New poll shows Obama losing to … Herman Cain

posted at 12:05 pm on October 10, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Jim Geraghty doesn’t know much about the firm Poll Position, and neither do I.  Their new “scientific” poll, as opposed to their online poll, has such a surprising result that one might be tempted to instantly dismiss it.  But it also has a surprising pollster:

In a hypothetical head-to-head presidential race, Republican Herman Cain edges Democrat Barack Obama, according to our latest national scientific opinion poll.

The poll found Cain topping Obama by a narrow 43%-41% margin, with 15% saying they had no opinion.  The 2% difference falls within the poll’s 3% margin of error.

Poll Position’s scientific telephone survey of 1,135 registered voters nationwide was conducted October 9, 2011 and has a margin of error of ±3%.

The name of the pollster?  Eason Jordan.  Yes, it’s the same Eason Jordan who left CNN after making unsubstantiated claims about American soldiers targeting journalists in Iraq.  Something tells me that Jordan isn’t your average conservative activist.  Their polling methodology looks sound enough, even if they are going after adults, but this poll was taken on one evening — a Sunday at that — and that’s not necessarily the best way to conduct a survey with national implications.

Let’s take a look at the crosstabs.  First, the sample looks solid in terms of political affiliation, with a D/R/I of 33.4/32.2/34.3, but the age demos look pretty iffy.  The poll only surveyed 28 voters in the youngest age bracket (18-29YO) for a percentage of 2.5%, a group that would normally break towards Obama.  In 2008, for instance, they comprised 18% of the vote.  They may not be as motivated in 2012, but I doubt that their participation will drop that low or anything close to it.  In the Poll Position sample, seniors comprise 41.5% of the respondents; in 2008, they comprised 16% of the vote, and Cain’s 7-point lead among seniors is a heavy contributor to his overall edge.  Cain loses by 20 points among Hispanic voters, but that’s not a problem in this poll, because they only make up 3.2% of the sample.  In 2008, they made up 9% of the vote.

That doesn’t mean that some of the other results aren’t interesting, though.  Cain picks up 24.5% of the African-American vote, a portion that Republicans haven’t carried in decades.  Eighteen percent of Democrats would vote for Cain, while only 12.5% of Republicans would vote for Obama.  Cain wins independents narrowly at 40.3/38.7, with more than one in five undecided, a figure that does not bode well for the incumbent.

I’d put this poll in the “wait and see” category, with heavy caveats about its survey composition.  At the least, it demonstrates that Cain could be competitive against Obama in a general election at this stage of his campaign, but we need more data points on that question before drawing a conclusion.

Update: Yikes — I pulled a picture of the wrong Cain.  I originally had a shot of Will Cain of The Blaze and CNN.  My apologies to Will, and I’ve replaced the picture.

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Their polling methodology looks sound enough, even if they are going after adults, but this poll was taken on one evening — a Sunday at that — and that’s not necessarily the best way to conduct a survey with national implications.

Uhh, Just how does a poll have “national implications”? The only one that does is the one we have in November of 2012, and we call it an election, not a survey. The rest are ALL someone’s effort to alter the outcome of that one.

MikeA on October 11, 2011 at 7:13 AM

BTW, hope there was no hard feelings between us the other day. I honestly thought I was discussing with “TheRightMan”

BruthaMan on October 10, 2011 at 4:51 PM

I take nothing here posted as personal…none of us rarely know each other, and I don’t let “strangers” upset me.

right2bright on October 11, 2011 at 11:29 AM

Every single working man & woman in the country would have to sit down every week (or month), write a check, and mail it in (or make an e-transfer). Can you imagine the revolution this would bring about?

Owen Glendower on October 10, 2011 at 4:38 PM

The only addition I would make to your suggestion is that tax day be moved to the week before the election.

PackerBronco on October 10, 2011 at 4:39 PM

Icing on the cake.

Owen Glendower on October 11, 2011 at 10:25 PM

Comment pages: 1 2 3