November 1, 2010

Gallup calls current polling data “unprecedented”

Filed under: Media, Politics, USA — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 07:23

The US midterm elections are often taken as a poll on the performance of the President, so the Gallup organization is saying what many Republican and Tea Party speakers have been saying for weeks: Barack Obama is dragging down his party:

Gallup models the number of seats a party will control based on that party’s share of the national two-party vote for the House of Representatives, using historical voting data in midterm elections from 1946 to 2006. The model takes into account the majority party in Congress entering the elections.

Gallup’s historical model suggests that a party needs at least a two-point advantage in the national House vote to win a majority of the 435 seats. The Republicans’ current likely voter margin suggests that this scenario is highly probable, making the question of interest this election not whether the GOP will win the majority, but by how much. Taking Gallup’s final survey’s margin of error into account, the historical model predicts that the Republicans could gain anywhere from 60 seats on up, with gains well beyond that possible.

It should be noted, however, that this year’s 15-point gap in favor of the Republican candidates among likely voters is unprecedented in Gallup polling and could result in the largest Republican margin in House voting in several generations. This means that seat projections have moved into uncharted territory, in which past relationships between the national two-party vote and the number of seats won may not be maintained.

The other thing to keep in mind is that polling isn’t quite as definitive as pollsters would like you to believe: voters sometimes conceal their actual voting intentions. The most recent example of this was the Toronto municipal elections, where polls consistently had Rob Ford and George Smitherman in a statistical dead heat, but the actual result was a 12 point lead for Ford.

H/T to Ace for the link.

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