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JoomlaWatch 1.2.12 - Joomla Monitor and Live Stats by Matej Koval
Koch-Funded Plains Daily Commissions Hoeven Lackey to Produce a Poll PDF Print E-mail
Written by Adam   
Tuesday, 15 November 2011 15:14

That's what the headline should read.  Instead, we're getting this:

Polling Shows Republican Candidates Beating Democrat Pam Gulleson

According to new polling commissioned by PlainsDaily.com, Public Service Commissioner Kevin Cramer leads a pack of Republican House candidates in a potential match up with Democrat Pam Gulleson.

[snip]

The poll, taken between November 7th and November 11th 2011 by the Odney research division, asked over 400 likely voters in North Dakota who they would prefer in head-to-head match ups with Gulleson. Cramer performed best with 49.28% of respondents saying they’d vote for him and 24.04% saying they’d vote for Gulleson.

“These are the best polling numbers I’ve ever had, including those leading into my last two statewide elections,” Cramer said when asked to comment on the results.

PlainsDaily

So first off, lets consider the source of the reporting.  We are talking about PlainsDaily here.  This is the Koch brothers-funded outlet that we've reported on here before.  

Second off, lets consider the source of the polling.  If the name "Odney" rings a bell, it should, for those of you  who have been reading NorthDecoder fora while.  Odney is owned by Pat Finken, an old high school friend of John Hoeven's.  We've reported on them and their massive state government-funded budget here as well. 

That would be like if one of George Bush's former consultants decided to...oh, wait...

Even setting aside the terrible sourcing on the poll, lets look at the actual data.  One thing you notice missing on their poll is a margin of error.  That would be an important piece of information to have.  This is especially true here, since they're only sampling some 400+ people in the state.  Usually you want a sample size of around a thousand to get a decent margin of error.  If the margin is  5 or 6%, that makes the numbers look awfully different.  

I would also point out that this poll is suggesting that 90.6% of respondents were likely voters. I find that questionable given that a.)predicting who likely voters are a year before the election is a stretch at best, and b.)you're never going to get anywhere close to 90% voter turnout anywhere in this country. 

So..After you, a Koch-funded news outlet, pay a republican hack organization to produce a poll with results of questionable statistical significance, what do you do?  Why, you call the person who did the best in your shoddy poll, and nobody else, to allow him to congratulate himself on the fact that he's the best-known Republican in the field, of course.  That's what any responsible journalist would do.  

Right?

Update: Lastly, If I were a republican in a republican-leaning state with statewide name recognition, I wouldn't be patting myself on the back about a poll commissioned by a republican hack news organization, done by a republican lackey outfit, that didn't even give me a majority of respondents.

Frankly, if the poll numbers are accurate, Pam Gulleson has a decent shot.  Yes, she has some work to do getting some name recognition, but with Kevin Cramer's record, and what's shaping up to be the strongest democratic ticket in at least 20 years, she does have a decent shot.  


Comments (17)add comment

Adam said:

and in case you were wondering...
I did a check on the OMB's website to see, and Odney's budget for the last biennium grew to top $9 Million.

Where do I get a chunk of that pie???
 
November 16, 2011
Votes: +0

Marty said:

query
Since all the GOP candidates use Odney for their campaign advertising, I wonder why we shouldn't consider this poll to be "internal polling numbers" for these GOP candidates.

In which case, Plains Daily's payment to Odney should be considered a campaign contribution to those GOP candidates.

Or not. Just throwing that out there.
 
November 16, 2011
Votes: +0

AM said:

...
I would just like to make some quick comments on the methodology. If you look at the demographics table they acquried 90.6% likely voters because the target population was ND voters, not ND residents. Individuals who would self-report that they won't vote aren't relevant to a political poll.

At a 95% level of confidence, this would have about a 5% margin of error. The 95% CI for Cramer is about .44 to .54 and .19 to .29 for Gulleson. At best, she trails by 15 points; at worst, she's behind by 25. Doesn't mean the gap won't close, but it is sizeable.

Finally, considering that this is at the 95% level of confidence, there is only a 5% chance that the actual proportions fall outside of the above intervals.
 
November 16, 2011
Votes: +0

AM said:

...
Sorry, quick edit to the above: at worst Gulleson trails by 35. Just when I thought my proofing was thorough.
 
