"No experiment can be more interesting than that we are now trying, and which we trust will end in establishing the fact, that man may be governed by reason and truth. Our first object should therefore be, to leave open to him all the avenues to truth. The most effectual hitherto found, is the freedom of the press. It is, therefore, the first shut up by those who fear the investigation of their actions." --Thomas Jefferson to John Tyler, 1804.

Different process, different results

We may have, in another couple of days, a better idea of what to make of the mass of polls regionally and nationally this year. (Our skepticism about many of them, which has been growing some years, is so far unabated.)

Meantime, check out this from Survey USA, on their latest poll on the Oregon governor’s race:

In an election for Oregon governor today, 10/29/10, 4 days until votes are counted, former Democratic Governor John Kitzhaber edges Republican Chris Dudley, according to SurveyUSA polling for KATU-TV in Portland.

Among the subset of voters interviewed on their home telephones, Kitzhaber is nominally ahead, by 4 points. Among voters who do not have a home phone, interviewed on their cellphones, Kitzhaber leads by 15 points. When the groups are proportionally blended, it’s Kitzhaber 48%, Dudley 41%. Kitzhaber, who served as Governor from 1995 to 2003, has gained ground among men, where in 3 SurveyUSA polls since mid-September, Dudley had led by 19, by 11, and now by 3 points. Oregon conducts elections entirely by mail. Dudley, a former Portland Trailblazer, leads 5:3 among those voters who rarely vote in midterm elections but who tell SurveyUSA they are uniquely motivated to vote this year. In some states in 2010, those uniquely motivated voters are enough to elect the Republican. But not here: Kitzhaber leads 5:4 among those who vote more frequently. Those more enthusiastic about voting this year than in prior years vote 5:3 Republican. Those enthusiastic this year vote 2:1 Democrat. Among the 60% of voters who tell SurveyUSA they have already filled out their ballot, Kitzhaber leads by 11 points. Among those who say they are certain to return a ballot, the race is effectively even. Dudley would need to outperform Kitzhaber substantially on the not-yet returned ballots to overtake.

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