Trotter Editorial: Understanding Quinnipiac’s Florida “puke poll”.

Looking at the Presidential race yesterday, it looked like President Obama might be in trouble in  the Sunshine State. According to the poll, Obama was losing to Mitt Romney by seven points, 47-40. Unless Obama was caught on television killing puppies, nothing really explained this shift.

Today, a NBC/Marist poll was released showing Obama with a lead over Romney, even with Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio as his running mate. While a majority of people still think the country was headed in the wrong direction, Obama had a better approval rating than disapproval rating.

What is even more interesting is the US Senate race. Quinnipiac said that Connie Mack IV was leading Bill Nelson by one point. In almost every poll conducted for this race, Nelson has or nearly has a double-digit lead. The only other poll that has given Mack the edge is the highly Republican-leaning Rasmussen polls. Just this break alone show there is a fundamental flaw in the Quinnipiac poll.

While I was under the instruction of Dan Jones at the University of Utah, he stressed one quote throughout all of his classes…”those that live by the polls, die by the poll.” That quote fits perfectly here. Another point that he stressed was that not every poll is good. There will be bad samples. While I think that bad samples shouldn’t be released, they are anyway. This Quinnipiac poll, in comparison to other polls taken of both the Presidential and US Senate races in Florida, is a bad sample. It happens.

So what makes this one a bad sample compared to the rest? Well, the sample margins are all wrong. First, and the most eye-catching error is that north Florida and the Panhandle was sampled just as much as southeast Florida. 336 of those polled were from north Florida and the Panhandle while 339 were from southeast Florida. And no matter how you look at it, that is a big discrepancy compared to the reflection of the electorate.

But even in this case, the north and Panhandle weren’t oversampled. In fact, south Florida was undersampled. So where is the big gap? It seems to be in along the I-4 Corridor. In the Tampa area, the Quinnipiac poll showed 21% of those interviewed came from that region. In the Marist poll, only 16% came from Tampa; a gap of 5%.

If we continue to Orlando and the Space coast, we even get a bigger gap. In the Quinnipiac poll, 29% of those interviewed were from this region. In the Marist poll, only 21% came from this region. Therefore, most of Central Florida, from one coast to the other, was given a 13% bump in the Quinnipiac poll, which took away from southeast Florida. And no matter how “purple” the I-4 Corridor is, taking away the southeast Florida votes will always, 100% of the time, lower the Democratic numbers in a statewide race. No question about it!

In addition, 50% of all votes cast in Florida do not come from this region. I’m sorry, but it doesn’t.

So it doesn’t matter what the Quinnipiac poll says, it is wrong. We can basically take the entire poll and trash it. Does that mean Quinnipiac is a bad polling organization? Maybe. They haven’t been the most trusted polling organization. On top of that, they usually favor Republicans over Democrats, giving a .5% bump to Republicans in most polls compared to .03% for Democrats in comparison to what the actual election results reflect in the end. True, it isn’t a Rasmussen-type of margin (giving Republicans 1.4% advantage in their polls compared to .3% for Democrats), but they do have a tendency to oversample Republicans.

So, while most people in the Democratic Party might be panicking about this latest poll….just relax. It isn’t as bad as one thinks. Once the average of the polls start falling into place, this bad Quinnipiac sample will just be a forgotten footnote. This doesn’t mean that Democrats need to take Florida lightly. It is still a toss up state. But don’t worry, Romney isn’t going to destroy Obama by seven points in Florida.

That leads me to my final point. Dan Jones also said that a poll is just a snapshot of what the electorate is thinking at a certain moment in time. Remember Dukakis’ 20-point lead in 1988? Remember Bill Clinton being 3rd place until the Democratic Convention in 1992? Just wait until Obama debates Romney…the numbers will change.

14 thoughts on “Trotter Editorial: Understanding Quinnipiac’s Florida “puke poll”.”

  1. The Q-poll was no doubt flawed.

    But I would not not quote the Marist poll which over sampled Democrats statewide (plus 3) and under sampled the Tampa media market which was 19% of the statewide vote in 2008 and 21% in 2010. Only 16% in the Marist poll were from this area. South Florida was under sampled in the Q-poll that was just as poorly done.

    The truth lies somewhere in between these polls meaning Romney has a slight lead. Strangely enough the Senate results weren’t that far off of one another in the two polls.

  2. This poll was garbage. But we need to be aware that Romney is picking up in Florida and the gender gap is closing.

  3. The poll is true MS. This is what happens when you sell your soul to the Rs in PBC and the State. Romney is going to win Florida…we will be luck in Obama wins nationally…thanks for nothing you pieces of work

  4. This is what happens when the Ds have no good candidates that are running. Smith at South County with Aaronson pushing Sachs while they are helping Bogdanoff…who are they kidding…what a joke. We can thank Wexler, Johnson, Aaronson and Deutch.

  5. Romney is going to win because the DS consultants suck as much as the candidates ..and those in PBC who have destroyed it within.

    Thanks Dumbocrats!

  6. Generation Democrats

    I first got involved as a new voter in 2008 and I loved working with Wexler and his staff. After what I saw in 2010 I am sicken by him and the Democratic party as a whole. I am very disappointed by Deutch tool. It’s good that he is at least faking it but not very well. He is going to be just like Robert. He will never have a real race but he will always put his big ass nose in everyone’s business. You are not getting in the way of Bernard winning by poking in my SENATE district. You have ABRUZZO and SACHS in your district and IRV…DONT DESTROY NORTH COUNTY LIKE YOU DID SOUTH COUNTY!

    We would have thought the “establishment” would have woken up after they sold the farm in 2010 but they have not. It is just about land deals, dumb elected officials & their law firms makind money. NO real answer to anything or platform. I dont know about you all but I am getting out the vote and if Obama looses….out goes all of the Ds currently staying silent..even those on Facebook from up north who toots his own horn. Silence is just as bad as contributing to the problem itself. New elected officials bottom up…lets keep Obama.

  7. I think this tells you who your readership base is. I agree with Linda and Generation Dems.. All this meddling by Wexler, Aaronson, and others gets people angry at the worst possible time. People get frustrated and say why bother. These guys don’t care because at the end of the it does not effect their paychecks.

  8. Pingback: Morning must-read: The geographic sampling issues with the Quinnipiac poll | Saint Petersblog

  9. Young Dems Broward


    Because everyone knows that PBC consultant Eric Johnson has been involved in all the campaigns (even when he was the head of Wexler’s staff). The guy can only win primaries through threats from PBC elected officials that MS speak of. I agree with Observer…people will vote for Obama only…and say screw the rest of the party…they are all the same. We have had a GOP legislature for what 20 years and the Ds pick an R to back for a Senate race, have no good Congressional candidates and raises no money.

    Johnson hope is this kid from DC who is running against West….Mullin or something forgot his name. This is Eric’s chance to actually win an election. He has been doing this bs for 15 plus years. Good luck..(yes I know he looks 12 but he is 45)

    I am not watching them to destroy our county, state or this election. Moveon.scum….real Democrats are about to shake this county up.

  10. I just think it is funny. I could do an article about KFC’s Original Recipe and somehow it will turn into a debate about PBC. 🙂

  11. Delray Democrat

    Obama has lost lots of support among local Jewish voters do to the Israeli issue. These Jews who vote based on Israel and not what is going on here should disgust all of us but the fact is they are helping Romney win Florida.