Thursday, November 6, 2014

Gov's race polling: Ward is queen...this time

Election 2014 was a critical election in the Islands, but for political junkies, a big question was: How did the pollsters do?

This year, in the governor’s race, one Hawaii-based pollster was spot-on, and the other wasn’t too far off.

The national polls, not so much.

First, these were the actual results in the governor’s race: Winner and Democrat David Ige 49 percent of the vote; Republican Duke Aiona 36.7 percent. Independent Mufi Hanneman 11.6 percent. And Libertarian Jeff Davis 1.7 percent.

Which poll had the most accurate numbers? 

That would be Becky Ward’s Ward Research, and her Star-Advertiser/Hawaii News Now Hawaii Poll, done of 605 likely voters Oct. 11 to 18.

Ward had Ige 47, Aiona 35, Hannemann 12 and Davis 1.

Civil Beat/Merriman River wasn’t far off, but significantly understated Ige’s numbers and overstated Libertarian Jeff Davis’. In this poll, of 1,221 likely voters Oct. 16 to 19.

Merriman River had Ige 40, Aiona 34, Hannemann 11 and Davis 6.

Then there were the Mainland polls, which were a little embarrassing..

CBS News/New York Times/YouGov did an online poll of 1,002 likely voters Oct. 16-23—roughly the same time period as Ward and Merriman’s polls. But they vastly overstated Ige’s vote, and vastly understated Aiona and Hanneman.

They had Ige 54, Aiona 22, Hannemann 5. They didn’t bother polling about the Libertarian Davis and wrapped him into a 19 percent undecided.

Finally, a Rasmussen poll of 750 likely voters Sept. 9-10 had the race a dead heat between Ige and Aiona. This poll was a month earlier than the others, so may not be directly comparable.

Rasmussen had Ige 40, Aiona 39, Hannemann 14 and Davis and the undecided voters at 7.

That said, and Ward herself concedes, nobody got everything right. The case in point is the race for the 1st District U.S. House race, where most polling saw a tie between Democrat Mark Takai and Republican Charles Djou.

The actual numbers: Takai 51.2 percent , Djou 47.4. 

Close, but the difference is nearly 7,000 votes.

In the polling closest to the election, Ward’s Hawai`i Poll had it a 47-47 tie, and Civil Beat/Merriman River had them tied at 45-45.

Back in August, the Washington Post ran a snarky story about the quality of polling in Hawaii. 
You gotta be careful with the snarky. It’ll come back to bite you.

On the Mainland this week, all the talk is about how national pollsters managed to miss the massive GOP win across the country. 

If Tip O`Neill was right and all politics is local, then maybe those Mainland folks ought to pay more attention to the local pollsters, who know local conditions and election trends.

© Jan TenBruggencate 2014

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