David Kirkpatrick

January 28, 2010

Cottle on Luntz

Filed under: Arts, Media, Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:29 pm

At the New Republic, Michelle Cottle reviews Frank Luntz’s, “What Americans Really Want…Really: The Truth About Our Hopes, Dreams, and Fears“, and pretty much nails down the entire Luntz shtick. Luntz it a pollster who made/makes his fame driving the GOP message. He’s had very real successes to point to, but I’d argue those successes stemmed more from creating a single message that party leaders force-fed down the ranks and enforced message discipline on than the content of the message itself. Luntz works in banalities that would shame Chance the gardener/Chauncey Gardiner.

Cottle sums those banalities up perfectly in her review:
For Luntz, of course, these answers are jewels that provide a window into man’s true soul. But Luntz’s analysis of the data is awash in revelations most generously described as unstartling. Do we really need Frank Luntz and his methodologies to tell us that moms do most of the food shopping in your average American household?  That in recent years there has been a rise in the popularity of organic food?  That younger employees don’t have the same sense of company loyalty as did earlier generations?  And how about this paradigm-shattering observation: “Blackberrys improve the speed of communication, but the devices don’t necessarily improve the quality of communication.” (The helpful italics are his.) Thumbing through Luntz’s dissection of our hopes and dreams, the exclamation that leaps to mind most often isn’t “Aha!” so much as “Well, duh!”

September 26, 2009

Is one pollster cooking the books?

Filed under: Politics, Science — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:31 pm

Maybe. This would rock the polling industry and how it gets its results published if true. Think about it, groups pay for polls all the time and the media dutifully reports those results comparing them to other results. Those polls might even get aggregated into trend lines at places like Pollster.com.

Statistician Nate Silver of 538 has long had issues with polls from Strategic Vision because they wouldn’t release their methodology, which is pretty much standard within the industry, and now he’s found very possible evidence the company is purely creating polling results out of whole cloth.

Stats aren’t very sexy, and polling is, as they say, an inexact science, but this allegation is very serious and Silver wouldn’t put his budding punditry on the line if he weren’t pretty sure of it’s veracity.

From the second link:

I posed that question largely as a hypothetical yesterday. But today, I pose it much more literally. Certain statistical properties of the results reported by Strategic Vision, LLC suggest, perhaps strongly, the possibility of fraud, although they certainly do not prove it and further investigation will be required.

The specific evidence in question is as follows. I looked at all polling results reported by Strategic Vision LLC since the beginning of 2005; results from 2008 onward are available at their website; other polls were recovered through archive.org. This is a lot of data — well over 100 polls, each of which asked an average of about 15-20 questions.

Like I said, very serious allegations. If you are interested in the gritty details, here’s a link to the original post Silver alluded to in the excerpt, and a follow-up post.

From the “follow-up post” link above:

Bottom line: It is highly unlikely, in my opinion, that the distribution of the results from the Strategic Vision polls are reflective of any sort of ordinary and organic, mathematical process.

That does not necessarily mean that they simply made these numbers up.

September 17, 2009

Consumer spending not returning anytime soon

Filed under: Business, Politics — Tags: , , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:14 pm

[Note: this post was lost in WordPress somehow. Hit this link for new post sans my expanded commentary from the lost original.]

March 16, 2009

GOP on GOP polling numbers

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 6:21 pm


The approval rating of GOP leaders among Republicans has plummeted 12 points in a month, down from 55% in February to a minority of 43% now. That’s striking.

Not only that, but approval of GOP leaders overall has dropped to 28% overall — the lowest rating for GOP leaders in 12 years of Pew polling.

In fact, approval of Republican congressional leaders has fallen from 34% in February to 28% currently, the lowest rating for GOP leaders in nearly 14 years of Pew Research surveys.

Why is this happening? Is it general lack of morale among Republicans? Is it that GOP voters are frustrated that their leaders haven’t succeeded in blocking Obama’s agenda? Or could it be that the Dem strategy of using Rush Limbaugh to drive a wedge between die-hard partisan Republicans and those who want to see Obama succeed is working? Something is turning Republicans against their own leadership — in big numbers.


(Hat tip — the Daily Dish)

October 27, 2008

Is Virginia the key ..

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:24 pm

… to an Obama victory next Tuesday?


