Dan Judy, April 6

Dan Judy’s comments to Bloomberg Government regarding telephone surveys during the coronavirus pandemic:

“We are seeing response rates higher than we’ve seen in many years,’’ said Dan Judy, who polls for Republican candidates at North Star Opinion Research in Alexandria, Va. 

The response rate for polls has been in decline for years, as many people have discontinued their land lines to use only mobile phones, which are harder to reach. 

To maximize results, pollsters have developed procedures, such as not calling on Friday nights, when people are usually out at restaurants or social engagements, or avoiding calling people on their mobile phones during the day when they’re at work and distracted.

Now, many of those protocols are unnecessary, Judy said.

“Day-dialing cellphones is potentially something we could do,” he said.

To read the full article, please click here.

Jon McHenry, April 12

Jon McHenry’s comments to The Hill on polling during the coronavirus pandemic:

The coronavirus has led to a drawdown in political spending across the board, leading to a slowdown in everything from polls to media ad buys.

Fundraisers are having a tough time raising cash from once-reliable donors. Campaigns aren’t running political ads and they’re less likely to commission a poll, with the general election still six months out and the economy in turmoil.

“It’s a great time to get people on the phone — maybe the best response rates in a dozen years — but it’s not necessarily the most likely time for clients to want to be in the field,” said Jon McHenry, the pollster for North Star Opinion Research.

“There’s no telling how the virus plays out for people’s health and for the economy a month from now, much less in September and later. There are clients who stand to benefit from a benchmark survey now, figuring out effective criticisms and which policies are supported, but the horserace is dicier,” he added.

And the transition from crowded calling centers to having people work from home has been a challenge, as it has been for many industries.

McHenry said the shift to a remote workplace might hasten the move to more online polling and research.

“We’re still using the same vendors. For a lot of phone centers, that means people working on a … system from home,” said McHenry. “The technology allows that in a way you probably couldn’t have done 10 years ago and for sure couldn’t have done 20 years ago. And for national research, much of that is online anyway. This may be the final push for the few holdouts to accept online research as the primary methodology on national work.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, November 10

Whit Ayres’ comments to WBUR’s Here and Now show on the incumbency effect as it relates to 2016 polling:

“There’s a well-established principle in polling, with incumbents running for re-election, that what you see is what you get. In other words, if you’re at 48 as an incumbent, and your opponent is 45, we will frequently tell our incumbent candidates that they’re in trouble… The reason is that frequently incumbents get the number at the polls that they have on the final survey.

Their opponents are generally not saddled with the image of incumbency, so frequently, undecided voters go disproportionately to the challenger. And the issue here is whether or not Hillary Clinton was, if not technically an incumbent, effectively an incumbent running for the third term of Barrack Obama… It seems like more than a coincidence that the number she had in the average of polls at the end of the race is remarkably similar to where she ended up on the final ballot. But Trump made substantial gains, as frequently challengers do.”

To read the full excerpt, please click here.

Dan Judy, November 9

Dan Judy appeared on WBUR’s show On Point to talk about polling and the 2016 presidential election.

http://www.wbur.org/onpoint/2016/11/09/election-2016-the-results

Dan’s comments start at the 28 minute mark.

Dan Judy, October 25

Dan Judy’s comments to CNN on oversampling and claims that polling is deliberately overstating the standing of Hillary Clinton:

“Pollsters just saw this and rolled our eyes,” said Dan Judy, a Republican pollster for North Star Opinion Research.

“This is the classic case of people using an intentional or unintentional misunderstanding of polling to pretend results they don’t like are invalid,” Judy said. “Most voters aren’t that sophisticated when it comes to ins and outs of sampling and statistics and polling. But there are a lot of people spreading this around who know better — or should know better.”

Here’s the reality about “oversampling.” Pollsters often dive deeper into certain subgroups (such as Latinos or African-Americans) to reduce their margins of error for those groups. Then they weight those groups to their actual proportion of the population.
Judy laid out an example.

If he were polling 600 likely voters in a state with a 13% Hispanic population, that would mean 78 of the voters surveyed were Hispanic. “The margin of error of that is extremely high — it’s over 10 points — and you can’t at all break that down. You can’t say, ‘What do Hispanic men or Hispanic women think?’ You couldn’t do that with any degree of mathematical certainty,” he said.

So, instead, Judy said he’d call 300 Hispanic voters — enough to look at “men and women, Republicans and Dems, age breakdowns, regional breakdowns, and in a state like Florida some ethnic breakdowns — Cubans, Puerto Ricans, South and Central Americans. And when you run your survey numbers, you weight that 300 back down to 78.”

To read the full article, please click here.