Is phone polling doomed by 2012?

Catching up on reading and emails from the past three weeks, I came across a link to an interesting article by Mystery Pollster:

Is Polling As We Know It Doomed?


… To conclude his (Jay Leve, editor and founder of SurveyUSA) talk, Leve summed up the problem. All phone polling, he said, depends on a set of assumptions:

You’re at home; you have a [home] phone; your phone has a hard-coded area code and exchange which means I know where you are; … you’re waiting for your phone to ring; when it rings you’ll answer it; it’s OK for me to interrupt you; you’re happy to talk to me; whatever you’re doing is less important than talking to me; and I won’t take no for an answer — I’m going to keep calling back until you talk to me.

The current reality, he said, is often much different:

In fact, you don’t have a home phone; your number can ring anywhere in the world; you’re not waiting for your phone to ring; nobody calls you on the phone anyway they text you or IM you; when your phone rings you don’t answer it — your time is precious, you have competing interests, you resent calls from strangers, you’re on one or more do-not-call lists, and 20 minutes [the length of many pollsters’ interviews] is an eternity.

All of this brought Leve to a somewhat stunning bottom line: “If you look at where we are here in 2009,” for phone polling, he said, “it’s over… this is the end. Something else has got to come along.”

Also mentioned is the amazing (to me anyway) factoid that OVER 40% of 18 to 24 year olds have no landline telephone service, a near tripling in four years.

(And anecdotally, at the other end of the spectrum, an elderly (80+ years) relative of mine  is preparing to port her phone number over to cell phone, cancel the landline and go cell only (to cut costs). So this is not merely a youth trend.)

Of course, they weight the samples as best they can, but at some point the errors introduced have got to become too significant.

So after 2012, what will politians and campaign managers do with increasingly unreliable polling?

And what will us political junkies do? Will every single diary quoting a polling result get a comment to the effect that the numbers are unreliable garbage?

We sure live in interesting times.  

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FL-Sen. If Martinez exits early, What’s Crist’s move?

From The Hill :

Cornyn … acknowledged that retiring Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.), … could resign early.

sources close to Martinez said he might very well exit early and is actively looking for jobs for his post-Senate career. They say that if a great opportunity presented itself that required him to resign early, he would do just that.

“He has been looking for a job, and he has been telling all his friends, for a while, that if the right opportunity came along he would consider leaving before his term was up,” said a Florida Republican source.

A GOP aide said plainly: “Mel is going to do what’s best for Mel.”

At that point, Governor and Senate-candidate Charlie Crist would have an opportunity:

… Crist could use the (replacement appointment) decision to bolster his standing with groups like Cuban-Americans. It’s unlikely Crist would resign his post and have the lieutenant governor appoint him to the seat.

If he appoints a caretaker Cuban-American, I don’t see how that could backfire.

If Crist self-appointed himself, and ran as the sitting Senator, that could seem tawdry. But more importantly, it would force him to cast actual votes. And everyone would find out: would he fall in line with the minority block, or vote more independently.

And it could also be dependent on just when the opening would happen:

before filing papers are due, or

after that but before the primary, or

after that but before the general election.

And at some point on the calendar he’s undoubtedly allowed to just leave it vacant until the next Senator is sworn in (which he’s hoping is himself, of course)

Georgia candidate doesn’t think past sex with mule will hurt his chances for Governor

I dunno how this race could’ve gotten overlooked for the SSP Daily Digests:

Georgia candidate doesn’t think past sex with mule will hurt his chances for Governor

More on GA Gov candidate Neal Horsley, with a picure:

Georgia candidate for governor says sex with mules, watermelon behind him

Don’t miss the comments, some are simply hilarious.

CA-46 Debbie Cook vs Dana Rohrabacher

This race caught me eye in a dkos diary earlier this week. Checking the CA-46 tags, there were four pretty much un-noticed diaries this past week talking about CA-46:

The Best Hypocrisy Red Money Can Buy

CA-46 Rohrabacher Allies “Bleed” Mayor Debbie Cook

CA-46 Rohrabacher Allies Smacked Down, Ordered to Pay Costs

CA-46 Rohrabacher Sues Mayor Debbie Cook Again, Loses Again

Wingnut Dana Rohrabacher (R) has easily held this district since winning in 1988 (he won by 23% last time).

This year his opponent will be Huntington Beach Mayor Debbie Cook, ( an impressive grassroots progressive. Apparently the California Republican Party is so worried that Rohrabacher may be vulnerable and is facing a strong challenger this time, their Treasurer plus a former Chair of the California GOP filed some frivolous lawsuits against Debbie Cook, essentually just to cause her to have to waste time and money to defend against them.

Happily, on Wednesday an Orange County judge threw out the suit, and Thursday a Sacramento judge ruled against the GOP as well. And Cook’s lawyers will get their fees from the Republicans.  

(Details and many other links are in the about diaries for those interested; Ballot suit draws criticism and Sacramento court sides with H.B. mayor are good news stories.)

It would be sooooo sweet to get rid of Rohrabacher this election. If we’re lucky, the anti-war wave might even reach into solid red Orange County…

Monday’s story SSP’s Competitive House Race Ratings (3/24/08) put it as Likely R. The PVI is R+6.

My guess is that it will take Cook a couple of tries to crack this nut. Hopefully she can assemble and maintain a good campaign team, and come close this Nov. Then in 2 years unseat Rohrabacher.

Or just possibly after another 2 years in an even smaller Republican minority, Rohrabacher just might decide he’d rather be lobbying for big $$ and call it quits and go surfing.

IL-14: Foster up 7, according to SUSA

This was on the front page at dailykos this morning:

IL-14: Foster up 7, according to SUSA

Subscription-only Roll Call has a story up today with breaking news: Democrat Bill Foster leads Republican Jim Oberweis, 52% to 45%, in the race for Dennis Hastert’s old seat in Illinois’ 14th District.


The House seat recently vacated by former Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) is in danger of flipping to the Democrats in Saturday’s special election, according to a poll conducted this week for Roll Call.

In the poll of 517 likely special election voters, conducted by Survey USA exclusively for Roll Call on March 3 and 4, physicist Bill Foster (D) led dairy company executive Jim Oberweis (R) 52 percent to 45 percent. The poll had a 4.4-point margin of error.

Foster appeared to test particularly well with women and independent voters, who preferred him by a 3-2 margin. The survey also suggested Foster had locked down his party’s base, taking 97 percent of likely Democratic votes and perhaps stealing 10 percent of likely GOP votes.

There’s other good stuff in the dkos story, too (and some interesting comments as well)


Remember that IL-14 District is PVI R+5.

Remember that IL-14 is Speaker Hastert’s old district.  What a prize this would be for Democrats.

Remember the famous phrase: “Do you believe in miracles?”

Remember the Blue Majority ActBlue page