Here’s a bit from TPM Election Central:

Three new polls have now found Barack Obama with a clear and decisive lead in Virginia, bringing him one crucial step closer to a majority in the Electoral College:

SurveyUSA: Obama 52%, McCain 43%, outside of the ±3.9% margin of error, not significantly different from a 53%-43% Obama lead from three weeks ago. Nine percent of respondents have already voted, giving Obama a 67%-30% majority, and he’s ahead 50%-44% among the remaining 91% of likely voters.

Zogby: Obama 52%, McCain 45%, with a ±4.1% margin of error. There is no other recent Zogby phone poll for comparison.

Washington Post: Obama 52%, McCain 44%, with a ±3.5% margin of error, compared to a 49%-46% Obama lead a month ago.

The early-vote number from SurveyUSA shows just what a hole John McCain is in. If he loses the early vote in a given state, he has to not only win the vote on Election Day, but win it by a large enough majority to overcome his early-vote deficit.

And here’s FiveThirtyEight:

Wish state might the McCain campaign really, really wish that they hadn’t insulted?

I’ll give you a hint. It’s not technically a state, but rather, a commonwealth.

Five separate polls of Virginia have been released within the past 48 hours. Zogby has Obama ahead by 7 points there, the Washington Post by 8, SurveyUSA by 9, Public Policy Polling also by 9, and Virgnia Commonwealth University by 11.

Virginia, with 13 electoral votes, is a bit more electorally potent than Colorado; Obama could afford to lose either New Hampshire or New Mexico if he won there (though not both), which is not true about the Rocky Mountain state. We are currently projecting Obama to win every John Kerry state, except New Hampshire, but plus Iowa, by double digits. If Obama wins all of those states plus Virginia, he’s at 268 electoral votes, meaning that any more electoral votes anywhere in the country would win him the election.

October 22, 2008

More bad news for the GOP

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:16 pm

It was a given that this election year was going be rough on the Republican Party, but things are really looking down and might even be worse than current polling reflects.

Even the buzz is working against the GOP.

From the link:

2. Enthusiasm is much higher among Democrats than among Republicans. The latest Diageo/Hotline numbers show that 72 percent of Democrats are enthusiastic about voting for their candidate, as opposed to 55 percent of Republicans.

October 21, 2008

538 projections two weeks out

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:13 pm

Only two more weeks in the horse race. Here’s FiveThirtyEight’s projection:

Obama’s been over 90% for quite a while now. If you’d like more background on FiveThirtyEight’s excellent statistics work, hit this link.

From the link:

Tracking Poll Primer

Now that there are fully eight distinct national tracking polls, I thought I’d take the time to give you my Cliff’s Notes assessment of each one. The polls are arranged in the order in which they typically appear throughout the day — as you may have discovered, you can get your tracking poll fix quite literally morning, noon and night.

And of course, If you’re finding this page later than today’s date hit this link for my latest update, or better yet head straight to 538 for their very latest projections.

October 16, 2008

Gallup sees race tighten after last debate

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 10:44 pm

But nothing like the Drudge Report highlight.

Here’s today’s Gallup release:

The latest Gallup Poll Daily tracking report from Monday through Wednesday shows Barack Obama with a 49%to 43% lead over John McCain among registered voters.


Almost all of the interviews in this three-day rolling average were conducted before Wednesday night’s third and final presidential debate at Hofstra University, which began at 9 p.m. ET. It will be several days before the full impact of this debate can be measured in the three-day rolling average, although its initial impact might be apparent as early as Friday’s report.

So where did Drudge get those numbers (Obama 49, McCain 47)? A real, but older and somewhat set aside, set of criteria. Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight unpacks things a bit here.

From the link:

Slow news day, Matt? If this is a two-point race right now, I’ll eat Drudge’s fedora. None of the dozen or so other polls that were in the field this week shows a race that close. Nor do either of the alternate versions of Gallup’s model, including the so-called Likely Voters II model that I find most credible. (Drudge, of course, had no interest in featuring the Zogby poll, as he had for the past several of days on his site, but which today showed Obama gaining ground.)

Let me be clear: I don’t blame Drudge for trying to drive the narrative. Unlike certain other folks, it’s not as though he’s made any claim to being objective. With real news — which polls aren’t — he generally has excellent and entertaining instincts.

