Nov 02 2010

California Shocker – Were The Polls Wrong?

Published by at 1:05 pm under 2010 Elections,All General Discussions

Forget all those polls you have seen the past two weeks with Jerry Brown and Barbara Boxer winning their contests today. There have been long term concerns with the CA polls, which have assumed a massive Democrat edge in turn out near or above 2008 levels, thus propping up the two Democrat candidates in the final results. This of course has always seemed at odds with the depth of CA congressional districts in trouble and potentially going GOP.

The Field Poll has now cemented that concern by showing a huge GOP turnout edge:

Mark DiCamillo, Field Poll director, said his polling projects turnout of 68 percent for Republicans, 55 percent for Democrats, and 38 percent for independent or minor-party voters.

The bottom line for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown and Republican Meg Whitman is that Democrats’ 13-point lead in voter registration will shrink to a 5 percent advantage in votes cast because of the disparity in turnout, the poll found.

DiCamillo said that the Tea Party movement is expected to bolster Republican turnout this year, with roughly 40 percent of likely California voters indicating at least some identification with the populist protest movement.

The full results are here. This means the GOP-Independent portion of the electorate is going to rival the Democrats at the polls (click to enlarge).

Again we clearly see an intensity gap for the GOP voters, running a good 7% above their registration level. This is not how the CA electorate voted in 2008. The exit polls in 2008 showed the Dems with a 13% lead (42-28), not a 5% one.

As I have done with the early voting data, I can run two scenarios through the turnout model and determine who wins the votes. If we assume both parties hold 95% of their base and the GOP takes independents by 20% (a fairly universal national benchmark this year) then we end up with a near tie as the Dems win by 1.7% (50.8 D – 49.2 R). This defies the poll results we have been seeing in CA, especially in the governor’s race.

If assume the GOP actually will take 15% of the Democrat base along with that 20% lead with the independents, then the GOP wins the vote by a whopping 7.2% (46.4 D – 53.6 R). This second model combines the GOP enthusiasm gap, the independent voter gap, and the yet to be confirmed democrat defection rate. I wager that the actual outcome in CA will be between these two markers, which means the GOP is likely to win both statewide races. As they say, turn out is everything.

8 responses so far

8 Responses to “California Shocker – Were The Polls Wrong?”

  1. WWS says:

    be still, my beating heart! I still can’t really sell myself on the idea, yet – but that’s probably just a way to protect myself from the letdown of buying in and having the sweet candy yanked away again.

    Fortunately, we’ve only got a few hours now til we know for sure. Nothing to do now but yet. (well, unless you haven’t voted yet!)

  2. DJStrata says:

    I think all the polls across the country are going to be wrong. Which is why I think we can take both houses, cause these close or semi-close races will end up with a very different outcome from the polls.

  3. […] I wouldn’t have thought so, but AJ Strata thinks it’s an actual possibility. […]

  4. MarkN says:

    I think the independent turnout will be higher in CA. The DTS’ in my precinct seem to be more energized this year than in 2006. I would say CA turnout is 42-38-20. But the surprise would be 39-36-25. Put that turnout in your model, (plus the R’s will only win 10% of the democrats and the “I” gap will be ONLY 15%) and see the results.

  5. Quite Rightly says:

    That’s a change I’ll pin my hopes on!

    If you’re right, DJ — and I agree that we can take both houses — there’s going to be a lot of partying going on tonight, along with the solidifying of widespread popular resolve to hold a whole lot of newly elected feet to the fire.

  6. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Free To Prosper and Opinionated Catholic, AJ Strata. AJ Strata said: California Shocker – Were The Polls Wrong? – […]

  7. dbostan says:

    I live in CA and voted early.
    The turnout was higher than in the past for a midterm election.
    However, in Silicon Valley, people are still voting demshevik for the most part.
    But in other parts of CA, especially the Central Valley, people are really pissed off at the demsheviks.

  8. The Central Valley and the Inland Empire exurb turn out is where to watch.

    The Field poll says that 62% of CA voters this mid-term will be 50 or older.

    That is prime time Republican voter demographics.