent said they have a “much worse” view of Obama now than in 2008; 11 percent said their opinion is “slightly worse,” while 38 percent overall said their view of him had improved.

By contrast, a near-majority of voters — 47 percent — say their view of Romney has improved as they have learned more about him, compared to 39 percent who said their opinion of the GOP candidate has become worse.

Friday’s trending topics

Presidential prospects — Mark Blumenthal at Huffington Post examines polls in battleground states and determines that “the results show Obama running slightly better now than at a comparable points in the 2008 election.” (North Carolina isn’t mentioned.) And he notes that it’s a looooong time until November.

Digital teens — Do you know how to Skype, iChat or Googletalk? According to the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project, 37% of Internet users age 12-17 do.

 

Does the poll today predict the election?

From CBS News todayMitt Romney has closed the gap with President Obama among registered voters, a CBS News/New York Times poll released Wednesday found, putting the former Massachusetts governor in a dead heat with the president for the White House.

How important is this pronouncement?  It’s at the top of both the Times’ and CBS’s websites. The media love polls like this that track likely voters and how they might vote were the election held today. But in the scheme of things? Hard to tell. In mid-April, they aren’t the greatest  predictor of November election results.

According to “The Timeline of Presidential Election Campaigns: How Campaigns Do (And Do Not) Matter,” a forthcoming book by Robert S. Erikson and Christopher Wlezien, the accuracy of these national horse-race polls isn’t high right now.

The Huffington Post, which has seen the book, explains: In late October, polls will be highly predictive of the outcome, but now, with more than 200 days remaining until the election, the predictive accuracy of polling is less than 50/50.

Check back in October.

P.S. For the record, the Elon University Poll doesn’t do horse-race polling. It surveys opinions of North Carolina residents on issues, not on who they are going to vote for.

— John Robinson

Spreading the word on fracking

Last week, we published poll results that indicated that most North Carolinians don’t know enough about fracking to have an opinion on its worth. Here are two pieces of news just out that may inform them.

From The Atlantic: A new United States Geological Survey study has found that middle America between Alabama and Montana is experiencing an “unprecedented” and “almost certainly manmade” increase in earthquakes of 3.0 magnitude or greater. In 2011, there were 134 events of that size. That’s six times more than were normally seen during the 20th century.

Some environmentalists are blaming fracking. But the Atlantic article notes: The USGS scientists aren’t willing to draw the causal connection between fracking and earthquakes. “While the seismicity rate changes described here are almost certainly manmade, it remains to be determined how they are related to either changes in extraction methodologies or the rate of oil and gas production,” they conclude.

Meanwhile, the Huffington Post reports that Matt Damon is going to star in an anti-fracking movie called “The Promised Land.” Shooting is scheduled to start later this month.

The next step in North Carolina is expected next month when the General Assembly convenes for its short session. 

— John Robinson