Washington Post Virginia Poll Already Obsolete

Fortunately, for some reason, media outlets decide to do political polls at roughly the same time. Far be it from me to say they do it so they can have cover or be able to weight the polls so they don’t appear to be an outlier. Who knows. The election is in six months so it is not as if these polls can be verified as to whether they are accurate in early May. On the heels of the Washington Post showing Ken Cuccinelli ahead among registered and “almost certain to vote” Virginians, NBC/Marist is out with a poll in Virginia:

A new NBC News/Marist poll in Virginia finds Ken Cuccinelli (R) leading Terry McAuliffe (D) in the race for governor among likely voters, 45% to 42%.

Among all voters, McAuliffe holds a small lead, 43% to 41%.

Of course, since only about 40% of registered voters will actually vote in November, the McAuliffe non-advantage (I wish reporters would take statistical inference classes and be tortured like I am being right now so that they don’t write unsupportable conclusions) is not worth noting and we have no idea if someone who says they are “likely” to vote are any likelier to vote than someone who says they aren’t. The proper way to report this poll is that it is a dead heat (there is no statistical difference between the candidate either way they report it) and we have no idea whether the individual spoken to in the poll will actually vote since this sample was not called from a voter list. The best way to predict whether someone is a likely voter is if the call can be matched back to a voter file and if the person voted in 2005, 2007, 2009, or 2011, we can be reasonably sure they will vote in 2013. If you don’t do that, you have no idea since a respondent on the phone is NOT reliable in reporting their intent to vote. This type of coverage of polls will persist throughout the summer and fall and irritate me beyond belief.

Anyway, this poll asked which candidate is better described by certain traits. About a third pick McAuliffe, a third pick Cuccinelli, and a third are unsure. The level of knowledge of the candidates is wafer thin, but if by November, voters say Cuccinelli is better described on these measures, we as Democrats and progressives have failed miserably and we deserve to have that lunatic as our Governor.

McAuliffe Cuccinelli Unsure Which Candidate?
30 34 29 Better understands the problems of people like yourself
33 39 24 Trust more to do what’s best for Virginia
31 33 32 Closer to your position on social issues such as abortion
31 30 32 Cares more about the middle class
31 30 32 Shares your values

Moreover, if just 27% of voters believe Ken Cuccinelli is “too conservative”, we’re doomed. We need a new strategy and we need to get it on television. Is anybody out there?

Do you think Ken Cuccinelli is too liberal, too conservative, or about right
6 Too liberal
27 Too conservative
39 About right
29 Unsure
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