December 01, 2014

Rick Scott campaign: post-election survey shows why exit polls on Cubans, Hispanics were wrong

@MarcACaputo

Though exit polls indicated Gov. Rick Scott lost Hispanics by a 20 percentage-point margin, the Republican’s campaign conducted its own post-election survey that showed he might have almost tied Democrat Charlie Crist with these voters.

Scott’s survey, conducted by OnMessage Inc., shows Scott earned 47 percent of the Hispanic vote compared to Crist’s 49 percent, unlike the exit polls that had the Democrat leading the Republican 58-38 percent. The 2010 exit polls had Scott winning 50 percent of the Hispanic vote to Democrat Alex Sink’s 48 percent.

“While an array of news articles point to a Rick Scott victory ‘despite losing ground with Hispanics,’ that’s simply not true,” wrote OnMessage’s Wes Anderson and Kayla Dunlap in a polling memo.

One potential problem with the surveys from OnMessage and Edison Research (which conducts the exit polls for media groups): Their Hispanic samples were relatively low. OnMessage’s sample was 304 and Edison’s was 367. So the error-margins of the results will vary widely. (UPDATE/aside: A few readers have pointed out it's important to note that some voters in post-election surveys have a tendency to say they backed the winner).

A third survey, conducted on the eve of the election by the premier Hispanic polling firm of Latino Decisions, had 400 Florida respondents and found Crist leading Scott 52-45 percent -- results that fall somewhere in between the OnMessage and Edison surveys.

OnMessage’s polling also took issue with Edison’s results for Cuban-American voters. It’s always a contested topic because Cubans (especially those in Miami-Dade) tend to vote Republican and are the most-reliable of Hispanic voters. Also, because Cuban-Americans are a subset of Hispanic voters, the margin of error in surveying this demographic group is even greater.

OnMessage said Scott won Cubans over Crist 65-30 percent. Edison showed Crist ahead of Scott, 50-46 percent. Unfortunately, Latino Decisions didn’t report Cuban-voter results.

So who’s right? Who knows? When the Florida voter file is finally updated next month, we can examine voting patterns of heavily Cuban-American precincts to get a better idea of how the vote broke.

My guess is OnMessage is more right on Cuban voters. It’s tough to believe that Crist, who made little outreach with Spanish-speaking voters and who called for an end to the Cuban embargo, would have attracted majority support from Cubans. Yes, it’s true that younger Cuban Americans tend to vote more Democrat or independently and aren’t as hardline about Cuba policy, but most election data indicated this was an older electorate.

Scott, meanwhile, had a Cuban-American running mate in Carlos Lopez-Cantera and the support of Miami-Dade’s Cuban-American legislative delegation. Scott got just 39 percent of Miami-Dade’s vote in 2014 and, considering 72 percent of the county’s registered Republicans are Cuban-Americans, it’s reasonable to guess that an outsized portion of the Scott vote was among Cuban Americans.

“When the Hispanic vote is broken down by county of origin, we find that Governor Scott won a sizable majority of Cuban voters as well as more Puerto Rican voters than many expected,” Anderson and Dunlap wrote. “In the end, most Hispanic voters were focused on the economy, and they decided that under Governor Scott’s leadership, the state’s real estate and job markets are headed in the right direction.”

Download Scott poll

November 04, 2014

Poll averages: Race deadlocked, Scott could lead Crist by 0.6% pre-Election Day ballots

@MarcACaputo

Heading into Election Day, Gov. Rick Scott and Charlie Crist are tied at 42 percent each, according to the averages of 20 public polls released in October, when absentee-ballot and then in-person early voting began.*

Technically, Scott has a lead of .07 percentage points (42.03 to Crist's 41.96). That's not really a lead at all. Assuming the undecideds don't vote, Scott gets 45.9 percent to Crist's 45.8. Libertarian Adrian Wyllie could pull 8 percent of the vote, about the same percentage as the undecided, who are an X-factor in all of this.**

Unlike prior poll-unskewing attempts, this exercise uses polls taken as people were casting pre-Election Day ballots, 3.1 million as of this morning. The GOP led Democrats in ballots cast by 98,000, 43-39 percent (3.3 percentage points). But independents account for about 18 percent of those voters, and they're leaning Crist by an average of about 6 percentage points.

Put it all together, and Scott's lead in early votes is 42.6 percent to Crist's 42 percent.

That's a 0.6 percentage-point lead.

That's not much of a lead at all, considering Democrats have a registered voter edge of about 455,000 over Republicans (obviously, not all vote). Scott's lead could be higher or lower because this analysis includes the undecided. Take out the undecided, Scott's lead remains at 0.6 percent.

Still, a lead is a lead.

What does Crist need to do to have a real shot at wining under this scenario? Have Democrats today turnout by 2 percentage points more than Republicans (assuming there's 49 percent turnout). Democrats would need to cast 42 percent of the Election Day ballots, Republicans 40 percent and independents 18 percent. If that happens, Republicans would still wind up casting slightly more overall votes in the election (including early and absentee ballots).

