What’s up with the Mass. Senate polls?

posted at 2:25 pm on January 10, 2010 by Karl

The new Boston Globe poll showing Democrat Martha Coakley beating Republican Scott Brown by 15-points in the race for Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat, when contrasted with Public Policy Polling showing a dead heat, has people scratching their heads. So what’s up with that?

TPM’s Josh Marshall claims it is “all about the screen,” referring to how each poll selected likely voters. The two polls do appear to screen differently — the Globe specifically asked, while PPP selects voters in recent elections (Personally, I prefer the latter). But Marshall is almost certainly wrong that it’s all about the screen. AmSpec’s Philip Klein does a much better job of outlining differences between the two polls: (1) The Globe sample is much more Democratic; (2) PPP has Brown winning Independents by a huge margin; (3) PPP polled after the Globe. But the differences do not stop there. The Globe poll used a smaller sample, producing a larger margin of error. The Globe poll used live interviewers, while PPP uses automated calling. The sequencing of key questions also differs. For example, PPP started by asking for whom the respondent would vote, while the Globe asked about party registration and candidate favorability first. The Globe specifically included Independent candidate Joe Kennedy, while PPP did not (though one might have expected a faux Kennedy to hurt Coakley, that turned out not to be the case).

The import of the first two factors Klein identified is crystallized in his observation that the Globe only polled 83 independents, while PPP polled about 290. The Globe asked specifically in terms of registration, while PPP did not, which may account for some of the gap. Even so, there will be a much larger margin of error in a sub-sample as small as 83. These issues also filter down to the different results on candidate favorability in both polls — the Globe speaks of Coakley’s “durable statewide popularity,” which you do not see in the PPP results.

One point of agreement between the two polls is the role of relative intensity. PPP reports that “66% of GOP voters say they are ‘very excited’ about casting their votes, while only 48% of Democrats express that sentiment.” The Globe reports that “Brown matches Coakley – both were at 47 percent – among the roughly 1 in 4 respondents who said they were ‘extremely interested’’ in the race.” Some might be tempted to frame these numbers as an “enthusiasm gap,” though it is probably more accurate to note that the Right tends to vote more regularly than the Left, and that the key for Coakley will be turning out enough of the state’s much larger pool of Democrats.

Finally, I should add a note about PPP. The news accounts (and blog commenters in stories involving PPP) almost always note that the Democratic firm infamously showed Conservative Doug Hoffman leading Democrat Bill Owens by 17 points in its final poll of the NY-23 Congressional special election last November (Owens won by 4 points). There were a number of practical problems with polling that particular election, though I do not think they fully explain PPP’s call. Rather, everyone should remember that the margin of error reported by most polls assumes a 95% confidence interval. That means that given repeated samples, 19 of 20 would produce results for any given question falling within the stated margin of error. PPP’s call in NY-23 was likely that bad outlier for which the risk always exists, even with the best of pollsters. That is why it is always better to have more than one poll to examine, even if the results are maddening when we have only two to examine.

This post was promoted from GreenRoom to HotAir.com.
To see the comments on the original post, look here.


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Red State State of Mind on January 10, 2010 at 8:29 PM

I was a twenty-four year resident of San Diego at the time and had Ma’am-whore & Feinstein for senators. I spent my money wisely judiciously .

OmahaConservative on January 10, 2010 at 8:35 PM

Polls are fine for general trends. They generally flop when coming to specificity.

AnninCA on January 10, 2010 at 8:28 PM

The fun part is watching the polls as they as they add points to Republicans and take from the Democrats as elections draw near.

And those are just the ones who want to be seen as credible, even if for just one day out of 365.

ConservativeTony on January 10, 2010 at 8:55 PM

It will all come down to turnout. Got to get the conservatives, tea party and independents out to vote.

WyoMike on January 10, 2010 at 9:01 PM

It would be fun to check the ballots to see if Ted Kennedy votes in this election…

Seven Percent Solution on January 10, 2010 at 9:02 PM

Let the right be wrong
Roll the stone away
Let the guilty pay
It’s Independence Day

Sweet_Thang on January 10, 2010 at 6:26 PM

Thang, you do know that it’s also Sean Hannity’s theme song.

BigAlSouth on January 10, 2010 at 7:39 PM

I never got the one line “Let the right be wrong.” Can someone explain that to me?

I totally get the $9.12…what am I missing on the 10.32?? I feel like a maroon…or a macaroon…or an almond cookie.

Chewy the Lab on January 10, 2010 at 8:02 PM

And as for you. Are you serious? You don’t get $10.32? That’s embarrassing.

