If you were watching CNN this morning, you may have seen Bernie Sanders campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, citing a new Reuters poll that he claims shows Bernie Sanders leading Hillary Clinton by 6 points. My first reaction to any poll is to go look at the methodology and the full results. My graduate degree was in communications research. I found the following, which was quite odd and had no explanation.
What in the hell is the category “wouldn’t vote?” I’ve heard of undecided before, but wouldn’t vote? I attempted to dig down in the numbers but could only play around with the filters that let you look at demographic information. Bob Cesca at The Daily Banter had something on this and the fishy results…
Notice that just below the chart, there’s a series of drop-down menus where you can select various demographic filters to narrow the results of the poll. If you choose the standard parameters normally applied in respectable polling results from the “Political” menu, specifically party affiliation and voter registration status, Reuters shows an almost-tied race, with Hillary narrowly leading Bernie.
In other words, among registered Democrats, Hillary is winning by a couple tenths of a percentage point. Still good news for Bernie to be this close.
But here’s where the everything falls apart for Bernie supporters. If we choose the most accurate sample from the Political drop-down menu, specifically “likely Democratic primary voters,” Hillary leads by seven points. Again, it’s less positive news for Bernie and his supporters, but it’s still noteworthy that he’s closed such a wide gap against Hillary. That said, it’s obviously not the runaway shock poll some sites are ballyhooing today.
Personally, I like to use FiveThirtyEight.com for my polling fixes. Whenever I see a breathless reporter or anchor pushing results of a “new poll”, I head over to Nate’s place and see what he has. If you don’t know about Nate, Google him, he knows what he is doing.
What I found at FiveThirtyEight.com was a bit different than the Reuters poll. Nate’s site lead me to the latest NBC News poll which has Clinton leading Sanders by 9 points.
Data from the latest NBC News|SurveyMonkey Weekly Election Tracking poll conducted online from Feb 15-21 shows that nationally, Clinton maintains a double-digit lead over Sanders among black voters — 65 percent to 22 percent. She also maintains her overall national lead 51 percent to 40 percent.
I am still determined to find the full results of the Reuters poll, but my attempts so far have turned up nothing. That is suspicious to me, if a firm hides their methodology, it is a major red flag. I’m off to Google some more.