INDEPENDENT NEWS

American Coup: Mid-Term Election Polls vs Actuals

Published: Tue 12 Nov 2002 10:25 AM
In the interests of further examining the question of whether the vote in some races in the U.S. midterm elections was fixed by electronic voting machines supplied by republican affiliated companies, Scoop has done some digging. How accurate were the pollsters in advance of the US mid-term elections?
Scoop’s analysis shows that - according to the polls - the Republican Party experienced a pronounced last minute swing in its favour of between 4 and 16 points. Remarkably this last minute swing appears to have been concentrated in its effects in critical Senate races (Georgia and Minnesota) where it secured it's complete control of Congress.
Scoop has compared the results of final week polling in 19 races, with the actual results in those same races.
The full details of the Scoop analysis follow below. In summary Scoop found:
- 14 races showed a post opinion poll swing towards the Republican Party (by between 3 and 16 points);
- 2 races showed a post opinion poll swing towards the Democratic Party (by 2 and 4 points);
- In three races the pollsters were close to correct;
- The largest post opinion poll vote swings occurred in Minnesota and Georgia where pollsters got the final result wrong (see… Pollsters defend their surveys in wake of upsets for more coverage of this issue);
Comments:
- All the post polling swings in favour of the democratic party were within the margin of error.
- Several of the post polling swings in favour of the republican party were well outside the margin of error.
- In the states where the senate races were critical and close the swing was predominantly towards the Republicans, with the exceptions of Arkansas and Missouri. The level of post-poll swing in these races in favour of the Republican Party in each race were: North Carolina 3, Colorado 4, Georgia 9-12, Minnesota 8-11, Texas 3-11, New Hampshire 1.
- The state where the biggest upset occurred, Georgia, is also the state that ran its election with the most electronic voting machines.
FULL DETAILS OF ANALYSIS FOLLOW…
******************
Overall Positioning Poll
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/southflorida/sfl-ocongress03nov03,0,416603.story?coll=sfla-news-sfla
Democrats hold a slight lead -- 49 percent to 46 percent -- in the latest nationwide Gallup poll, conducted Oct. 21-22, which asked likely voters nationwide whether they plan to vote for Democratic or Republican candidates for Congress. "Generic" polls of this kind have been reliable indicators in the past. Republicans held a seven-point advantage in the generic poll just before their big victory in 1994, when they gained 52 seats.
HOW ACCURATE?
This “generic” poll published two days before the election was wrong. The swing went the other way towards the Republicans.
POST POLL SWING:
Towards Republicans
***************
Florida Governor
http://www.icflorida.com/partners/wftv/news/2002/bushmcbride09262002.html
A survey released Thursday by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research showed Bush leading McBride 49 percent to 43 percent. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A45976-2002Oct31.html
A statewide Mason-Dixon poll out today finds the race at the same, 8-point differential as the Times-Herald poll, giving Bush a 51 percent to 43 percent edge over McBride.
http://www.upi.com/view.cfm?StoryID=20021104-071640-6740r
The smallest lead for Gov. Jeb in the final round of polls is 6 points, while Zogby places the Bush lead at 16 points. Incumbency, a massive GOP fundraising edge, and a lot of federal money, plus the president's post-Sept. 11 surge in popularity won this race in the end for brother Jeb.
Final Result
56 to 43 to Bush (13 points)
HOW ACCURATE?
Polls had 6, 8 and 9 and 16 point margins, Bush got 13 at the upper end of the range
POST POLL SWING:
On average towards Republican Party.
***************
Florida Thurman (House)
http://www.sptimes.com/2002/09/24/Pasco/District_5_candidates.shtml
(POLITICAL POLL) But it's not encouraging for the incumbent to see 40 percent, plus or minus 5.8 percent, while her main opponent gets 38 percent -- even in a party-funded survey, Gonzales said.
Final Result
48 to 46 to Brown Wait (2 points)
HOW ACCURATE?
A GOP poll gave Thurman 2 points, she lost by 2.
POST POLL SWING:
4 points towards Republican Party.
***************
Florida (House)
http://www.humaneventsonline.com/articles/10-28-02/gizzi.htm
Having sweated through veteran Rep. Clay Shaw’s closest-in-the-nation (599 votes) two years ago, Republicans feel he will easily defeat Palm Beach County Commissioner Carol Roberts in the coastal 22nd District this year. A just-completed American Viewpoint poll showed Shaw leading Roberts by 56% to 30%
Final Result
60 to 39 Shaw (21 points)
HOW ACCURATE?