JellyToast on January 10, 2010 at 9:05 PM

Lefty leaning Perception/Deception Polling Campaign
Operation,to set the narrative as all is lost,vote
Coakley,and btw,have a nice day!!

Sneaky Leftys,I’m sure the day of the vote,they will say
Brown is dead in the water,turn around,go home all is lost!

And of course if its close,Franken will drop by and assist
Coakley with his car trunk full of voter ballots!!!!!!!

canopfor on January 10, 2010 at 9:08 PM

I totally get the $9.12…what am I missing on the 10.32?? I feel like a maroon…or a macaroon…or an almond cookie.

Chewy the Lab on January 10, 2010 at 8:02 PM
And as for you. Are you serious? You don’t get $10.32? That’s embarrassing.

JellyToast on January 10, 2010 at 9:05 PM

Yup! That’s what I was afraid of…and why more folk don’t voice their opinions. No, I don’t get the reference, and , no, I’m not embarrassed! Sorry not to live up to your standards and be such a dolt! (You elitist ass!)

Chewy the Lab on January 10, 2010 at 9:10 PM

It would be fun to check the ballots to see if Ted Kennedy votes in this election…

Seven Percent Solution on January 10, 2010 at 9:02 PM

Teddy’s vote is a given, the question is how many times will he vote.

farright on January 10, 2010 at 9:11 PM

And as for you. Are you serious? You don’t get $10.32? That’s embarrassing.

JellyToast on January 10, 2010 at 9:05 PM

Why tease and embarrass? Just state what it means.

OmahaConservative on January 10, 2010 at 9:16 PM

Red State State of Mind on January 10, 2010 at 8:32 PM

You’re serial???
Nope, I don’t buy it, so I guess I am as clueless as Jelly Toast thinks. (BTW, I always thought “Clueless” would be an excellent name for the 8th dwarf.)

Chewy the Lab on January 10, 2010 at 9:18 PM

Independence Day excerpt (from Matina McBride classic):

Let freedom ring
Let the white dove sing
Let the whole world know that today is the day of a reckoning
Let the weak be strong
Let the right be wrong
Roll the stone away
Let the guilty pay
It’s Independence Day

Sweet_Thang on January 10, 2010 at 6:26 PM

Sweet_Thang: Here ya go!:)

MARTINA MCBRIDE – INDEPENDENCE DAY LIVE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sslFmCepE_0

canopfor on January 10, 2010 at 9:19 PM

Chewy the Lab on January 10, 2010 at 9:10 PM

There is no point to the $10.32.
If you go back and read the posts, I was the one who was the dolt! I didn’t get the original $9.12. So when I saw somebody had contributed $9.12 I thought that was odd. So I said “Hey, why not just dig in a little deeper and donate $10.32.”
It was just a random number I made up.
Again, I was the dolt, not you! :)

JellyToast on January 10, 2010 at 9:20 PM

Sean Hannity is a blowhard a$$hole.

OmahaConservative on January 10, 2010 at 9:22 PM

OmahaConservative on January 10, 2010 at 9:16 PM

Thanks for the support…truly. But I’m not embarrassed. When someone begins their statement with something as condescending as Jelly did (BTW, I’ve always heretofore thought his/her posts were quite thoughtful), I just shrug it off…not worth my time.

Chewy the Lab on January 10, 2010 at 9:22 PM

If Brown comes within 10 pts, it is a victory. Lets not expect the impossible.

Speedwagon82 on January 10, 2010 at 9:23 PM

JellyToast on January 10, 2010 at 9:20 PM

All forgiven. Kiss, kiss!

Chewy the Lab on January 10, 2010 at 9:24 PM

Chewy the Lab on January 10, 2010 at 9:22 PM

Now, now, as grandma would say. “Play nice”
Thanx.

OmahaConservative on January 10, 2010 at 9:27 PM

All forgiven. Kiss, kiss!

Chewy the Lab on January 10, 2010 at 9:24 PM

Ooops. Wonderful.

OmahaConservative on January 10, 2010 at 9:28 PM

All forgiven. Kiss, kiss!

Chewy the Lab on January 10, 2010 at 9:24 PM

Thank you!
Life is good again!

JellyToast on January 10, 2010 at 9:28 PM

Sean Hannity is a blowhard a$$hole.

