Sunday, February 7, 2016

The national polls:
First week of February

The Dems: As usual, outlier polls grab headlines, and the Quinnipiac poll from this week showing a two point lead for Clinton got some serious buzz.

This is why I like looking at the average during the primaries and the median during the general.

The sharp peaks and valleys in this poll are almost entirely due to weeks with very few polls to sample. The real story is a steady improvement for Sanders since mid-October and a slight drop in Hillary's numbers over roughly the same time period. The thing that makes me wonder is the steadiness of the None of the Above at about 10%. This can either mean lazy pollsters or possibly some malaise in the Democratic base.

The GOP:  One of the problems with reporting on polling weekly is lagging breaking news events like Rubio's robotic performance in last night's debate. I get my polling data from two sites, the left leaning Pollster run by Huffington Post and the right leaning Real Clear Politics site. It is not their fault that every poll is from before the debate. We will have some idea in the polling from New Hampshire which I will report tomorrow whether Rubio will see a slip or his main attacker Christie will climb.

The story of the polls this week before the Saturday fracas was Trump losing Iowa and Rubio making a strong third place showing. Trump's number took their worst plunge since late November, and the previous drop can be attributed to small sample size. With Trump losing and Ted 'The Snake' Cruz and Rubio gaining, this may become a real three man race. My friend Jodi, who has a stronger constitution than I do, tells me Limbaugh is now attacking Trump. Rush isn't the superstar he once was, but it does say there are chinks in The Donald's armor. It's pretty much a given he will have a strong showing in New Hampshire this Tuesday, so we will see how his numbers change.
 What I said about the None of the Above vote for the Democrats goes double for the Republicans. It's either a sign of dissatisfaction or a sign of lazy polling. Since the Democrats have only two candidates left, dissatisfaction is to be expected. Given how many choice the Republican voters have left, their None of the Above vote hovering at about 10% is a worse sign.

Tomorrow: The last report on the New Hampshire polls.  

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