November 16, 2011
Votes: +0

Adam said:

Reply
I see your point on the likely voter question. I did read that wrong. Still, a likely voter question a year out from the election is virtually irrelevant.

With MOE, though, there's a huge difference between a 15-point gap and a 35-point gap for someone who is starting with a lot less name recognition than her opponent and a large number of undecideds any way you slice it. For a republican with statewide name recognition to be below 50% at all in a poll that is done by the most favorable possible operation a person could come up with is not something to be proud of.

If I were Kevin Cramer, or the rest of the republican field, I would still be worried.
 
November 16, 2011
Votes: +0

Adam said:

Actually, I take the "likely voter" concession back
If they ignored anyone who answered "somewhat unlikely," "very unlikely," or even "not sure," then yes, that raises another red flag. If this is only a poll of likely voters, then you don't have accurate results. Nobody really knows if they are likely to vote in a given election a year from now. You could move out of state, you could become disgusted with all of the candidates and not go vote, you could be currently uninformed, but get enamored with an issue come closer to the election. A likely voter screen in a poll this early in the season makes no sense other than to skew the results one way or the other.

Or you could be a bad pollster....take your pick.
 
November 16, 2011
Votes: +0

AM said:

...
You're right that it is early in the game. I would like to point out, however, that this is not necessarily asking name recognition. Name recognition would be asking if you are aware of this person. The question at hand specifically asks about voting, comparing each of the candidates one at a time to Gulleson. I would be more prone to call this self-prediction of voting, rather than name recognition. If the questions had asked "are you aware of...", I imagine all of the numbers would be quite different.

(just to be clear, I'm getting this info from the titles of each of the tables which state how the question was proposed to participants)
 
November 16, 2011
Votes: +0

AM said:

...
Additionally, with the 95% CI for Don't Know/Refused being about .20-.30, there are plenty of voters either side could pick up over the next year.
 
November 16, 2011
Votes: +0

Adam said:

I wasn't suggesting that it was asking name rec...
I was taking for granted that a former state legislator and senate staffer would have far lower name recognition than would an incumbent statewide office-holder. Generally that has something to do with how people respond in these polls. I'm saying gulleson is a blank slate, and has plenty of room to grow through introducing herself to voters.
 
November 16, 2011
Votes: +0

Adam said:

I guess my point is that...
Generally, voters don't affirmatively choose a candidate they aren't familiar with. People are less familiar with Gulleson, so they are less likely to affirmatively say that they will vote for her until they learn more about her.
 
November 16, 2011
Votes: +0

AM said:

...
True, name recognition is an important variable in this whole equation, though not addressed directly here. It will be interesting to see how these polls shift as the campaigns go forward.
 
November 16, 2011
Votes: +0

Adam said:

Right.
I didnt mean to suggest that the poll was measuring name recognition. My point was only that it has something to do with her numbers in relation to the other candidates.
 
November 16, 2011
Votes: +0

AM said:

...
Yes, I have recognized and agreed with that point.
 
November 16, 2011
Votes: +0

nimrod said:

They fudged
Of the 400 likely voters, around 100 answered "Do Not Know." So, the statistics reported by Plains Daily are skewed. So the poll numbers only report on likely voters who know who they would vote for in the hypothetical election, i.e., have already made up their minds.
 
November 16, 2011
Votes: +0

AM said:

...
The proportions aren't skewed. The percentages reported in the tables account for people who don't yet know. If you add up Pam's and Kevin's percentages, they only equal 74%. As of right now, between 44% and 54% of ND likely voters know they would vote for Kevin Cramer.
 
November 16, 2011
Votes: +0

big jake said:

...
I always return to Mouseland. Is Gulleson a cat? I honestly do not know. I cannot support a cat anymore. Nothwithstanding what I have been continously told that we just have to support "our" cats.

No more. We have been doing that for a hell of a long time and it should be obvious that we continue to lose as well as our nation.

No more cats. We really can do better.
 
November 17, 2011
Votes: +2

Myke Simonian said:

Stats
I would simply like to congrat all and sundry who have taken the time to dig a bit into the polling data from a statistical point of view.

Polls are of course different things to different people. To a social scientist a poll is one kind of tool, for a political operative it is another kind of tool. And even in the social sciences, a poll can be more a weapon than a means of ascertaining the truth about a situation.
 
June 29, 2012
Votes: +0

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