Possible? Yes. 

Probable? Not judging by history. 

Continue reading "Poll averages: Race deadlocked, Scott could lead Crist by 0.6% pre-Election Day ballots" »

Ken Detzner: So far, no hitches at the polls on Election Day

Detzner

Voting is going "very smoothly" this morning, with all polls opening on time in the state's 6,222 precincts, Secretary of State Ken Detzner said at an elections briefing in Tallahassee.

While millions are expected to vote today, the number of early votes cast could be a record, he said. As of last night, 1.7 million Floridians voted by absentee ballot and 1.3 million voted in-person at the polls. By party, 655,020 Democrats and 791,324 Republicans voted by absentee ballot and 555,473 Democrats and 518,476 Republicans voted early in-person at the polls.

"Voters are very pleased to get out early and vote absentee," he said. "I think we might actually see some records in regards to the number of absentee ballots that were mailed and that we're seeing returned.

"By the time the polls close this evening, we should have a sizeable number of votes already counted because of legislative changes made in 2013," Detzner said, referring to fixes restoring more early voting after Florida's flawed 2012 election process.

The U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division is monitoring polling locations in four Florida counties -- Duval, Hillsborough, Lee and Orange -- to ensure federal voting laws are followed. Detzner said these "observers" are present in 17 states, but stressed his confidence that the voting process has improved.

Given a governor's race too tight to predict, the state is ready for a recount, Detzner said. But the contest between Gov. Rick Scott and former Gov. Charlie Cristisn't the only challenge supervisors face this evening.

Several other tight races could require a recount, including the 2nd Congressional District race between Republican Steve Southerland and Democrat Gwen Grahamand the District 26 race where Miami Democrat Joe Garcia is battling Republican challenger Carlos Curbelo.

Continue reading "Ken Detzner: So far, no hitches at the polls on Election Day" »

November 03, 2014

St. Pete Polls: Charlie Crist and Rick Scott tied at 45%

@MarcACaputo

St. Pete Polls, a robo-polling firm from (of all places) St. Petersburg, releases this morning's Goldilocks poll.

GOP-leaning 0ptimus finds the race for governor tied, but leaning 2 points in Gov. Rick Scott's favor.

Quinnipiac University finds the race for governor tied, but leaning 1 point in Democrat Charlie Crist's favor

And St. Pete Polls shows Scott and Crist basically tied at 45 percent. By decimal point, it's Crist 44.9 percent and Scott 44.6 percent. Those toplines are remarkably similar to Public Policy Polling's survey yesterday.

Download St. Pete Poll

 

0ptimus FL poll: Rick Scott 43%, Charlie Crist 41%; Wyllie 10%

@MarcACaputo

Don't like this morning's Quinnipiac University poll showing Democrat Charlie Crist ahead of Gov. Rick Scott by an inside-the-error-margin amount of 1 percentage point?

Then check out 0ptimus, a GOP-leaning firm that released its latest robo-poll survey showing Scott leading Crist by an inside-the-error-margin amount of 2 percentage points.

Takeaway: Both polls show a tie. Other polls show a tie. It's probably a tie and, gulp, this election will be won or lost by turnout on Election Day. Now how cliche is that?

Click our Polls tab for more on, well, polls. And here's 0ptimus' analysis:

Continue reading "0ptimus FL poll: Rick Scott 43%, Charlie Crist 41%; Wyllie 10%" »

Q Poll: Charlie Crist 42%, Rick Scott 41%, Wyllie (7%) draws more from Crist

@MarcACaputo

Yup, it's still tied.

Quinnipiac University this morning released a pre-Election Day poll showing Democrat Charlie Crist nursing a 1 percentage point lead over Gov. Rick Scott -- making the race basically a dead heat. Quinnipiac didn't include its poll demographics in its press release. So all you polling unskewers will have to wait.

Here's the press release:

Continue reading "Q Poll: Charlie Crist 42%, Rick Scott 41%, Wyllie (7%) draws more from Crist" »

Poll-prediction guru Nate Silver gives Charlie Crist a "slight" 60% chance of winning

@MarcACaputo

Missed this a few days ago: Nate Silver, who accurately forecast the 2012 elections (including Florida) is out with a batch of predictions and, despite the tied polling and the GOP's lead in banking pre-Election Day votes in the Sunshine State, his data show the Democrat is more likely to win the governor's race.

From Five Thirty Eight:

Charlie Crist of Florida, the former Republican turned Democrat, is just slightly more likely than not to oust Republican Gov. Rick Scott from office. A slightly safer bet for a Democratic pickup is in Kansas, where Paul Davis has a 81 percent chance of beating Republican incumbent Sam Brownback.

Silver's chart shows Crist's chances of winning at 60 percent. More here

November 02, 2014

PPP: Rick Scott and Charlie Crist tied at 44 percent, medical marijuana dying

@MarcACaputo

It has been said for months that the Florida governor's race will go down to the wire, that no candidate leads outside the margin of error in any reputable poll.

