Patterico's Pontifications


Battleground Poll Is An Accurate Reflection of Where This Race Has Been, Where It Is, and Where It Is Headed

Filed under: 2008 Election — WLS @ 4:45 pm

[Posted by WLS Shipwrecked (yeah, that’s new]

I’ve posted here before that, in my opinion, the Battleground Poll done jointly by Ed Goeas and Celinda Lake is the most unbiased of all the national polls — given that it isn’t sponsored by a media organization with questionable editorial bias, and because both a GOP pollster and a DNC pollster collaborate on it, so you expect internal biases in the poll to be minimized.

Every day they publish a “snapshot” of their “Aided” ballot question, where the respondents are given the names of the candidates before being asked who they intend to vote for. This is a “tracking” poll, which averages the responses over the three previous days. Today this tracking poll stands at 49-45, with Obama in the lead. Obama has been between 48-50% in this poll for 7 days, while McCain has been between 44-47%.

But each week the Battleground Poll also puts out a much longer poll that covers a lot of internal issues, such as favorables/unfavorables, and which candidate is favored on a series of issues.

Also in this weekly release is what is called the “Unaided” ballot question, where the respondents are asked for whom they intend to vote for President without being given the candidates’ names.

On the “Unaided” ballot, Obama has only a 2 point lead — 44-42, with 13% undecided.

The aided ballot question has 5% undecided, while the unaided ballot question has 13% undecided. That’s a pretty soft 8% who don’t know the candidates’ names well enough two weeks before the election to give an answer unprompted. In other words, 5% of Obama’s 49% aren’t solid enough to have named him without being prompted to do so. That’s slightly more than 1 in 10 Obama voters.

More significantly, the internals in this poll show some significant movement over the last 2 weeks — ever since McCain was knocked off message by the financial crisis.

Two weeks ago McCain’s favorables were at 52% — having fallen from 58% in September — and his unfavorables were up to their highest point at 44%. Today his favorables are back to 54%, and his unfavorables are down to 42%. More movement in these numbers is necessary, but they are going in the right direction for now.

Obama, on the other hand, has seen the opposite happen in the last two weeks. His favorables peaked at the time of the financial crisis, reaching 62%, with unfavorables dropping to 35%. Now he’s down to 58% favorable, and up to 39% unfavorable. That’s a four-point loss for him on both.

Finally, Obama has seen a significant shift against him on the issues of “Keeping American Prosperous” and “Creating Jobs.”

Two weeks ago Obama led McCain 49-36 on keeping America prosperous.

Today that lead is only 45-39. That’s a four-point shift away from Obama.

Two weeks ago Obama led McCain 55-32 on creating jobs.

Today that lead is 51-36 — again, a four-point shift away from Obama.

There is no other real explanation for this than the “Joe The Plumber” imbroglio, and the blowback against the media after it attacked him for simply asking a question.

Obama generally lost ground to Hillary as election day drew near in most of their primary contests (not caucuses where organization is key). He’s losing ground to McCain right now, and McCain has a message that he is exploiting every day.

It’s going to be an interesting 12 days.

Re: the handle change, I was given some advice from an internet-savvy friend who said that the use of a blog identity is necessary to not be overlooked or forgotten.  “Shipwrecked” is something that I’ve used on other sites as an Internet moniker, and I’m going to use it here from now on. For the time being I’m going to put “WLS” in front of it so there is no confusion.

— WLS Shipwrecked

30 Responses to “Battleground Poll Is An Accurate Reflection of Where This Race Has Been, Where It Is, and Where It Is Headed”

  1. The Battleground Poll was the #1 most accurate poll in predicting the Presidential popular vote margin in 2004.

    Official Internet Data Office (e53e3b)

  2. I think that the most accurate poll is the MSNBC web-poll.

    JD (6248dc)

  3. IIRC, the final IBD poll was the most accurate in 2004. No worries, though. They, too, have this within the margin of error among likely voters.