OmahaConservative on January 10, 2010 at 9:22 PM

What has he done/said now?

farright on January 10, 2010 at 9:29 PM

Oh there’s a reason
for the sun shining sky
and theres a reason- why im feeling so high
must be the season, when that love light shines all around us
so let that feeling grab you deep inside
and send you reeling
where your love can’t hide
and then go stealing
through the moonlight night with your lover
Chorus
just let your love flow like a mountain stream
and let your love grow with the smallest of dreams
and let your love show and youll know what i mean its the season
just let your love fly like a bird on the wing
and let your love bind you to all living things
and let your love shine and youll know what i mean
thats the reason
well theres a reason for the warm sweet nights
and theres a reason for the candle light
must be the season, when that love light shines all around us
so let that wonder take you into space
and there you wonder, his loving embrace
just feel the thunder
as he warms your face, you cant hold back
chorus (x2)
just let your love shine
well thats the reason.

OmahaConservative on January 10, 2010 at 9:33 PM

OmahaConservative on January 10, 2010 at 9:28 PM

JellyToast on January 10, 2010 at 9:28 PM

We must not eat our young! Kisses to you both and sorry for any misunderstanding!

Chewy the Lab on January 10, 2010 at 9:33 PM

Grandma was such a wise old dear lady, wasn’t she?

OmahaConservative on January 10, 2010 at 9:36 PM

OmahaConservative on January 10, 2010 at 9:33 PM

Silly as heck, but I found myself sobbing in church today-for joy, not sorrow-(didn’t want anyone to see).

The hymn, one of my favs was, “He’ll raise you up on Eagles’ Wings.”
(I have always thought to myself that it should be, “On Angels’ wings.”)

Chewy the Lab on January 10, 2010 at 9:39 PM

Hey, it’s a gamble to contribute to Brown, even if a Dem PPP poll shows him up.

Given the consequences if he wins, even though I’m not a gambler, it was worth plunking down $100 buck on his number just to see if his number comes up.

Also, it’s not a problem to me if the RNC and other party groups publicly have a policy to not contribute money to his efforts given their past mistakes.

However, on that note, if the RNC truly understood how to tap the power of the individual over the collective, they could take a “tea party” positive approach to support Brown’s (and others) efforts by offering a centralized means for donors to contribute to these campaigns in a variety of formats. One might contribute individually, to a fund that supports candidates that fit your individual profile (via a test you might take), or (given recent history) supports anyone claiming to be a Republican that the RNC thinks is a good (RINO?) candidate…

drfredc on January 10, 2010 at 9:41 PM

Sean Hannity is a blowhard a$$hole.

OmahaConservative on January 10, 2010 at 9:22 PM

We are lucky to have him. Just like we are lucky to have Rush. A voice of opposition to Obama and his minions. He gets the stories out the MSM are afraid to report. So stop shooting the messenger. Geez, some Conservatives are their own worst enemy and will never be happy with anyone on their side.

redridinghood on January 10, 2010 at 9:41 PM

Chewy the Lab on January 10, 2010 at 9:39 PM

Wow. Just wow. I am a Missouri Synod Lutheran who overslept today and missed my normal Divine Service liturgy, so I went to the black Lutheran church in town where the pastor and his wife are dear friends of mine. The choir eight people with organ & piano sang Blessed Assurance, Jesus is mine. When they broke into the refrain, This is my story, this is my song I started weeping. Missouri Synod Lutherans are not pietist feel-good people. We tend to focus on what Christ did for us, not about how we feel about God. It was absolutely incredible, and the Sacrament of Holy Communion left me feeling refreshed and forgiven. God, Jesus & The Holy Spirit strenghthened my faith today. Blessed Trinity!

OmahaConservative on January 10, 2010 at 9:48 PM

OmahaConservative on January 10, 2010 at 9:16 PM
Thanks for the support…truly. But I’m not embarrassed. When someone begins their statement with something as condescending as Jelly did (BTW, I’ve always heretofore thought his/her posts were quite thoughtful), I just shrug it off…not worth my time.

Chewy the Lab on January 10, 2010 at 9:22 PM

I assumed that either:
A: 10:32 was some sort of insider joke, like Decide3rer and chickens, or
B: You folks were just being funny/sarcastic and I did not get it

Red State State of Mind on January 10, 2010 at 9:55 PM

I just spent several minutes trying to articulate my mixed feelings about Steele as RNC Chair. I hit a button and, “Poof”!
So if it magically appears later, sorry, but I don’t think it will.

…ANYWAY: I think Mr. Steele is trying to do the best job he can. I think he knows he royally screwed up in the interview with Sean when he said that the party wasn’t prepared or united enough to win.
He DID seem to get the memo on Wallace’s show today (I’m torn between being disappointed in his duplicity, and applauding his acknowledgement he made a mistake).

