Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


Less than 1% of Voting Eligible Population Polled in Battleground States This Cycle

Bookmark and Share

After more than 640 polls, 531,000 individuals have been surveyed this cycle about the Romney-Obama horserace across the 57.3 million voting eligible population of the 10 main battleground states; residents in Florida and Ohio have been surveyed the most

floridaseal10.jpgWith high-profile criticisms of public opinion polls being fired off by partisans and candidates seemingly every day, a steady stream of multiple national and statewide surveys nonetheless continues to be released in the closing days of the 2012 campaign.

The go-to criticism of pollsters this cycle has been with regard to the percentages of Democrats and Republicans represented in the samples of likely voters - and how those percentages are going to match up with who turns out on Election Day.

Of course, partisanship can be somewhat fluid within the electorate, and thus it is sometimes difficult to assess whether a polling organization's party ID sample is suspiciously high or low at a moment in time.

Skeptics of polls can also occasionally be heard objecting, "Well, they never interviewed me!" as a reason why survey results should be viewed as illegitimate.

The whole purpose of conducting public opinion surveys is to contact a small slice of the population that, if a survey organization's methods are strong, garners them a representative sample in that slice.

In 2012, hundreds of polls have been conducted to date on the presidential race in the key battleground states across the country.

Which states have been polled most frequently - and how many people have actually been surveyed?

A Smart Politics review of Romney vs. Obama horserace public opinion data this cycle finds that less than 1 percent of the voting eligible population of the top battleground states have been surveyed, with Floridians being the most frequently contacted followed by individuals in Ohio, Virginia, and Pennsylvania.

(Note: this study tracks the largest possible percentage of the population that has been surveyed and assumes, for the sake of argument, that no respondent was interviewed more than once this cycle).

Smart Politics tabulated the number of polls in the Top 10 battleground states conducted by media outlets, robo-pollsters, as well as left- and right-leaning survey organizations whose results were made publicly available during the 2012 cycle through Sunday, October 28th. (Candidate-sponsored polls were not included).

The battleground states under analysis were Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Florida has been the most frequently surveyed battleground state with 102 polls conducted this cycle on the Romney vs. Obama matchup. A total of 89,599 Floridians have been surveyed to date.

Ohio was next at 93 surveys and 87,097 polling respondents followed by Virginia (81; 70,845), Pennsylvania (67; 53,359), North Carolina (67; 48,038), Wisconsin (62; 50,938), Colorado (49; 37,962), New Hampshire (47; 35,054), Nevada (38; 26,379), and Iowa (35; 31,821).

However, with electoral votes ranging from a low of four (New Hampshire) to a high of 29 (Florida) the pool of potential voters varies significantly among these top swing states.

As a result, the percentage of potential voters reached by these surveys varies substantially as well.

New Hampshire residents have been polled at the highest rate, with 3.46 percent of the voting eligible population (VEP) surveyed on the Romney-Obama horserace.

Next is Nevada at 1.48 percent of the VEP, followed by Iowa (1.41 percent), Virginia (1.22 percent), Wisconsin (1.20 percent), Colorado (1.04 percent), Ohio (1.01 percent), North Carolina (0.69 percent), Florida (0.67 percent), and Pennsylvania (0.55 percent).

Overall, that means less than 1 percent of the voting eligible population has been surveyed about the Romney-Obama horserace in these 10 prominent swing states with approximately one week left until Election Day (again, assuming no respondent was interviewed more than once).

Through Sunday, 531,092 residents have been surveyed across 641 polls from a voting eligible population pool of 57,389,331 residents across these 10 battleground states, or 0.93 percent.

All this is not to suggest that the overall low percentage of individuals polled over the course of an election cycle makes public opinion polls inaccurate or not useful per se.

The accuracy and expected value of a poll is dependent on a number of factors such as the methodology of the polling organization and the point in time in which the poll is released.

However, it is possible that public skepticism as to the veracity and value of polling - in an increasingly polarized partisan environment - may be heightened due to the fact that very few individuals are ever exposed to the polling process in a given election cycle.

Number of Individuals Polled in Presidential Horserace Surveys in Battleground States

State
VEP
# Surveys
% Surveyed
# Surveyed
Florida
13,348,802
102
0.67
89,599
Ohio
8,644,958
93
1.01
87,097
Virginia
5,808,768
81
1.22
70,845
Pennsylvania
9,674,379
67
0.55
53,359
Wisconsin
4,233,992
62
1.20
50,938
North Carolina
6,970,868
67
0.69
48,038
Colorado
3,654,045
49
1.04
37,962
New Hampshire
1,013,741
47
3.46
35,054
Iowa
2,263,375
35
1.41
31,821
Nevada
1,776,403
38
1.48
26,379
Total
57,389,331
641
0.93
531,092
Table includes polls released through October 28, 2012. VEP (voting eligible population) data source: United States Elections Project. Right hand column represents the largest possible percentage - assuming no respondent was interviewed more than once. Table compiled by Smart Politics.

Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.

Previous post: Minnesota Eyes Most Competitive US House Races Since 1994
Next post: Which State Will Host the Most Closely Decided Presidential Race in 2012?

Leave a comment


Remains of the Data

Which States Have the Longest and Shortest Election Day Voting Hours?

Residents in some North Dakota towns have less than half as many hours to cast their ballots as those in New York State.

Political Crumbs

Mary Burke: English First?

While multiculturalism and bilingualism are increasingly en vogue in some quarters as the world seemingly becomes a smaller place, one very high profile 2014 Democratic candidate does not shy away from the fact that she only speaks one language: English. In an attempt to highlight her private sector credentials working for Trek Bicycle, Wisconsin Democratic gubernatorial nominee Mary Burke boasts on her campaign bio page how she made great strides in international business dealings...while only speaking English: "Despite not speaking a single foreign language, she established sales and distribution operations in seven countries over just three years." Note: According to 2010 Census data, nearly half a million Wisconsinites over five years old speak a language other than English at home, or 8.7 percent, while 4.6 percent of Badger State residents do not speak English at all.


Does My Key Still Work?

Much has been made about Charlie Crist's political transformation from Republican to independent to Democrat en route to winning the Florida GOP and Democratic gubernatorial nominations over a span of eight years. Party-switching aside, Crist is also vying to become just the second Florida governor to serve two interrupted terms. Democrat William Bloxham was the first - serving four year terms from 1881 to 1885 and then 1897 to 1901. Florida did not permit governors serving consecutive terms for most of its 123 years prior to changes made in its 1968 constitution. Since then four have done so: Democrats Reubin Askew, Bob Graham, and Lawton Chiles and Republican Jeb Bush.


more POLITICAL CRUMBS

Humphrey School Sites
CSPG
Humphrey New Media Hub

Issues />

<div id=
Abortion
Afghanistan
Budget and taxes
Campaign finances
Crime and punishment
Economy and jobs
Education
Energy
Environment
Foreign affairs
Gender
Health
Housing
Ideology
Immigration
Iraq
Media
Military
Partisanship
Race and ethnicity
Reapportionment
Redistricting
Religion
Sexuality
Sports
Terrorism
Third parties
Transportation
Voting