Poll showed 26 points, result showed 21.
POST POLL SWING:
4 points towards Democratic Party
***************
North Carolina
http://www.journalnow.com/wsj/MGB2Z6H6Y7D.html
The statewide poll conducted Monday and Tuesday found that 48percent of voters said they support Dole, 42 percent now support Bowles, 2 percent support Libertarian Sean Haugh, and 8 percent remain undecided.
http://www.usatoday.com/news/politicselections/2002-11-03-state-polls-usat_x.htm
In North Carolina, an MSNBC/Zogby poll shows Republican Elizabeth Dole ahead of Democrat Erskine Bowles, 52% to 46%. But Bowles has been gaining in recent polls and has put nearly $2.2 million of his own money into the campaign since Oct. 17.
Final Result
54 to 45 to Dole (9 points)
HOW ACCURATE?
Polls said 6, Dole got 9.
POST POLL SWING:
3 points towards Republican Party.
***************
Minnesota Senate
http://www.startribune.com/stories/784/3397944.html
Oct 30. Dramatic political developments since Sen. Paul Wellstone's death Friday have had little effect on voters' leanings in the U.S. Senate race, according to a Star Tribune Minnesota Poll taken Monday night.Wellstone's likely replacement on the ballot, former Vice President Walter Mondale, leads Republican Norm Coleman by 47 to 39 percent -- close to where the race stood two weeks ago when Wellstone led Coleman 47 to 41 percent.
http://www.usatoday.com/news/politicselections/2002-11-03-state-polls-usat_x.htm
In Minnesota, a Minneapolis Star Tribune poll shows Democrat Walter Mondale ahead of Republican Norm Coleman, 46% to 41%. But a St. Paul Pioneer Press poll shows Coleman ahead, 47% to 41%.
Final Result
50 to 47 Coleman (3 points)
HOW ACCURATE?
Three polls gave Mondale 8,6 and 5 points, one poll have Coleman 6 points, Coleman got 3.
POST POLL SWING:
(Excepting The Pioneer Press poll) Between 8 and 11 points to towards Republican Party.
***************
Arkansas Senate
http://abcnews.go.com/wire/Politics/ap20021104_406.html
04 Nov 2002... In the Democrats' likeliest takeover contest, Pryor was ahead 51-43 in a CNN-USA
Today-Gallup poll ...
http://www.usatoday.com/news/politicselections/2002-11-03-state-polls-usat_x.htm
Democrats have a stronger lead in the fifth state, Arkansas. There, Democrat Mark Pryor enjoys an 8-percentage-point edge over GOP Sen. Tim Hutchinson.
http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/comment-webb110702.asp
By Monday, the latest Zogby poll showed Pryor with a 13-point edge, and even some in the Hutchinson camp seemed resigned to the inevitable.
Final Result
54 to 46 to Pryor
HOW ACCURATE?
Polls gave Pryor 9,8 and 13 points he got 9
POST POLL SWING:
On average towards Republican Party.
***************
Georgia Senate
http://www.coxnews.com/newsservice/stories/2002/1107-POLL.html
Pollsters may have goofed in not picking up the Republican surge in Georgia, however, some pollsters said. In the Senate race, for instance, Republican Rep. Saxby Chambliss defeated incumbent Democratic Sen. Max Cleland by a margin of 53 to 46 percent. The Hotline, a political news service, recalled a series of polls Wednesday showing that Chambliss had been ahead in none of them. The closest was the most recent Zogby International poll that had showed Cleland leading 46 to 44 percent, within the plus or minus 4 point margin of error.
http://www.usatoday.com/news/politicselections/2002-11-03-state-polls-usat_x.htm
In Georgia, an Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll shows Democratic Sen. Max Cleland with a 49%-to-44% lead over Republican Rep. Saxby Chambliss.
Final Result
53 to 46 percent Chambliss
HOW ACCURATE?