    Michelle Malkin has some detail about the Russell/Murtha race in western PA that is reeeeeally interesting. It seems the racist white folk are voting for the other white guy (Russell). If he can get turnout, it is very, very, good news for JSM/SP.

    Ed (f58dc1)

  4. Hmmm.

    While thinking about how Col. Russell may help JSM in PA, I thought about “coat tails.”

    Am I racist to think Obama doesn’t have coat tails? Or, is it racist to think he does have coat tails? I am very confused as to the use of any phrase that includes “tails.”

    Perhaps y’all could enlighten me? Thanks.

    Ed (f58dc1)

  5. Ed, whenever in doubt, assume you are a racist.

    JD (6248dc)

  6. Ed #6
    Racism 101-
    If you are white and don’t vote for Obama, you are a racist.There is simply no other reason for you to deny this wonderful man your vote. Ask Tokyo Rose, who already has installed Obamalamadingdong in the WH and has sexual fantasies about the ONE -tm

    I posted this link before

    he even lists some of the criteria for what racism entails:

    using the word “skinny” to refer to Obama is racist.
    “community organizer” is a racist term
    any reference between Obama and Franklin Raines, the former head of Fannie Mae is racist because Raines is black.
    All reference to Jeremiah Wright are racist since Rev. Wright is black.

    Referring to Obama as “eloquent” is racist because it infers that other blacks are not eloquent.
    For goodness’ sake, don’t refer to Obama as “clean”.
    Calling Obama a “socialist” is also racist because, according to the Kansas City Star, socialist is code word for “black”.

    Now, you better vote for Obama if you are white or else YOU are a frackin’ racist. if you are black, vote for Obama to show your racial pride and stick it to the Honkeys..time to pay the racists back. Time for rest of country to pay reparations to black also.
    Nobama- trickle up poverty

    madmax333 (0c6cfc)

  7. Was Norman Thomas Black?
    Who knew?

    And, Bernie Sanders?
    Whitest Black-man we’ve ever seen!

    Another Drew (b4e6e5)

  8. AD – Did you see that editorial in the KC Star about how socilism is a racist code-word for black?

    JD (6248dc)

  9. Yes! Unfortunately.
    Stupidity like that would be painful if it was not shared by four levels of editors.

    Another Drew (b4e6e5)

  10. Wasn’t there a comedian tht did a routine about that kind of stupid being forced to carry around a sign?

    JD (6248dc)

  11. JerrySpringer, timmah, lovie, jharpy, AF, alphie, Phil, NYC chica … here’s your sign.

    JD (6248dc)

  12. Comment by JD — 10/23/2008 @ 6:24 pm

    Why do I have this feeling that some of those names are redundant?

    Another Drew (b4e6e5)

  13. David Petranos Esp – Here are your signs.

    MKDP – Here is a gross of signs. We will have the rest delivered once the manufacturer can find enough trucks.

    JD (6248dc)

  14. I think polls are unusually unreliable this year. The crazy attacks on Palin convince me that the Obamabots are worried.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  15. WLS, forgot to mention that I was impressed when you updated with a new post when your campaign finance theories were proved wrong. Around here, that’s highly ethical behavior. Good work.

    Back in current news.. if only more than 1 out of 15 national polls were showing anything remotely that favorable. Just try not to blame it on election fraud, k?

    glasnost (c75a98)

  16. Maybe the best viral campaigning for McCain would be for conservatives to go play catch with their kids in the yard and wait for Obama to show up.

    In this climate Obama could have Frank Drebbin as his VP candidate and he’d still have over 50% approval. In fact, I think he DOES have Frank Drebbin as his running mate.

    I just want to remind everybody, a vote for Obama is a vote for Congress as it is, for the media and for his supporters. We need to stock up on personal armor.

