Just a quickie PSA about this YouGov poll, which is popping up in our inbox after it landed on Drudge. His headline: “SHOCK POLL: 71% of Obama supporters ‘regret’ voting for his reelection.” That is shocking — and YouGov did a terrible job of labeling its data, so it’s easy to draw that conclusion from the numbers. But that’s not what the poll says. YouGov polled 999 people, a reasonable sample size, on who they voted for in 2012. 803 people responded. Result: Obama, 51/43. (The actual result in 2012 was 51/47.) Then they asked the people who admitted to voting for O whether they’d vote for him again now. 396 people responded to that one. Result: Yes, 79/10, with another 11 percent saying “not sure.”
Here’s where things get confusing. YouGov then asked whether Obama voters regret voting for him. Result: Yes, 71/26. But wait — which Obama voters were asked this question? The entire group or some subsample? YouGov’s header leaves it unclear but there’s a big clue in the numbers themselves.
The sample size (“unweighted n”) is just 35 people, a number so small that the result is almost meaningless. The group they polled for this question, although it’s not indicated anywhere on the page itself, isn’t everyone who voted for Obama in 2012; I think it’s the 10 percent from the second question who admitted to voting for him in 2012 but who said they wouldn’t vote for him again now. Of course those people regret their votes. (If anything, I’m surprised the total’s not higher than 71 percent. Why would you say you wouldn’t vote for him again if you didn’t regret your vote now?) Long story short, if I’m right about the identity of the subsample, the actual number of Obama voters who regret supporting him is more like seven percent based on the data here, not 71 percent.
As for the rest of the poll, two other interesting tidbits. One: Chris Christie, who was supposed to be the one Republican who could get independents and Democrats to cross the aisle in 2016, now has a favorable rating of 33/46, lower than Mike Huckabee’s (39/38). And two: Mitt Romney’s net favorable rating is the same now as before the election (-6) even though nine percent of the sample claims to have seen the “Mitt” documentary on Netflix. Really? That valentine to Romney’s warmth and decency didn’t move the needle at all in his favor? Good lord. You’re a tough crowd, America.
Update: YouGov has now tweaked their headers to reflect the truth. As suspected, the “71 percent” figures comes from Obama voters who said they wouldn’t vote for him again, not from all Obama voters.