Polls had Cleland winning by 2 and 5 points, he lost by 7
POST POLL SWING:
9 to 12 points towards Republican Party
***************
Georgia Senate
http://www.coxnews.com/newsservice/stories/2002/1107-POLL.html
Similarly, no polls predicted the upset victory in Georgia of Republican Sonny Perdue over incumbent Democratic Gov. Roy Barnes. Perdue won by a margin of 52 to 45 percent. The most recent Mason Dixon Poll had shown Barnes ahead 48 to 39 percent last month with a margin of error of plus or minus 4 points.
Final Result
52 to 45 percent Perdue
HOW ACCURATE?
Poll gave Barnes 9 points he lost by 7
POST POLL SWING:
16 points towards Republican Party
***************
Alabama Governor
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A59053-2002Nov2.html
The latest public poll puts Riley 4 points up, but Republicans say the margin has widened.
Final Result
49 to 49 Riley
HOW ACCURATE?
Poll had Riley by 4 points, the race was nearly a dead heat
POST POLL SWING:
4 points towards Republican Party.
***************
Illinois Governor
http://www.upi.com/view.cfm?StoryID=20021104-071640-6740r
In Illinois, Democratic congressman Rod Blagojevich has led Attorney General Jim Ryan handily in every poll except one. The last Zogby Poll has Ryan shaking off his association with outgoing Gov. George Ryan (no relation) and taking a slight lead. But no other poll has this race even close, so a GOP victory would still be a huge upset.
http://www.nbc5.com/news/1759405/detail.html
Zogby International polled 802 likely voters Wednesday through Friday and found each candidate was supported by just over 43 percent of respondents. The findings have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 points.
Final Result
52 to 45 Blagojevich
HOW ACCURATE?
Not an upset. Poll showed 43 points each, result a 7 point win to Blagojevich.
POST POLL SWING:
7 points towards Republican Party.
***************
Illinois House
http://www.humaneventsonline.com/articles/10-28-02/gizzi.htm
A recent Public Opinion Strategies poll showed Shimkus (R) leading Phelps by a handsome 51% to 38%.
Final Result
55 to 44 Shimkus
HOW ACCURATE?
Poll said 13 result was 11
POST POLL SWING:
2 points towards Democratic Party.
***************
Texas Senate
http://news.mysanantonio.com/story.cfm?xla=saen=180=856947
Web Posted : 11/04/2002 11:43 AM As Texas’ top two candidates for the U.S. Senate make their way today to San Antonio, the latest poll shows the race has tightened to a dead heat. An MSNBC/Zogby poll released Sunday showed Republican John Cornyn with 49 percent of the vote and Democrat Ron Kirk with 48 percent. The poll had a margin of error of 4.5 percent.
http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/story.hts/metropolitan/1646980
Sunday, The Dallas Morning News had Cornyn with a 9-point lead in a poll that had a 3-point margin of error. The Houston Chronicle had Cornyn up by 6 points with nearly a 4-point margin of error.
http://www.usatoday.com/news/politicselections/2002-11-03-state-polls-usat_x.htm
In Texas, an MSNBC/Zogby International poll shows Republican John Cornyn's lead over Democrat Ron Kirk shrinking to 1 percentage point, 49% to 48%. Other polls give Cornyn a bigger lead.
Final Result
55 to 43 Cornyn
HOW ACCURATE?
Polls gave Cornyn 1, 6 and 9 points, he won by 12
POST POLL SWING:
3-11 points towards Republican Party.
***************
Texas House
http://www.humaneventsonline.com/articles/10-28-02/gizzi.htm
Democrats felt they had a chance at thwarting Hensarling with former jurist Ron Chapman, who has the same name as a popular disc jockey. But a Baseline poll shows Hensarling leading Chapman by 47% to 36%.
Final Result
58 to 40 to Hensarling
HOW ACCURATE?
Poll said 11 result was 18
POST POLL SWING:
7 points towards Republican Party.
***************
Missouri Senate
http://abcnews.go.com/wire/Politics/ap20021104_406.html
A CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll Sunday night had Talent at 48, Carnahan at 44, with a 4 percent margin of error.
http://www.usatoday.com/news/politicselections/2002-11-03-state-polls-usat_x.htm
Another poll released Sunday shows a 46%-46% tie. That poll was by Zogby International for the St. Louis Post Dispatch.
Final Result
50 to 49 Talent
HOW ACCURATE?
One poll showed dead heat another gave Talent 4, he won by one
POST POLL SWING:
None.