October 14, 2008

CBS/NYT poll has Obama 53%, McCain 39%

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 10:48 pm

Probably an outlier, but not that crazy of an outlier. Just the fact McCain is sub-40% in any credible poll does nothing to stop the narrative his campaign is taking on serious water very late in the day.

Here’s some analysis from Ambinder on this chart:

 The jawdropping numbers from the CBS News / New York Times poll are, yes, the top-line…Obama leads among likely voters 53% to 39%.  But more than that: which candidate will raise your taxes? Respondents, by 51% to 46%, say it’s McCain.  (Why? One reason might be Obama’s advertising, which claims that McCain’s health care plan would raise taxes for “millions” of Americans.)   And preparation and readiness to be president don’t seem to be terribly important: 64% percent of the country thinks McCain is ready, but, generalizing here, a heck of a lot of those folks are voting against him.  He’s tied among whites, shooting up fifteen percentage points since the last survey; he’s winning men and women; he’s marginally improving his standing among white evangelicals; he’s substantially improved his standing among self-described moderates and among independents (a full third of this group swung toward Obama); Obama’s now getting 82% of Clinton supporters. 

You can bet that McCain’s polling team will respond to this one…a lot of the deltas in this poll are probably unprecedented for their time period.

The numbers game works against McCain

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:07 pm

In almost every way posible right now.

From the Politico link:

Barack Obama has erased traditional Republican advantages in four key bellwether counties that President Bush won in 2000 and 2004, according to a new Politico/InsiderAdvantage survey. Each county is critical to the outcome in the battleground state where it is located.

In Washoe County, near Reno, Nev., Obama leads McCain 46 percent to 45 percent , with 6 percent undecided. Obama posts a wider 50 percent-44 percent lead with 5 percent undecided in Raleigh, North Carolina’s Wake County, and another 6 point lead in Hillsborough County, Fla., where Tampa is located. There, he edges McCain 47 percent to 41 percent, with 11 percent undecided.

Among the four counties tested, McCain leads in only one: Jefferson County, Colo., a populous Denver suburb. McCain is ahead there by a margin of 45 percent to 43 percent, with 8 percent undecided.

At first glance, these Politico/InsiderAdvantage numbers might not look so troubling for McCain, who trailed Obama by 10 points in an ABC/Washington Post national survey, released Monday.

But these four counties are crucial battlegrounds in four of the most competitive states in the presidential race. In recent years, the Republican path to the White House has run through these areas.

October 13, 2008

The Gallup Poll Daily has Obama up 51% to 41%

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:37 pm

From this link:

Voter preferences in the presidential race continue to be generally auspicious for Barack Obama’s election prospects only three weeks ahead of the eve of Election Day. Obama leads McCain by 10 percentage points, 51% to 41%, among all registered voters, according to Gallup Poll Daily tracking from Oct. 10-12.


The percentage of registered voters favoring Obama has been 50%, 51%, or 52% in each Gallup Poll Daily tracking report since Oct. 4. Support for McCain has been a steady 41% to 43% across the same time period. Thus, although the gap between the two candidates has varied from seven to 11 points in recent days, voter preferences have, in fact, been quite stable. (To view the complete trend since March 7, 2008, click here.)

September 23, 2008

Bush 43 approval rating into teens

Filed under: et.al., Media, Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:52 am

He’s now at 19% overall.

From the link:

Overall, 19% of Americans say that they approve of the way George W. Bush is handling his job as president, 76% disapprove, and 5% are undecided.

Bush job approval Approve Disapprove Undecided
Sep 2008 19% 76% 5%
Aug 2008 30% 64% 6%
Jul 2008 21% 72% 7%
Jun 2008 25% 71% 4%
May 2008 28% 69% 3%
Apr 2008 22% 72% 6%
Mar 2008 24% 75% 1%
Feb 2008 19% 77% 4%
Jan 2008 34% 59% 7%
Dec 2007 32% 66% 2%
Nov 2007 31% 64% 5%
Oct 2007 25% 67% 8%
Sep 2007 34% 60% 6%

Among Republicans (33% of adults registered to vote in the survey), 48% approve of the way Bush is handling his job and 46% disapprove. Among Democrats (40% of adults registered to vote in the survey), 3% approve and 95% disapprove of the way Bush is handling his job. Among independents (27% of adults registered to vote in the survey), 8% approve and 87% disapprove of the way Bush is handling his job as president.