But let me just try to be Devils’ advocate for a sec…First: hey gals, ever sat in front of Hubby or sig-other and poured out your heart, thinking you were baring your soul only to find out that he wasn’t listening at all???
Hummmmmm?
Hey guys, ever had your wife or significant other stand there and berate you because you hadn’t, “Heard a word I said?”

I’m not articulating this as well as I wanted, but my point is that I think Mr. Steele is doing the best job he can. He sure isn’t getting a cohesive message from the party. In fact, I think he’s being tugged in 90 different directions, and I can understand why he’d lash out the way he did… I said it before, I’ll say it again, we. must. stop. eating. our. young. !!!!!!

Chewy the Lab on January 10, 2010 at 10:02 PM

You guys all get a room, huh?

hawkdriver on January 10, 2010 at 10:05 PM

OmahaConservative on January 10, 2010 at 9:48 PM

Dearest, chaste kiss on the cheek, and God bless. Perhaps if we all let our emotions show a little more in worship, we’d be better off.
(I remember growing up the snide references to our Pentecostal bretheren….)

Chewy the Lab on January 10, 2010 at 10:08 PM

Hawkdriver:
Bless you for keeping us safe, but don’t even tell me you haven’t had a “koombaya” moment in recent times!
XXX

Chewy the Lab on January 10, 2010 at 10:09 PM

hawkdriver on January 10, 2010 at 10:05 PM

I’m kidding of course, gw-on. Keep making with the conservative hugging. :-)

hawkdriver on January 10, 2010 at 10:12 PM

t was absolutely incredible, and the Sacrament of Holy Communion left me feeling refreshed and forgiven. God, Jesus & The Holy Spirit strenghthened my faith today. Blessed Trinity!

OmahaConservative on January 10, 2010 at 9:48 PM

It is an unexpected joy to visit other churches and experience how they worship God.

I attended a friend’s wedding in an ancient Unitarian church in Cambridge. I don’t know what I enjoyed more, being belted in the gut by their magnificent pipe organ playing Bach, etc. or my friend the Juilliard trained soprano singing the Ave Maria. Not a dry eye in the house.

A Unitarian Church in Cambridge – wacky politics, superb church music.

turfmann on January 10, 2010 at 10:16 PM

hawkdriver on January 10, 2010 at 10:05 PM

OK, just so you know, as long as it’s a hug-fest, I pray for you–by screen name–every night.
God bless your service to this country!

Chewy the Lab on January 10, 2010 at 10:16 PM

BTW. I plunked a 100 down on Brown too. I figured the movement could not only be very real, but also be very acute and it’s worth pushing the trend wherever possible. And if he going gets close enough to scare the heck out of them and “maybe” just maybe has an effect pushing the Donks back to the center a little more, it’s again, money well spent.

I mean, what are we going to do anyways, just roll over? Did we give up when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? NO!

hawkdriver on January 10, 2010 at 10:19 PM

Chewy the Lab on January 10, 2010 at 10:16 PM

I feel all of your prayers here. I have no fears. Pray that I also find my way back to church when I get home too.

Gotta go.

hawkdriver on January 10, 2010 at 10:22 PM

hawkdriver on January 10, 2010 at 10:22 PM

Stay safe, damnit!

Chewy the Lab on January 10, 2010 at 10:25 PM

And if he going only gets close

Yeah, don’t even ask. It’s early here and I haven’t had coffee yet.

hawkdriver on January 10, 2010 at 10:27 PM

Wow. Just wow. I am a Missouri Synod Lutheran
OmahaConservative on January 10, 2010 at 9:48 PM

Hmmm…
I could’ve sworn you sounded like
“a blowhard a$$hole” a minute ago?

“Let’s Roll”

On Watch on January 10, 2010 at 10:59 PM

Blessings, Hawk. Thanks to your Christmas sharing about the support you have received from wonderful HA posters, we went to anysoldier.com and found some heroic soldiers in a FOB to support. God is close to you and to us all. Be safe and thank you.

indypat on January 10, 2010 at 11:06 PM

hawkdriver on January 10, 2010 at 10:27 PM

Arriving…
Best for a safe and happy New Year!

“Let’s Roll

On Watch on January 10, 2010 at 11:17 PM

It’s OT but about Mass and about Healthcare

I may be the only one who didn’t know it- Mr Gruber was one of the architects of the Massachusett’s healthcare plan. I was thinking about his MIT connection and wondered if he had any imput and plugged his name and mass into the search engine.
I put the articles I found in the Gruber thread.

journeyintothewhirlwind on January 11, 2010 at 12:19 AM

The only truism here is if the vote is close between democrat and republican, the democrats will find a way to steal the election victory.

docdave on January 11, 2010 at 2:31 AM

My prayer for ya’all in Mass is that you have Tea Parties ready at every polling place and Tea Partiers counting the votes or at least watching the count!!! AMEN!

