Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Poll part Deux- Don't let media tell you Walker's up

Now I want to go back to the PPP poll and look at the Governor's race, because that poll also produced a surprising result, with Walker holding leads between 5 and 12 points above all Dem challengers. Now, some of this reflects the fact that the Dem primary has yet to be settled and one candidate hasn't emerged as the choice (any candidate's numbers should go up after that happens), but I want to re-examine those suspicious demos and see how much of an effect they have.

Ther are a number of fishy responses in these crosstabs (voters under 30 will vote for WALKER by double digits when they vote Dem by 20 points in many polls? Women vote Dem +15-20 nationwide but only Dem +6 against the guy who just repealed the ability to get damages in workplace sex discrimination cases? 95-97% of Republicans will vote for Walker? CMON!), but let's go into a few typical ones.

Demographics of April PPP poll
Dem 31
GOP 32
"Independent" 37

Liberal 18
Moderate 43
Conservative 38

Obama voter 50
McCain 41
Didn't vote 9

However, we know that these numbers fly in the face of who actually should be expected vote, whether we're using the example of the 2011 recall election polls or the 2010 exit poll, both of whom were pretty bang-on with their numbers. For statewide races, we'll use the 2010 exit poll, and go from there.

We know that the liberal number went up 3 and the conservative number was down 2 in 2010. It also had a Dem +1 ID and a much smaller Independent figure, so let's do that as well.

PPP poll with 2010 exit poll demos-Party ID
Walker-Barrett- 50-46 Walker
Walker- Falk- 51-45 Walker
Walker-Vinehout- 50-39 Walker
Walker-La Follette- 51-41 Walker

PPP poll with 2010 exit poll demos- ideology
Walker-Barrett- 48-46 Walker
Walker- Falk- 48-45 Walker
Walker-Vinehout- 48-39 Walker
Walker-La Follette- 49-41 Walker

Little closer, isn't it? Walker can't even get to 50% in this case. You'll also notice that poll respondents said they voted for Obama 51-40, while the actual result was 56-42 Obama. Well let's just say we get a turnout that looks more like 2008, and I'll drop the margin a couple of points down to 12 to reflect a bit of churn (and I'm giving the GOP a break, because given how old the average GOP is, it's probably more likely that their 2008 voters will be the ones who are DEAD). So let's go with 55-43 Obama, as we assume those who didn't vote might split their votes (the PPP poll says they'll vote 3 to 1 for Walker. Given that a lot of 2010 non-voters or Green Party voters were part of the protests, I find that extremely doubtful)

PPP poll with 55-43 Obama sample
Walker-Barrett- 47-46 Walker
Walker- Falk- 47-45 Walker
Walker-Vinehout- 48-39 Walker
Walker-La Follette- 48-40 Walker

Now it's basically a toss-up with the 2 front-runners, and single digits with Vinehout and La Follette. Puts a little different look on it, doesn't it?

What gets me angry about polls like this is that the media blindly run with the results without looking how those results show up. So they portray some agenda as "Walker's winning" that the casual bystander might catch onto, and it'll encourage or discourage that voter into casting a vote, helping the candidate that is ahead in the poll. This certainly happened in 2010, as evidence by low Dem turnout leading to the disaster we know as Fitzwalkerstan.

The flip side is that when a poll with more legitimate cross-sections comes out, it'll be perceived as having the gap close (or reverse if one or more Dems go ahead). And then the media will start to pressure Walker into trying to "stem the tide". The bottom line is not to get too down with a poll like this, because inside the numbers, it's pretty clear that the poll is GOP-skewed garbage.

But it also shows the opportunity, and the way this race will be decided. If Dems and progressives navel-gaze and complain that everything isn't going their way, then we have a good chance of getting stuck with Scott Walker for 2 1/2 more years. The tightie righties might be fired up to take to the polls, and PPP seems to give them that credit, but they expect us to be a bunch of moody bitches and give up. But PPP is wrong, because we ARE taking this shit back. PPP shouldn't dare underestimate what we'll do, or how hard we'll work, and they'd better start changing their poll demos to reflect the fact that we aren't going lay back and allow Walker and the WisGOPs to hurt us any more.

If we stay engaged, bring the fire that many of us had in 2008, had at the Capitol in 2011, and that we still have and are ready to go with, we turn that fire into action. That translates into GETTING OUT AND VOTING ON MAY 8 AND JUNE 5, and getting your friends and family engaged and voting as well. We do that, we make history and blow that bastard out of office. I think it sounds like a plan.

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