Tuesday, August 19, 2008

More on Sonia's Poll

Mike put on his citizen journalist's hat and did the research on the poll showing that Sonia Chang-Diaz has a 17% lead on incumbent Sen. Dianne Wilkerson. Everyone who has any doubts about the poll's veracity ought to go read it.
The Chang-Díaz folk claim a combined lead on voters who lean/are probable/definitely voters for the candidates. Those are Chang-Diaz 47.2%, Wilkerson 29.7% and undecided 23%.That combines the undecided with a margin of error of 4.8%. Cohen is quick to say he wants Chang-Diaz to win but knows that four weeks before a party primary is a long time in politics. Many things could happen. "I can't say Sonia's definitely going to win, but I like the results," he adds.
So, as always, a poll is a snapshot in time, but this particular picture is not only very positive, but four weeks from when the people will mark down their choices at the booth. This is like taking a picture of a bride and groom before they say I do. They're going to say I do, it's only a formality.

Other things we learn from Mike's post:
  • Even in traditional Wilkerson strongholds, Sonia's holding her own. Barring anything unforeseen happening, she won't lose big anywhere.
  • The incumbent protection racket - I mean party organizations willing to ignore their constituency - don't represent the will of the people. In fact, they ignore the will of the people and their constituent base at their own peril, as well as at the cost of their integrity.
  • This poll builds off previous polls. Last election, when Sonia came in a surprisingly close second, results only showed she could make it a race - never that she'd actually win. She ended up running out of time last election, but she's used the last two years well. It stands to reason that this newest poll is an extension of the last. Now that Sonia's built up her name and credibility within the district, the edge and biggest advantage that Wilkerson once had is gone.
Update: MaPoliticker has much more, including this:

In an interview with PolitickerMA.com Tuesday, Chang-Diaz's pollster, Dan Cohen at Connection Strategies, said that not only was the firm careful about who it interviewed for the survey, but it used a turnout model that would, in theory, favor Wilkerson (D-Boston).

"We used a turnout model where we expect the largest percentage of turnout coming from those neighborhoods were Wilkerson did best," Cohen said.

And more:

David Paleologos, a pollster at Suffolk University, didn't question the poll's results. Paleologos said the most important factor in these polls is determining the likelihood that the respondents are going to vote.

"You need to establish voter intensity," he said. "And you can define likely voters in two ways."

First, Paleologos said, the pollster can look at the voter history and determine if the voter cast a ballot in recent similar elections. And second, the pollster can ask the respondent the likelihood that he or she will vote.

Cohen said he used both standards. His company called voters that had voted in the last recent low turnout Democratic primaries. Then the questioner asked the respondent at the beginning of the interview how likely they were to vote in September.

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