Update: After this column was posted, Quinnipiac called me back. The question about the 2008 votes was asked. Quinnipiac usually does not release that question, but The New York Times did release it. The survey did, however, include the question. And that clears the mystery and the poof.
After writing about the CBS-NY Times-Quinnipiac swing state poll, I took another look at the data. I wanted to compare the percentages of voters who chose President Barack Obama in 2008 with those who chose him in the poll conducted July 24-30.
As I read back over data, I was unable to locate responses to a question I found the first time I studied the results.
I already knew Democrats outnumbered Republicans among those surveyed. Here’s a breakdown on those figures by percentages:
- Florida: Republicans 27; Democrats 36; Independents 32
- Ohio: Republicans 27; Democrats 35; Independents 32
- Pennsylvania: Republicans 32; Democrats 38; Independents 26
One question I always ask myself about that label “Independents”—are they really indies? That’s because I often encounter people who tell me they’re a Libertarian or indie voter but after talking with them, they turn out to be Democrats. I’ve even had self-professed Libertarians claim they support single-payer healthcare and/or raising taxes on top of the 21 tax increases Obama already got. No true Libertarian would support tax increases or single-pay of course.
What impressed me on Wednesday about the poll, however, was a question about voters’ choices in 2008. I snipped that particular question and included it as a graphic on my column. The breakdown showed percentages:
- Florida: Obama 53; McCain 40
- Ohio: Obama 53; McCain 38
- Pennsylvania: Obama 54; McCain 40
Later, after writing the column, I looked again at the current responses on the choice for president. Here are those percentages:
- Florida: Obama 51; Romney 45
- Ohio: Obama 50; Romney 44
- Pennsylvania: Obama 53; Romney 42
What struck me was the decline in those pro-Obama voters between 2008 and 2012—slight, but still a decline. What’s more, the Republican candidate actually gained share if you compare the two elections.
Imagine my surprise when I returned to the data on Thursday morning and I couldn’t find the section I snipped.
I phoned Quinnipiac and the woman who answered the phone said no data had been removed.
This is the first time I’ve ever had this happen.
I asked myself whether I could have made a mistake. The snip shows the same dates for the poll that are posted at Quinnipiac and the CBS News site.
So the mystery question is did the poll question go poof in the night? Did I err? I don’t think so, considering the snip. ‘Tis a mystery.
Why is this important?
Polls were wielded as a weapon in 2008 and in at least one case, allegations of fraud were levied against an influential pollster. The allegations came from a Democrat, not a Republican.
There have already been conflicting results from polls ahead of the November General Election.
The US Report was among the first in 2008 to question polling data. We are glad to see other conservative media follow suit.
A post-election analysis in 2008 by a professor at Fordham University ranked polling companies “by the accuracy of their final, national preelection polls.”
Rasmussen and Pew took the top spots.
(Commentary by Kay B. Day/August 2, 2012)