Overall, 17% of Americans say that they approve of the way George W. Bush is handling the economy, 78% disapprove, and 5% are undecided. Among registered voters, 18% approve and 78% disapprove of the way Bush is handling the economy.

September 11, 2008

McCain takes lead in 538’s “win percentage” projection

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:31 am

This is a first as far as I know. If this is the extent of the bounce it’ll be very interesting to see how the numbers shake out over the next two weeks or so.

Also interesting to see how each campaign reacts to the changing situation, although internal polling may show something radically different than the FiveThirtyEight polling data.

The latest projections:

If you’re finding this page later than today’s date hit this link for my latest update, or better yet head straight to 538 for their very latest projections.

September 6, 2008

Prez poll analysis from 538 on 9/6

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:40 pm

Here’s some analysis from the stats guys at FiveThirtyEight:

From the link:

Clearly, however, there has been some movement back toward McCain-Palin; it’s just a question of magnitude. From what best I can tell (and this is not an exact science) the one-night results from yesterday’s tracking polls showed something like a 1-2 point Obama lead. If — and this is a big if — that is the extent of the GOP bounce, this is a somewhat underwhelming result for them. Last night and tonight should be among the best individual nights of polling that the Republicans see all year. If the best they can do is close the race to a tie, or an Obama +1 on those nights, they are not going to win the race based on inertia alone.

What they need, rather, is actual momentum: enthusiasm, buzz, media cycles won, new narratives entrenched. And they might get it — Republican spirits certainly seem to be lifted, and McCain and Palin gave a terrific, energetic performance in Wisconsin today. On the other hand, I think they may be making a major mistake if they follow through on plans to take Palin off the campaign trail. She is their narrative, buzz, momentum at this point.

September 2, 2008

Post Dem convention polling from 538

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 7:14 pm

Obama got a boost from the convention last week, and I’m betting a little from McCain’s veep pick as well. Palin may appeal to the religious right for now, but undecided independant voters may be heading to Obama’s camp after such a blantantly nonserious selection.

At Rasmussen Obama is enjoying his highest numbers of the entire election.

Here’s the latest from FiveThirtyEight.

If you’re finding this page later than today’s date hit this link for my latest update, or better yet head straight to 538 for their very latest projections.

July 13, 2008

Summertime dead heat

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 6:02 pm

Current Rasmussen polling shows the presidential race all tied up.

From the link:

See all recent Presidential Election Polls
Analysis of Daily Presidential Tracking Poll

General Election Match-Up
John McCain vs. Barack Obama
Match-up without Leaners
Match-up with Leaners
  McCain Obama McCain Obama
07/13/2008 43% 43% 46% 46%
07/12/2008 43% 43% 46% 47%
07/11/2008 42% 43% 45% 47%
07/10/2008 41% 45% 45% 48%
07/09/2008 41% 45% 44% 48%
07/08/2008 40% 46% 43% 49%
07/07/2008 41% 46% 44% 49%
07/06/2008 No Polling No Polling No Polling No Polling
07/05/2008 No Polling No Polling No Polling No Polling
07/04/2008 No Polling No Polling No Polling No Polling
07/03/2008 40% 47% 44% 49%
07/02/2008 40% 46% 44% 49%
07/01/2008 40% 46% 44% 49%
06/30/2008 40% 46% 44% 49%
06/29/2008 40% 47% 43% 49%
06/28/2008 40% 47% 44% 49%
06/27/2008 40% 47% 45% 49%
06/26/2008 41% 46% 45% 49%
06/25/2008 40% 46% 45% 49%
06/24/2008 40% 46% 44% 49%
06/23/2008 40% 47% 43% 49%
06/22/2008 40% 47% 42% 49%
06/21/2008 40% 46% 43% 48%
06/20/2008 41% 45% 44% 48%
06/19/2008 42% 45% 45% 48%
06/18/2008 41% 45% 45% 48%
06/17/2008 40% 45% 44% 48%
06/16/2008 40% 45% 44% 48%
06/15/2008 39% 46% 43% 49%
06/14/2008 40% 47% 43% 49%
06/13/2008 40% 47% 44% 49%
06/12/2008 41% 47% 44% 50%
06/11/2008 41% 46% 44% 49%
06/10/2008 40% 48% 43% 50%
06/09/2008 40% 48% 44% 50%
06/08/2008 40% 48% 43% 50%
06/07/2008 42% 46% 45% 48%
06/06/2008 40% 45% 43% 48%
06/05/2008 41% 43% 45% 47%
06/04/2008 41% 43% 45% 47%

