Tag Archives: Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group

Polling Acceptability Standards Measured Across States

By Jim Ellis

April 15, 2021 — Five key Democratic pollsters recently released a report from a post-election meeting held to determine why their 2020 survey results again so often fell below acceptable accuracy standards.

Go to Democracy Docket to see all results by clicking on image above.

Representatives from the Democratic polling firms of ALG Research, Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group, GBAO Strategies, Global Strategy Group, and the Normington Petts firm met to develop a plan to correct some of their methodological flaws in order to provide more accurate information to their clients and the public in future elections.

Their key conclusion was that, generally, the polling community failed to accurately depict enough conservative/right-of-center vote coming from rural areas. They make the point that in politically changing places like Arizona and Georgia, the aggregate data was quite accurate, but they collectively missed in more rural Republican-leaning states such as Iowa.

While the polling firm reps stressed the point that their collective numbers were strong in the metropolitan areas, there seems to be, however, a further detail left unsaid or possibly unnoticed. That is, the polling community seemed to correctly project the outcomes in states that have one large central metropolitan area that is self-contained within a single media market such as Arizona (Maricopa County), Colorado (Denver Metro), Georgia (Atlanta Metro), and Nevada (Clark County), but not in states with diverse geographical configurations.

While the firms tended to miss by relatively large margins in rural states like Montana, and particularly so in that state’s Senate race, they also seemed to fare poorly in places where the population is more evenly spread and have several metropolitan areas. States in this category include several in the Midwest such as Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin, along with Florida, a major Sun Belt state.

In the latter place, while the polling was relatively accurate from a margin perspective, the aggregate polling community has consistently missed projecting the main Florida statewide winner(s) in every election since 2014. In each case, Democrats were predicted to win with a close margin while in actuality the Republican candidates claimed the election.

The charts below detail the states hosting the most competitive races and present the mean average polling during 2020 campaign’s final week. This average is then compared with the state’s final results. Notice that in places such as Michigan and Pennsylvania, culling the Democratic research firms from both the Republicans and the local pollsters – the latter of which in many places performed better than the national firms, i.e., in Maine, Iowa, and Kansas – drastically changes the average.

The Democratic pollsters’ meeting primarily revolved around presidential polling because of their uniform belief that former President Donald Trump had such a strong effect, both positive and negative, upon the electorate.

The Senate contests, however, contained some of the bigger polling misses. The most egregious is Maine, where the last week polling average showed Sen. Susan Collins (R) trailing by 5.7 percentage points when she would prove victorious with an 8.6% margin. Once more, we see a big miss in a largely rural state.

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House Polls: Developing Trends

By Jim Ellis

Oct. 6, 2016 — A number of important House polls have already come into the public domain this week and, together, they provide us some clues about what we can expect in November.

New surveys across the country from east to west, beginning in New Jersey and New York, then traveling through Iowa, and into Nevada and California provide some good news for certain Democratic challengers, but not nearly enough to make a sizable dent in the 59-seat Republican majority.

For the Democrats to make any credible run at the GOP majority, they must score multiple seat gains in New York, Florida, and California, plus taking back what should be Democratic seats in Iowa and Nevada.

Their run against seven-term incumbent Scott Garrett (R-NJ-5) appears to be gaining serious legs. The Democrats are pounding Garrett for his social issue views, and the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) finds itself in a difficult position about whether to help an incumbent who withheld his own party dues because the committee supports gay candidates.

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Senate: Critical States, Critical Polls

By Jim Ellis

Sept. 13, 2016 — New polls were just released in states that will define which party controls the Senate in the next Congress.

Five polls, four from Quinnipiac University, are now in the public domain from Florida, Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania. If these latest polls prove correct, the Senate majority would be decided in Nevada and New Hampshire, two toss-up states that were not included in the released data.

Florida

The first Q-Poll gives further evidence that Sen. Marco Rubio (R) is expanding his slight lead over Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Jupiter). According to the data from Quinnipiac’s September Florida statewide poll (Aug. 31-Sept. 7; 601 likely Florida voters), Sen. Rubio has extended beyond the polling margin of error and now records a 50-43 percent advantage.

Any problem he had with Republicans based upon his poor Florida performance against Donald Trump in the March 15 presidential primary appears to be resolved. This Q-Poll finds him attracting 89 percent of Republicans as opposed to losing just six percent of them. This brings him to partisan parity with Rep. Murphy, who captures the Democratic vote with a similar 91-7 percent. Rubio is doing very well among Independents, taking this group 53-37 percent.

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Senate Trends

By Jim Ellis

Aug. 15, 2016 — A plethora of new swing state Senate polls have been conducted and already released in August, and both parties are getting some good news in specific races.

The two states ripe for electing a senator from a different party are Illinois and Wisconsin. Such has been known for the better part of a year, and the latest polls are no exception to the developing trends.

Illinois Senate Democratic nominee Tammy Duckworth (D-IL-8) released her internal Normington Petts research firm poll (Aug. 1-4; 800 likely Illinois general election voters) projecting a 44-37 percent Duckworth lead over Sen. Mark Kirk (R). Marquette University Law School, again polling the Wisconsin electorate (Aug. 4-7; 805 registered Wisconsin voters) as they have done regularly since the 2012 election, finds former Sen. Russ Feingold (D) topping incumbent Ron Johnson (R), 53-42 percent. This result swings a net of six points in Feingold’s favor when compared to the institution’s July survey. At that time, Feingold led 49-44 percent.

All the key Republican defense battleground states reported new August numbers. The good news for Democrats comes in Pennsylvania where challenger Katie McGinty (D) made a significant gain on Sen. Pat Toomey (R), to the point where several polls find her building a small lead.

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Clinton Up 10 Points, Or One?

By Jim Ellis

June 28, 2016 — Two new national media polls were released over the weekend, and even though they were conducted over the same sampling period their conclusions are quite different.

The Washington Post-ABC News poll (June 20-23; 1,001 adults — undisclosed number of registered voters, 650 certain voters) finds Hillary Clinton leading Donald Trump and Gary Johnson, 47-37-7 percent. But, the NBC/Wall Street Journal survey (June 19-23; 1,000 registered voters) finds only a one-point Clinton edge, 39-38-10 percent, over Trump and Johnson, respectively.

In both cases, Clinton’s lead is stronger without Johnson included. The fact that the Johnson-Weld Libertarian Party ticket will be on the ballot in all 50 states makes the third party inclusion more accurate. Without Johnson, WaPo/ABC finds a 51-39 percent Clinton spread; NBC/WSJ sees a 46-41 percent margin.

Green Party candidate Jill Stein was also added to the mutli-candidate question in both surveys. She scored three percent on the WaPo/ABC study, and six percent from NBC/WSJ. It is unlikely, however, that she will gain 50-state ballot standing. Therefore, her national poll position is largely irrelevant at this time.

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