Design Your Ideal State-based Polling Survey
by Peter from WI, Fri Apr 27, 2007 at 11:15:28 AM EDT
Ever wish you could bang pollsters and professional survey outfits over the head and say "dammit you're doing it wrong!" like I have? Seems like it, since right here on MyDD, there's been a lot of discussion around Bowers' Inflated Clinton Poll Theory and the Democratic Strategist even picked up on it. Well what if we could actually design what a survey looks like? Check below the fold for more...
We all wish there were more state-based polls put out on the presidential race, and I'm sure we all wish their methodologies were a little more 'on.' For example, here in Wisconsin, the only "regular" state polling, done by a combo of Wisconsin Public Radio (best in the country for public radio our state is) and Saint Norbert's College in Green Bay. The other day, they released a pretty uninformative poll that included numbers on presidential preference. The entire survey sample was 400 randomly-selected adults - not very large, and certianly not representative of the voting population or "likely voters" in either a general or primary election.
Since we have open primaries here in Wisconsin, they polled first on peoples' inclination to vote for a Democrat or Republican in the general before asking for a candidate preference. Pleasantly and suprisingly, 47% of the respondents said they would vote for a Democrat and only 29% picked a generic Republican. On my blog, Madison For Edwards, I speak a little bit about how this is either a fundamental re-alignment of Wisconsin politics or a big 'oops' on the part of the surveyors (and I just got ahold of the full results of the survey so I will provide some more analysis on this on my blog - including on specific issues and Wisconsin-focused items). But the takeaway is that the sample size to get a candidate preference read on Wisconsin voters for the Democratic candidates slimmed down to less than 200 voters.
Not exactly a really good sample size, not a good sampling of likely voters, and not a good sample of likely Democratic primary voters. But at least we're getting a poll. There's a decent chance that I might be able to push someone doing polling in my state to do a survey that reflects a methodology more in-tune with the kind of things we've talked about here at MyDD.
So I ask you, the assembled members of those MyDDers that read the diaries...
What questions would you want to see on a state-based poll? What kind of sampling would you want to see? What other aspects of surveying should a pollster keep in mind? Comment on this and I'll compile it and see if we can get a good state-based poll done here.