June 13, 2008

Disturbing poll for the GOP

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:32 am

These numbers bode very poorly for the GOP come November.

From the Marc Ambinder link:

Question twelve of the NBC News / Wall Street Journal poll asks whether voters want a Congress controlled by Republicans or by Democrats…

Republican-controlled Congress……. 33
Democrat-controlled Congress ……… 52

That’s the largest gap since the budget shutdown in 1995. It’s up four points from two months ago, and it’s higher than the 15 point margin that Democrats held when they took back control of Congress in the 2006 midterm elections. It’s also by far the highest margin for either party in the 13 years of data available from previous polls. No guarantee that the number holds, but it’s hard to imagine how it narrows that much.

May 30, 2008

Poblano unmasked

Filed under: Politics, Sports — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:28 pm

The FiveThirtyEight blogger who’s applied a successful statistics-based approach to predicting the races so far has revealed himself to be an actual statistician — for Baseball Prospectus. Poblano=Nate Silver.

I’ll have to say I enjoy football stats, and the guys over at Football Outsiders who do the Football Prospectus, more than baseball stats, but I’m not surprised at all a baseball statistician can take the enormous amount of polling data out there and make more (and more correct) sense out of it all than the pollsters themselves and certainly more sense than math and stats challenged journalists and pundits.

May 9, 2008

The final nail in Team Clinton’s coffin

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:08 pm

Rasmussen is no longer polling the Democratic nomination race.

From the link:

At the moment, Senator Clinton’s team is busily trying to convince Superdelegates and pundits that she is more electable than Barack Obama. For reasons discussed in a separate article, it doesn’t matter. Even if every single Superdelegate was convinced that the former First Lady is somewhat more electable than Obama, that is not enough of a reason to deny him the nomination.

With this in mind, Rasmussen Reports will soon end our daily tracking of the Democratic race and focus exclusively on the general election competition between Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama. Barring something totally unforeseen, that is the choice American voters will have before them in November. While we have not firmly decided upon a final day for tracking the Democratic race, it is coming soon.

April 10, 2008

Is McCain’s national lead a mirage?

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:56 pm

Andrew Sullivan, and others, think so.

From the link:

That was my recent take. Chuck Todd maps McCain’s path to victory and his challenges:

Currently polls show McCain either narrowly ahead or even with both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. It is impressive considering how poorly the GOP, and specifically the president, are viewed by the public.

But it is a faux lead. If the de facto Democratic nominee is clear within the next 4-6 weeks, that person will see a poll bounce. And according to GOP pollster Steve Lombardo, it could be one heck of a bounce, like post-convention. He anticipates the Democratic candidate will move up 10 points once the primary race is over.

April 1, 2008

Obama gaining in Penn

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:58 pm

It looks like the predicted, and expected, Clinton blowout in Pennsylvania might not come to pass.

It’s fairly widely accepted she needs to win the state by around 20 points to remain the least bit (and that right there is a real stretch) viable in the race.

From the (second) Daily Dish link:

Rasmussen has Clinton by five in Pennsylvania: last week the spread was 10. SurveyUSA has her by 12: last week it was 19. A good trend for Obama. We’ll see if it keeps up.

February 2, 2008

Gallup polling from 1/30-2/1/08

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 8:13 pm

Here’s the national numbers from Gallup for the end of the week before Tsunami Tuesday.

Key figures:

Dems — Clinton 48%, Obama 41%; with Clinton getting a four point bounce the last day of the poll.

Reps — McCain 44%, Romney 24%, Huckabee 16%; McCain gets a five point bounce the last day, Romney holds steady and Huckabee loses a point. Longer trend lines show both Romney and Huckabee staying fairly even and McCain strongly rising beginning January 27.