Identifying and analyzing emerging trends in campaigns and elections.

Online Polling Project Across 50 States Yields Surprising Results

In Polling on July 29, 2014 at 12:31 pm

YouGov, an international Internet pollster, has been surveying campaigns and corporate marketing programs in many regions around the world. While most are skeptical of Internet polling, as they should be, YouGov’s highly sophisticated and targeted approach has enjoyed a better than average record in terms of projecting political victories around the world.

YouGov and the New York Times recently partnered to conduct a simultaneous 50-state US polling project. The results were released yesterday. By and large, the vast majority of their polls track with what we have seen from other survey research firms over the past months. The YG/NYT project polled the key statewide campaigns in every state, and then asked a generic party question about US House preference.

Here, we highlight some of the surprise findings:

Alaska: The Last Frontier polls were very different from the preponderance of other polling from this electorate. While the Senate race has been tight for months, this YouGov survey of 452 registered Alaska voters gives Sen. Mark Begich (D) a 46-35 percent advantage, adjusting for leaners as all their polls do. They also find a surprising result in the governor’s race. Other published polls have suggested a tightening of the campaign, but YouGov gives Gov. Sean Parnell a substantial 55-29 percent advantage.

Colorado: The survey of 2,020 Colorado voters pegs Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) and ex-Rep. Bob Beauprez (R) into a 47 percent tie, similar to all other published polls. The Senate numbers give Sen. Mark Udall (D) his best result in many weeks. They see Udall with a 50-45 percent lead over Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

Connecticut: While other pollsters have shown weakness in Gov. Dan Malloy’s (D) re-election bid, YouGov records a shock result among the 1,177 voters surveyed. The tally shows former Ambassador Tom Foley (R) with a 48-41 percent lead. No other poll has drawn such a conclusion.

Florida: Other pollsters have been reporting a bit of a surge from Democratic former Gov. Charlie Crist. YouGov, however, gives Gov. Rick Scott his biggest lead of the campaign, 48-43 percent, from a huge sampling universe of 6,873 respondents.

Georgia: Conflicting data has been recorded since the July 22 run-off. Here, YouGov comes down with Republican candidate David Perdue, posting him to a stronger 47-42 percent lead over Democrat Michelle Nunn from 2,541 individuals polled.

Hawaii: Much has been made about a couple of polls showing Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) trailing in a general election battle with former Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona (R). YouGov actually confirms the Democrat’s deficit, trailing Aiona 37-40 percent (1,083 Hawaii voters).

Illinois: The big surprise here is not businessman Bruce Rauner (R) leading Gov. Pat Quinn (D) 46-38 percent, but Sen. Dick Durbin (D) claiming only a 48-41 percent advantage over state senator and frequent statewide candidate Jim Oberweis (R). A total of 5,324 Illinois voters were polled.

Kansas: A number of polls have sent distress signals to Gov. Sam Brownback (R), showing him trailing state House Minority Leader Paul Davis (D) by as many as seven points. YouGov, polling 1,274 Kansas voters, finds a result that is certainly more in line with normal Kansas voting patterns; the Republican governor holding a discernible edge, 52-40 percent.

Michigan: Polls over the past several weeks have all pegged Rep. Gary Peters (D) in the low to mid 40s and Republican Terri Lynn Land hovering around 38 percent. YouGov, surveying 3,849 Michigan voters, finds Land back up, 47-46 percent.

Montana: This may be the first post-John Walsh plagiarism poll. The New York Times broke the story of Walsh allegedly plagiarizing his war college thesis late last week. According to YouGov, the Walsh-Rep. Steve Daines (R) campaign is no longer close. From 838 Montana voters polled, Daines has increased his lead substantially, to 55-39 percent.

North Carolina: Several polls during the past 10 days have given Sen. Kay Hagan (D) a lead well beyond the polling margin of error, despite her not surpassing the low 40 percentile range in support. YouGov suggests that state House Speaker Thom Tillis (R) is slightly ahead. The 2,678 respondents give Tillis a bare 45-44 percent edge.

New Jersey: Everyone assumes that Sen. Cory Booker (D) will cruise to an easy re-election victory. YouGov forecasts that the road may be a bit bumpier. The 2,645 member sampling universe give Sen. Booker only a 47-40 percent lead over former GOP Senatorial nominee (1978; ’82) Jeff Bell (R).

New Mexico: Countering Attorney General Gary King’s (D) internal poll that shows him tied with Gov. Susana Martinez (R), YouGov again sees the governor with a lead well beyond the polling margin of error. According to this group of 931 respondents, Martinez leads 51-44 percent. Interestingly, the Senate race breaks in exactly the same manner, with Democratic incumbent Tom Udall leading Republican Allen Weh, 51-44 percent.

South Dakota: Here, YouGov gives former Gov. Mike Rounds (R) his largest lead of the senatorial campaign. Of 631 South Dakota voters polled, Rounds leads former Senate aide Rick Weiland (D) by a whopping 59-33 percent margin.

West Virginia: YouGov detects a slightly closer Senate race, but with the same leader as the other pollsters. From 1,750 West Virginia voters sampled, Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R) leads Secretary of State Natalie Tennant 47-40 percent.

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