By Jim Ellis
Nov. 16, 2017
Left: Former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore (R) | Right: Ex-US Attorney Doug Jones (D)
— Last evening’s political news featured heavy coverage of a new National Republican Senatorial Committee poll that produced bad news for Alabama GOP special Senate nominee Roy Moore, but not enough information was released to determine the reliability aspect. In fact, the NRSC didn’t even release the name of the polling company with which they contracted to conduct the survey.
This is significant because their finding that Democrat Doug Jones is leading Judge Moore, 51-39 percent, is clearly out of line with every other poll taken in the corresponding time frame. It is also interesting that they would even release such a poll considering the Republican candidate is doing so badly. It does, however, justify their previous position of cutting the Moore Campaign from additional funding because of the sexual impropriety allegations against the candidate that has dominated recent news coverage.
Below are the post-scandal publicly reported surveys as complied by the Ballotpedia website:
• National Republican Senatorial Committee (Nov. 12-13)
No pollster credited
Jones 51%; Moore 39%
• Fox10 (Mobile) (Nov. 13)
News Strategy Research
Moore 49%; Jones 43%
3,000 Sample (Automated)
• Emerson College Polling Society (Nov. 9-11)
Moore 55%; Jones 45%
600 Polling Sample
• JMC Analytics & Polling (Nov. 9-11)
Jones 46%; Moore 42%
• Decision Desk HQ (Nov. 9)
Moore 46%; Jones 46%
As we can see, the NRSC poll returns the most inconsistent results in comparison to the other available data during the same time frame; the period just after the Moore sexual scandal broke.
Additionally, because the NRSC did not release the name of their pollster or the survey methodology, not enough information exists to determine if their data are skewed in any particular manner.
The lack of available information does not necessarily mean that the Senatorial Committee’s results are inaccurate. It is curious, however, that the other results — and, all have larger sample sizes than the reported NRSC calling universe — finds much different ballot test margins.
Interestingly, the Fox10 poll from a local Mobile television affiliate, which is the latest released survey prior to the NRSC study, and the Emerson College Polling Society find the complete opposite result and their methodologies utilize much larger sample sizes within the studied polling grouping. The Fox10 3,000-person sampling universe clearly suggests that the questionnaire responses were obtained through an automated device, but such does not necessarily mean this poll is less accurate than the live operator polls.
The Alabama race continues to deteriorate, and it is becoming more evident that Jones is now in a strong position to win. But, despite all the negative news coverage, this phantom NRSC poll is the only one that shows him trailing badly.
The other survey to find him dropping behind, from JMC Analytics, featured a sampling universe where 56 percent of the respondents are female, a potential skew in Jones’ favor since this subset broke his way, 46-40 percent. In comparison, men favored the Democrat only 46-45 percent in the JMC crosstabs. Therefore, with a sample where the Democratic-leaning female sector was over-sampled by approximately five percentage points, correcting this skew likely brings the Jones’ 46-42 percent ballot test result back into a tied range.
The NRSC results and partial poll release is intriguing to say the least. Hopefully, we will see more substantiation of their data later today.