PAI Analyzes New WI Gubernatorial Poll
June 23, 2010 Rasmussen Poll
On June 23, 2010, one week following the conclusion of the Democratic state convention, Rasmussen polling released its latest poll on the Wisconsin gubernatorial election. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, the front runner in the Democratic primary, unlike his Republican challengers, did not receive a post-convention bounce. In fact, both Scott Walker and Mark Neumann increased their leads over Mayor Barrett in this month’s poll. Tom Barrett’s campaign anticipated a drastic amplification in its polling numbers following the convention, due to the fact that Barrett lacks a formidable challenger, and statewide Democrats are strongly backing his bid for the state’s highest office.
After vigilantly and scrupulously examining the intricacies of the June 23, 2010, poll, this author contends that the “Doyle factor” is finally in effect. With Jim Doyle’s reign as governor nearing its closing stages, Wisconsinites are becoming more chagrined with his administration and the state Democratic Party. As a result, Tom Barrett has witnessed a decline in his polling numbers in the last two months. Furthermore, Republicans Scott Walker and Mark Neumann both of whom have made job creation, limited government and tax cuts the focal point of the campaign, have seen a exponential increase in their polling numbers since March 2010.
Despite a precipitous downturn in Barrett’s polling numbers, his campaign asserts that there is still hope for victory, as the G.O.P electorate is divided. Rather than spending their copious financial resources in the general election, Mark Neumann and Scott Walker are using this money to viscerally attack one another in what is shaping up to be one of the most highly anticipated and ruthless political primaries in state history. Many of Wisconsin’s leading political analysts and pundits contend that Barrett is in better shape than both Walker and Neumann because he will enter the general election unscathed. No matter who wins, Walker or Neumann, the November 2, 2010, general election will be one for the ages. If this month’s Rasmussen poll is any indication of the outcome of the general election, a Republican will win the general election by a very small margin. This author concludes, after examining this poll as well as the April and May polls, that the Republican candidate will win by a margin of 3-5%, (+/-2% margin of error).
The June 2010 Rasmussen poll, as aforementioned, shows both Mark Neumann and Scott Walker defeating Tom Barret in November’s general election. Walker, the candidate endorsed by the G.O.P at its convention last month, has increased his lead over Tom Barrett by one point, now 49% to 41%. In last month’s poll, as noted, Walker was defeating Barrett 48% to 41%. As the reader can see, Barrett’s percentage of the vote is identical to last month’s total, which indicates that he did not receive a post-convention bounce.
Conversely, Mark Neumann, the “underdog” in the gubernatorial race has seen the most significant increase in his polling numbers in the past several months. In the March 2010 Rasmussen poll, Neumann was defeating Barrett by a meager 2 points; 44% to 42%, with a 4.5% margin of error. Furthermore, in April 2010, Rasmussen and the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute both concluded that Neumann and Barrett were statistically tied in a head-to-head- matchup, 46% to 46%, with a 4.5% margin of error in both polls.
The June 2010 Rasmussen poll shows Mark Neumann leading Tom Barrett by 8 points in the most recent Rasmussen poll, 47% to 39%. This is Neumann’s widest margin of victory thus far. As the reader can see, Walker and Neumann are both defeating Barrett by eight percentage points. Neumann’s increased polling numbers does not bode well for Walker supporters, as it shows that the two of them are essentially tied in a head-to-head matchup in the G.O.P primary. Neumann has slowly, but surely whittled his way back into this race, and appears poised to make the Republican primary much closer than most analysts had predicted. In both races, Walker vs. Barrett, and Neumann vs. Barrett, seven percent of voters are undecided, and three percent support another candidate. The June Rasmussen poll shows that the Republican Primary and the general election will be decided by a very small percentage of the vote.
This poll, much like those conducted on May 27th and April 23rd, has a very small sample size; 500 likely voters. As noted in our analysis of the previous two month’s polls, in order for a poll to be considered accurate it must survey at least 1,500 likely or registered voters. Moreover, polls that survey registered voters are often more accurate than those that rely solely on likely voters. Rasmussen, in each of the polls conducted on the Wisconsin gubernatorial election, since January 2010, has relied extensively on likely, not registered voters.
Another fallacy of all of the Rasmussen polls released thus far is that they do not provide a breakdown of the age group, gender, income status, or party affiliation of those surveyed. Rasmussen’s heavy reliance on landline phone surveys tells us that the vast majority of those who responded were either senior citizen, a demographic that is less likely to own or use cell phones, or females, as polling data shows that they are more likely to answer their home phone and respond to election polls, than their husbands. Had Rasmussen relied on cell phones, not landline phones, the results probably would have been much different. Those who respond to cell phone polls tend to be members of the millennial generation, a more liberal voting bloc, and those who do not own a landline phone, also a demographic that tends to be more liberal than conservative in their voting patterns.
Conversely, senior citizens, who rely more heavily on landline phones, as aforementioned, tend to vote Republican more frequently than millennials or those of a lower socioeconomic status. Lastly, the May 27, 2010 Rasmussen poll, much like the other polls they have released on the Wisconsin gubernatorial race, has a relatively high margin of error; +/-4.5%. In order for a poll to be considered accurate, it should have a margin of error of +/-3-3.5%. With a relatively high margin of error, and a low-sample size there is a very good chance that this poll does not adequately represent the outcome of the election, or the views of the electorate. Had the sample size been larger it is likely that the results would have quite different. The Wisconsin gubernatorial race is far from over. With five months until the general election, anything can happen. PAI will keep you informed as new polls are released.
For more information on the Wisconsin gubernatorial election, visit the Rasmussen website:
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