***************
New Hampshire Senate
http://www.unh.edu/news/Nov01/em_20011114survey.html
Write out -- The U.S. Senate race in New Hampshire between Gov. Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat, and GOP U.S. Rep. John Sununu is shaping up to be a real nail biter. An American Research Group poll of 600 likely voters taken over the weekend has Sununu at 48 percent, Shaheen at 44 percent and 8 percent not sure or undecided with a margin of error of percent.
http://www.nytimes.com/2002/10/29/politics/campaigns/29HAMP.html?ex=1036558800
The number of unaffiliated voters keeps rising year by year — it is now 37 percent of the electorate — and polls show the two candidates virtually even, with Mr. Sununu leading in latest survey by 48 percent to 46 percent, well within the four-percentage-point margin of sampling error.
Final Result
51 to 47 Sununu
HOW ACCURATE?
Polls said 2 & 4, he won by 4
POST POLL SWING:
On average towards Republican Party.
***************
New Jersey Senator
http://www.newsday.com/news/local/wire/ny-bc-nj--senaterace-poll1104nov04,0,4518721.story?coll=ny-ap-regional-wire
The Quinnipiac University poll released Monday gives Lautenberg a 50 to 39 percent lead among likely voters, a tally that includes likely voters who are leaning toward one of the candidates. The survey of 574 likely voters, taken from Oct. 28 to Nov. 3, has a sampling error margin of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
http://www.usatoday.com/news/politicselections/2002-11-03-state-polls-usat_x.htm
In New Jersey, Democrat Frank Lautenberg leads Republican Doug Forrester, 42% to 37% with 8% undecided, in a poll by Gannett's daily newspapers there.
Final Result
54 to 44 Lautenberg
HOW ACCURATE?
Polls said Lautenberg by 5 and 11 points, he won by 10
POST POLL SWING:
None.
***************
South Dakota Senate
http://www.usatoday.com/news/politicselections/2002-11-03-state-polls-usat_x.htm
South Dakota: Republican Rep. John Thune holds a 48%-45% lead over Sen. Tim Johnson, a Democrat..
http://www.usatoday.com/news/politicselections/2002-11-03-state-polls-usat_x.htm
A poll by Zogby for MSNBC shows Johnson ahead, 52% to 47%. Two polls released late last week by the Sioux Falls Argus Leader and KELO-TV also showed Johnson leading, by smaller margins.
Final Result
50 to 49 Johnson
HOW ACCURATE?
Polls show Thune ahead by 3 and Johnson by 5, he won by 1
POST POLL SWING:
None.
***************
Colorado Senate
http://www.usatoday.com/news/politicselections/2002-11-03-state-polls-usat_x.htm
Colorado: Republican Sen. Wayne Allard is virtually deadlocked with Democrat Tom Strickland in a rematch from 1996. The poll found Allard ahead 47% to 45%, with 8% undecided.
Final Result
51 to 45 Allard
HOW ACCURATE?
Poll Gave Allard 2 he won by 6
POST POLL SWING:
4 points towards Republican Party.
***************
Tennessee Governor
http://www.wkrn.com/Global/story.asp?S=989807=1ugFC3SD
A survey of 819 people last week conducted for a Memphis newspaper and television station now shows Hilleary with a 41-to-39 percent lead over democrat Phil Bredesen. 15 percent remain undecided. Margin of error is 3-point-five percent.
http://www.newsday.com/news/politics/wire/sns-ap-tennessee-governor1101nov01,0,3673778.story?coll=sns-ap-politics-headlines
The race is a close one. A Mason-Dixon poll of registered voters conducted Oct. 21-23 showed Bredesen with 45 percent and Hilleary with 42 percent, well within the margin of sampling error of 4 percentage points.
Final Result
51 to 48 Bredesen
HOW ACCURATE?
Poll gave Bredesen 3 he won by 3.
POST POLL SWING:
None.
******* ENDS *******
Alastair Thompson
Scoop Publisher
Alastair Thompson is the co-founder of Scoop. He is of Scottish and Irish extraction and from Wellington, New Zealand. Alastair has 24 years experience in the media, at the Dominion, National Business Review, North & South magazine, Straight Furrow newspaper and online since 1997. He is the winner of several journalism awards for business and investigative work.
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