    AST (fa373b)

  17. Shipwrecked (might as well get used to it without the WLS):

    I don’t accord Battleground any credibility for being unbiased simply because it’s a joint venture between a Dem and a Rep. Good polls are the ones with proper samples, assumptions, weighting, and transparency as to methodology so you can examine their procedure. I’d accept a well designed and run internal GOP poll over a shoddy internal Dem one, even though I’m rooting for Obama, despite the bias on either side.

    That said, Battleground is a decent poll, not the most confidence inspiring (Rasmussen) and not horrible (Zogby). (Nate Silver has a brief discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of various daily polls here that I found interesting and persuasive.) And the favorable to McCain trends you discuss in your post are probably real and measurable.

    However, the national numbers are becoming more and more meaningless when it comes to the Presidential race they are measuring, although they are still interesting when trying to predict general sentiment going into the downticket races.

    The real story this close to the election is looking at the individual states and the Electoral College. It’s hard to see how McCain is anything but toast, and how at this date there’s anything McCain can do about it.

    Aplomb (b6fba6)

  18. Prediction:

    McCain will lose (maybe big) and the Dems make gains in the House/Senate. They will then own all the problems that come our way from then on. They can blame Bush and Co. for about 6-9 months but then HopenChange has to deliver. Once in office, the bloom’ off the rose. My take is that he’ll deliver about as much as he has in the past which is NADA. His policies will tank the market and the economy; and if he does what he says re: foreign policy, well let’s just say as safe as we’ve been these past 8 years, we’ll be equally “unsafe” under Big O. The Dems are great at complaining but they suck at governing. The real question is whether the Repubs have the gonads to run as a true oppo party. Every lost point on the Dow and every lost job, the R’s in charge need to scream like hell. Big O may be more of an opportunist than an idealogue, but I doubt it. Buy your guns while you have the chance.

    Volfan (e0cc58)

  19. glasnot – here’s your sign.

    JD (a9d6c5)

  20. Prediction: McCain wins big. Carries 40 states. I’m going to come back and visit on the 5th and see how many of the opposition has shown up.

    JerrySpringer, timmah, lovie, jharpy, AF, alphie, Phil

    rls (14b9d3)

  21. 40 states would be nice, but I’ll settle for just that magic 270.

    Another Drew (b4e6e5)

  22. My prediction: Obama wins NC and the talking heads start muttering about a sweep. Then he gets Indiana and reality sinks in.

    Aplomb (b6fba6)

  23. Then he gets Indiana and reality sinks in.

    Ain’t gonna happen …

    JD (a9d6c5)

  24. Aplomb — polls of individual states are 1) less reliable due to smaller sample sizes and less resources put into them by the polling outfits, and 2) lagging indicators because they rarely track day-to-day movement that is revealed in national tracking polls.

    The “averages” for states such as those posted by RealClearPolitics can include poll results from 10-12 days ago, where circumstances and events may have completely overtaken samples that are 2 weeks old.

    Rove says — and the guy is a political genius, evil or otherwise — that state polls are lagging indicator. The follow where the national polls lead.

    And, it’s not just one poll, its multiple polls.

    Are there media polls that have a much wider race?? Sure, and if those polls were accurate we’d be writing chapters in history books about the Gore and Kerry Administrations.

    CBS/NYT, WaPo/WSJ, ABC/NBC/CNN == ignore all. They haven’t been right since Nixon was reelected.

    shipwrecked (c1b09d)

  25. CBS/NYT, WaPo/WSJ, ABC/NBC/CNN == ignore all. They haven’t been right since Nixon was reelected.

    CNN was more accurate than Battleground in 2004:

    snuffles (677ec2)

  26. sniffles is not comparing apples to oranges at her link. Apparently it learned to link from Gren Gleeeeeenwald.

    JD (a9d6c5)

  27. Rick Ellensberg?

    Dmac (e30284)

  28. #27 And IBD was the most accurate of any poll in 2004. Also, the continued tanking of indicies is directly related to fear of an Obama presidency…don’t take my word for it, ask those who actually work on the exchanges.

    Bfidler (a135af)

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