Tuesday, August 21, 2012

a tie?

a new poll of missourans taken after todd akin's "legitimate rape" comments has akin and mccaskill at 44-43. the poll has caused a bit of a stir on the internets. but really the poll just shows the two are in a statistical tie (the MOE was +/-4.4%), with a large number of undecideds (13%, large enough to effect the outcome of the race). some have pointed out that the polls sample was tilted a bit to the red. others have noted that the order questions were asked might have boosted akin's numbers.

my main question is whether a poll conducted this quickly is going to be accurate. the entire survey was done on monday night, the same night the results were released. i'm no pollster, but my understanding is that a good scientific poll takes at least a few days. (joseph cannon raises this same issue, calling it a "flash poll"). while it wouldn't surprise me that much if akins continues to poll okay after his controversial statements. many of akin's supporters are seem to be motivated by their antipathy to obama. akin's comments aren't going to change that. but i do think it's too early to tell what, if any, effect this has on the race.