Make OUR presence KNOWN! Thank You! You can always tie a nutcracker from the kitchen drawer on a string and hang around your neck just in case you find some nuts that need a cracken. I always wear mine at any Tea Party rally or protest.

To the rest of you, thanks for the hug fest, it was….
like the dog licking my face! HA! HA!

sweet pea on January 11, 2010 at 2:42 AM

Too much words, AP.

In short…

GLOBE’S POLL RESULT == PAID ADVERTISEMENT BY COAKLEY & the Demoncrats!

TheAlamos on January 11, 2010 at 4:28 AM

Let freedom ring
Let the white dove sing
Let the whole world know that today is the day of a reckoning
Let the weak be strong
Let the right be wrong
Roll the stone away
Let the guilty pay
It’s Independence Day

Sweet_Thang on January 10, 2010 at 6:26 PM
Thang, you do know that it’s also Sean Hannity’s theme song.

BigAlSouth on January 10, 2010 at 7:39 PM

Absolutely, Big Al, but do you think Hannity (or Martina McBride for that matter) would object to this in any way, shape or form?

I would not expect the same reaction that the group Heart had when Palin used their song Barracuda early in the last campaign cycle (i.e. they told her to stop using it).

Sweet_Thang on January 11, 2010 at 6:31 AM

Let the right be wrong
Roll the stone away
Let the guilty pay
It’s Independence Day

Sweet_Thang on January 10, 2010 at 6:26 PM

Thang, you do know that it’s also Sean Hannity’s theme song.

BigAlSouth on January 10, 2010 at 7:39 PM
I never got the one line “Let the right be wrong.” Can someone explain that to me?

JellyToast on January 10, 2010 at 9:05 PM

JT: here’s one explanation taken from a YouTube post on the song:

The verses of the song are very clear about what the song is about. However, the chorus can be used and interpreted a number of ways. But basically the chorus is about how the system, being imperfect, still can work, because it is about the people, not the system. “They took a few names and sent me to the country home”-even when the system is wrong, it has the capability to be right WHEN THE RIGHT PEOPLE run it. So yeah, it could be definitely interpreted as a patriotic song.

Sweet_Thang on January 11, 2010 at 6:43 AM

Here’s hoping that Teddy Kennedy’s legacy gets as trounced as thoroughly the man should have been.

highhopes on January 11, 2010 at 8:02 AM

“It would be fun to check the ballots to see if Ted Kennedy votes in this election…”

Oh, I don’t think they would try anything that foolish, but Jack, Bobby and Joe will probably cast a ballot or two, along with Sam Adams. You hafta do something with all that unaccounted for stimulus money, besides invest in bully-size purple “T” shirts.

Don L on January 11, 2010 at 8:13 AM

Sean Hannity is a blowhard a$$hole.

OmahaConservative on January 10, 2010 at 9:22 PM

Maybe. But he’s our “blowhard a$$hole.”

davidk on January 11, 2010 at 9:04 AM

RE: “Let the right be wrong” This song was written in support of abortion.

Let the Weak Be Strong. Let the Right Be Wrong.

Germantown blogger Kate O’ makes a nice catch of an LA Times piece quoting her neighbor, songwriter Gretchen Peters, who criticizes John McCain/Sarah Palin for co-opting one of her tunes in their campaign:

The fact that the McCain/Palin campaign is using a song about an abused woman as a rallying cry for their vice presidential candidate, a woman who would ban abortion even in cases of rape and incest, is beyond irony …. They are co-opting the song, completely overlooking the context and message, and using it to promote a candidate who would set women’s rights back decades.

In response, Peters is donating her royalties to Planned Parenthood to help women in need.

davidk on January 11, 2010 at 9:13 AM

First…The polling is off in MA because they are inexperienced at it. There has never been any need for a poll.

Second…Martina’s song is about domestic violence. She is known for singing about women’s issues.

DJ from MA on January 11, 2010 at 10:59 AM

If the Globe only polled 83 Independents out of 554 total voters, that’s only 15% of the sample. The real MA electorate is about 50% Independents. If they break heavily for Brown, he has a chance to win.

Steve Z on January 11, 2010 at 12:49 PM

People still get Globe? Isn’t in the process or about to file bankruptcy?

scrubbiedude on January 12, 2010 at 6:58 AM

Comment pages: 1 2