Polling North Carolina

YjKt_X1sxduZeX1OewoUBPzYb0Tc2A0O_throwingdartsEvery so often, we get a poll dropped on us about an upcoming election. I am talking to more and more political pros who suggest polling is getting more and more meaningless. (Citing the prevalence of unlisted cell phones and caller ID, of course.) 

How do you tell which polls to put the most faith in?  I know that Senator Helms used to treat the findings of the Long Polling Co. of Greensboro as the gospel.  Every six years, they managed to pick his races ON THE MONEY.  He waited for mailings from Long like a kid waiting for Santa on Christmas.  Those guys never failed him.  

The two we hear the most about these days are Civitas AND PPP.  Let’s take a look at how they, and others did in the March 15th presidential primary, shall we?  Here are the final results from March: 


Now, for the polling comparison, courtesy of RealClearPolitics:


SurveyUSA/WRAL came closest to Trump’s final number.  PPP came closest to pegging Cruz’s final numbers — even though they came up a little short.  PPP and High Point came closest to nailing Rubio’s final numbers. High Point came close to pegging Kasich’s numbers.    Civitas was just plain OUT IN LEFT FIELD.

Let’s look at the November 2014 US Senate race:


As you can see, something called the “Harper” poll was the only one that picked Thilli$$$ to win.  The ONLY one. . Harper came closest to picking Thilli$$$’s final percentage.  Rasmussen came closest to picking Hagan’s final percentage.

Let’s go back to the 2012 Governor’s race: 


As you can see, Rasmussen came closest to McCrory’s final percentage.  Public Policy Polling came closest to nailing Walter Dalton’s final percentage.

Let’s come back to the present day.  The only polling we’re hearing about in our governor and US Senate races is from PPP and Civitas.  (You’ve seen here Civitas’s polling record in recent years.)   Here’s the Senate race: 


PPP has been pretty good at reading Democrat voters, but has not had the same luck in tapping into the mood of OTHER voters.

Now here’s the governor’s race: 


This race has been all about Cooper until LAST WEEK — when Civitas found a SEVEN point lead for McCrory.  (I’ll withhold editorial comment.  But I will suggest that you evaluate that finding by taking into consideration the Civitas poll’s performance in recent past elections.) 

I hope this provides some food for thought on polling.  In these times, with all kinds of technology and the increasing mobility of the citizenry, reliable polling has become a greater and greater challenge.

4 thoughts on “Polling North Carolina

  1. The other thing that is interesting is that McCrory’s numbers have gone up post-HB2. Indeed, the last Civitas poll had McCrory behind by 10 points, so he has had an incredible positive swing after HB2.

    1. I’ve never liked, trusted, or voted for McCrory. And he’s made some really bad calls like not keeping his trap shut during the Confederate flag issue. Which is puzzling because he’s done two things that otherwise suggest McCrory has brilliant political instincts. One, he’s made the nearly 800,000 member military veteran community in NC a priority.
      Secondly, he’s hugging the HB2 issue like the political life preserver that it appears to be, even though I seriously doubt that a second term McCrory will be so passionate about a social issue. But then again, it’s all about securing that second and final term.

      1. I won’t try and predict the outcome. I thought for sure Tillis was going to lose his race. But I don’t think McCrory will be more conservative in a second term. Expect him to become more mushy.

        1. Tillis won because the protest vote that should have gone to Haugh ended up voting for Tillis anyway, because Haugh made a decision to campaign like a leftist. Tillis won due to a large amount of votes that were cast with a held nose.

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