Late polls show the Dem "wave" getting smaller.

A mostly political Weblog.
Nov. 6 2006 1:10 AM

Surf's Down?

Late polls show the Dem "wave" shrinking.

(Continued from Page 22)

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Not-So-Secretly Blue:The Majority Watch robo-poll of contested House races now shows a likely Dem House majority. ... They've added a scorecard at the top, which gives a better idea of why I think this project is so useful. Even if the GOPs win all the "weak R" seats and the tie seats, they'd still lose their majority. They have to win some "weak D" seats, according to Majority Watch ... P.S.: But MP cautions

Majority Watch surveys use an automated methodology so new that even its creators describe it as a "work in progress."

OK. But even if it doesn't work perfectly this election, isn't this the wave of the future? In a 50-50 nation, we demand a poll that measures all the hot House races and comes up with a total. Even if all House races were contested, it should be possible to keep track of all 435. We have computers now! ... P.P.S.: One advantage of a robo-poll, of course, is that it counts more of any Secretly Blue vote--red state voters who may be embarrassed to tell a live human polltaker they're voting Democratic. ... 3:10 P.M.

Secretly Blue: Michael Barone has noticed that Tennessee Democratic Senate candidate  Harold Ford does better in robopolls, which use a recorded voice to ask questions, than in regular polls where respondents talk to an actual person. This,  Instapundit speculates, gives the lie to the idea that voters 

are telling pollsters they'll support Ford over [his GOP opponent Bob] Corker in order not to sound racist but [will] vote for Corker in the privacy of the ballot box. [E.A.]

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A robopoll, Instap. notes, is supposed to minimize this Political Correctness Error because fewer people will embarrassed in front of a machine. A machine isn't going to call them "racist."

But then why the difference in the polls? Maybe a new and different kind of PC error is at work--call it Red State Solidarity Error. Voters in Tennessee don't want to admit in front of their conservative, patriotic fellow citizens that they've lost confidence in Bush and the GOPs in the middle of a war on terror and that they're going to vote for the black Democrat. They're embarrassed to tell it to a human pollster. But talking to a robot--or voting by secret ballot--is a different story. A machine isn't going to call them "weak." ...

If Red State Solidarity Error exists, it means Dems might do a bit better than the non-robo polls indicate--not just in Tennessee, but in other states where the dominant culture is proudly conservative. ... 

Update:Mystery Pollster has been all over the Tennessee polls. He cautions that the differences in the surveys aren't large and my be the product of other methodological differences between the two main polls involved, Rasmussen (robo) and Mason-Dixon (regular). MP also notes, though, that in Virginia's Senate race:

[t]he pattern of automated surveys showing a slightly more favorable result for the Democrats was similar from July to early September, but the pattern has disappeared over the last few weeks as the surveys have converged. [E.A.]

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