Thursday, September 16, 2010

What happened?

The New York Republican primary certainly got some attention nationally this week, as Carl Paladino's remarks during the campaign were rehashed. But something got overlooked.

Where the heck did the result come from?

Granted, state primaries aren't exactly surveyed to death. There are only a few polls done statewide in such circumstances.

What's more, primaries are strange animals. Not that many people bother to cast ballots in such elections. That's only in part because they didn't want to spend the new voting machines used in New York State this year. (And what exactly was wrong with the old ones, anyway?)

But this result was clearly out of the blue.

There was one recent survey done on the race between Paladino and Rick Lazio near the actual day of the election. It had the two men in a dead heat. Then on election day, Paladino came out a winner, 62 to 38.

If my math is any good, that's a 24-percent difference. That's a long way from a dead heat. Did that many voters change their mind in the span of a couple of days? I think not.

Something obviously went very wrong with the polling process. OK, I know Lazio's campaign was about as thrilling as the Bills' offense against Miami on Sunday. (Note to non-football fans: They were awful.) My guess is that the polling company did a bad job of figuring out which voters were likely to cast ballots, perhaps because of old lists.

It sure sounds like the so-called Tea Partiers were under the radar in New York, and misrepresented by the poll. Does that mean they haven't voted before, and that we're getting a new generation of voters here?

It would be nice to get some information on this. Otherwise, I'll see further polls results about New York with some degree of skepticism.

1 comment:

Becky said...

When you have Democrats trying to vote for him in the primary I'd say there were a lot of newbies...the thought that they might make a habit of it must scare the top political honchos.