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February 28, 2006

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I think the point is that the fact that they needed to weight it so much was a sign of the bias in the questions asked.

The more left biased your questions, the more likely a Republican voter will not stay on the line for the 15 minute or so poll. And vice versa for right biased questions and Democratic voters.

This was the position taken by at Kathryn Lopez the Corner (National Review): http://corner.nationalreview.com/06_02_26_corner-archive.asp
#091178

"CBS News conducted a random digit dial poll, found that more people identified as Democrats than Republicans, and so they boosted the weight of the Republicans and decreased the weight of the Democrats. Does that sound like liberal bias to you?"

In a word, yes.

If 37% of people ID themselves as Dems, 37% as Repubs, and the rest are independents, then a poll that oversamples Dems is not representative of overall public sentiment. It is skewed to the left. It certainly doesn't help that the poll is conducted by CBS and The New York Times - two media agencies that are more hostile to Republicans than many others.

You would cry foul too if a poll that oversampled Repubs produced an oddly low likeability/approval rating for a Democrat.

Still, I should point out that we're talking about a negligible difference in favorability considering that the correct percentages of Repubs/Dems would only raise Bush's approval rating to around 40% - a dip that is sadly common for this point in a second term presidency.

On another note, you wrote:

"The point, though, is no one knows the true values of party ID in the electorate right now, and it is likely that more people are self-identifying as Democrats given national trends."

Random polling of adults will almost always suggest that the public is increasingly aligning itself with the party in the minority whenever names are left out. However, when likely voters are polled, and when candidates' names are mentioned, the percentages of Dems/Repubs flows back to around 37% each. You shouldn't make the mistake of thinking that just because there is a very vocal Bush-hating crowd, that their message resonates with the average American voter. It doesn't.

Why would we assume it's 37% each? Of the three major poll houses who released annual numbers for 2005 (in the Mystery Pollster post linked above), 2 of 3 found more Dems than Republicans. In addition, party affiliation has moved dramatically over longer time periods - there's no reason to assume it will stay static.

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