Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Zounds! Zogby off again

There's a new Zogby poll that says the governor's race is tied - or, if you listen to the Green campaign, that Mark Green "leads" by one half per cent.

That's some pretty precise polling from a firm that doesn't even do interviews with voters, but uses an automated survey. [Correction: It's an interactive Internet survey. See below. I knew better but was too hurried.]

Before anybody gets too excited, consider this: The same poll has Herb Kohl leading Robert Gerald Lorge by 9%.

Anybody want to put some money down with that point spread?

Zogby had Doyle in a dead heat way back in November 2005 against either Green or Scott Walker(remember him?).

Ask President Kerry about Zogby.

From the Oldies but Goodies Xoff Files:

Tuesday, October 04, 2005
Poll shows tight governor's race --
and John Kerry beating George Bush

I said here recently that my money is on Jim Doyle to win reelection in 2006, but I am not giving any points. I expect it to be a tight race, as his last race and the last two presidential races have been in Wisconsin.

A new Zogby poll bears that out, showing Doyle in a virtual dead heat with either Mark Green or Scott Walker.

Whenever I post poll results that support my position or opinion, my faithful right-wing readers pick it to pieces, nitpicking the methodology and conclusions. One even suggested recently that no sample of less than 1,000 people was meaningful statewide, forcing me to point out that 1,000 -- not 50,000 -- is a typical sample for a national poll. (Statewide are usually 400-600.)

So I won't go into detail about Zogby's methodology, which you can read about here. I will note, however, that Zogby uses a new technique of inter-active online polling and actually does only 20-40 telephone calls in each state. And many who participate in the surveys are "regulars" who do it all the time. All of that's a little troubling, and the jury is still out on its accuracy.

So before the Republicans get too gleeful, they might want to take into account a scene in the new documentary of the 2004 Kerry campaign, "Inside the Bubble." Zogby's Soundbites blog reports:

It features, among other not-ready-for-prime-time moments ... Kerry message guru Robert Shrum confidently declaring a few days before the 2004 election: "Zogby [a prominent pollster] just announced who's gonna win. Us!"

POSTSCRIPT: Forgot to mention the Senate race, which has Herb Kohl one point ahead of Tommy Thompson (a non-candidate, unless he is unhappy with how much ink he's getting lately) and 8 points up on former Rep. Mark Neumann (is he even thinking about running?)


At 3:18 PM, Blogger Dave Diamond said...

You forgot to mention they also have Rae Vogeler at 7%.

Zogby doesn't even do automated polls; if you look at the "Methodology" page, they're Internet polls of people who signed up to do them, with "20 to 50" phone interviews added for balance.

At 5:29 PM, Blogger The Recess Supervisor said...

Yeah, and if you read more, Zogby loves repeat customers. Some random sample - the guy has a core group that answers poll after poll after poll.


At 6:37 PM, Blogger George Roberts said...

Yes, I've been reading mockery across the Internet about Zogby's Internet polling methodology and results. It's such a joke -- and on the Wall Street Journal. Word is the WSJ would have pulled the polling by now but contracted for it, so is stuck.

Among other flaws, not only are the customers repeaters, they are self-selected. Whenever I see that in a polling design, I tend to discount the results a lot right away -- even before seeing what else is so wrong with the methodology of these Zogby polls.

Majority Watch is untested, too, but seems more cautious and stable. And I find the Congressional Quarterly (aka CQ) site to be solid and user friendly.

At 6:39 PM, Blogger George Roberts said...

Sorry, just reread to see that Dave D. noted the self-selection flaw.

And about the small followup group for phone calls, I also wondered whether that might have been during, say, the Packers game.

Who was gonna leave the silver screen to take a call last Sunday? Or, if they did, who was paying attention to anything but the Pack when BACK!

At 8:57 PM, Blogger krshorewood said...

I'm one of them particiapants.

At 7:33 AM, Blogger Whirl-Away said...

So, what if Zogby had you up by 6%, would you slander it then?

Which one are you, Slanderman or Defamation Boy? I think I know :)

At 7:50 AM, Blogger Dave Diamond said...

My guess is he would, whirl, based on his many other posts about the worthlessness of Zogby's polling.

But hey, there's nothing more partisan than attacking a lazy pollster for his shitty methodology! Us lie-berals are such sticklers for statistical validity.


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