Now comes Public Policy Polling to put an exclamation on that with a poll showing Gov. Rick Scott and Charlie Crist tied at 44 percent each.

"We don't believe in reporting to decimal points but the one time we make an exception is tied final polls- Crist 44.0, Scott 43.8," PPP said on Twitter. "To give you an idea of just how this close this final Florida poll came out- 526 respondents picked Crist, 524 picked Scott."

PPP also finds medical marijuana dying at 53 percent, well below the 60 percent needed to pass a constitutional amendment.

Libertarian Adrian Wyllie "is hurting Crist," PPP reported. "His supporters say they'd pick Crist over Scott 43/18. Take Wyllie out and Crist leads Scott 47/46."

A look at the crosstabs shows that PPP has a similar finding to Quinnipiac University: a big advantage that Crist has among independents, 13 percentage points in this cast. The crosstabs:

     Overall      GOP       DEM         IND
Scott  44% 81% 18% 28%
Crist 44% 12% 76% 41%
Wyllie 6% 4% 3% 13%

As has been stated in the past, PPP is liberal-leaning but has generally produced pretty on-point polls. It is a robo-polling firm, so it primarily surveys people who have landlines and thus it could lean slightly conservative owing to its technological limits (cellphone voters tend to be more liberal, etc.). Also, PPP doesn't call off a voter list; respondents self-identify. So its polls need to be pegged to self-ID polls (such as exit polls). That's a disclaimer for all you unskewers who will say the independents are too high. They're not, judging by past exit polls.

PPP's survey was 39 percent Democcrat, 37 percent GOP and 23 percent independent. If you average the last two exit polls for the last two midterms, it would yield an R-D-I of 38-36-26 percent. Apply that to PPP's crosstabs, and the race would still be well within the margin of error: Scott 45 percent, Crist 43 percent.

For the last post unskewing the polling, click here. For more on polls in this race, click on the Polls tab here. Here's the PPP poll:  Download FLResults 

 

October 31, 2014

1,800-sample poll: Rick Scott 47 percent; Charlie Crist 44 percent. RX pot in trouble

@MarcACaputo

Gov. Rick Scott is leading Democrat Charlie Crist 47-44 percent in a new poll from Democratic leaning SEA Strategic Polling & Design exclusively obtained by The Miami Herald.

Scott’s 3 percentage-point lead is still no statistically significant because it’s within the 1,800-respondent poll’s error margin. The poll has been conducted in three waves, each of which is larger than many standalone polls (background here and here).

Still, the race is likely still a tie, though this poll indicates it's leaning Scott. Quinnipiac University's poll yesterday found it more Crist-leaning.

Meantime, the Florida medical marijuana initiative appears in trouble. Support is at 55 percent, with 39 percent opposed. It takes 60 percent approval to pass a proposed constitutional amendment such as this.

Scott’s job approval is at 52-44 percent. The poll shows that 50 percent have a favorable impression of him compared to 46 percent who have an unfavorable impression. In comparison, Crist’s fav-unfav: 44-53 percent. President Obama’s: 48-51 percent.

The poll of likely Florida voters screened from a voter list has more Republican respondents than Democrats, 43-41 percent. No-party-affiliation and third-party voters are 16 percent of the poll.

The survey’s screen reflects a relatively typical mid-term election in Florida, where Democrats typically stay home in greater numbers than Republicans. So far, in pre-Election Day voting, Republicans have stayed ahead of Democrats in casting ballots, about 135,000 more as of this morning.

Once change in this final pool compared to the prior two waves: Crist’s lead among independents has almost evaporated. It’s now just 1 percentage point (39-38 percent) over Scott.

Crist also faring more poorly among Democrats (82 percent of whom support him) than Scott is among Republicans (87 percent of whom support the Republican). Scott gets 9 percent Democratic support and Crist 8 percent Republican support.

Obviously, this isn’t good news for Democrats who must now content themselves with the hope that 1) they have a big turnout for early voting on the weekend to cut more deeply into the GOP-ballot margin 2) have a bigger Election Day turnout 3) the poll’s screen of likely voters who have voted in two of the three previous major elections hasn’t picked up a significant number of so-called “sporadic voters” who don’t get through tight likely voter screens.

October 30, 2014

Polling shows Fla governor's race could be closer than 2000

@MarcACaputo

Gov. Rick Scott is winning reelection by about 2 percentage points in a major new poll exclusively shared with The Miami Herald.

Democrat Charlie Crist is winning by 3 percentage points in Quinnipiac University’s new poll.

Which survey is right?

Both are.

The results rest within each poll’s margin of error, meaning the race is essentially a tie – regardless of the poll. Every other major survey shows that. And it looks like it will stay a squeaker through Election Day, Nov. 4.

“This race is closer than we thought George Bush vs. Al Gore was before the 2000 elections,” SEA pollster Tom Eldon said, referring to the 537-vote margin that made Bush president after 37 days of disputed results, court challenges and ballot reviews.

So Tuesday is going to be a long night?

“You’re potentially talking about a long month,” Eldon said.

More here