Having cooked lunch, read the NYT and been to a movie (“Little Miss Sunshine,” see it), I see Arkansas News is now updated for Sunday, where Brummett offers a few kind words for pollsters Ernie and Zoe Oakleaf and where a news article explores the vagaries of polling.
There’s news in the news article: 1) John Zogby says he has Beebe up by 8 points in his latest. 2) The widely criticized demographic sample, heavily weighted to older voters, seems to reflect the demographic found among actual voters in the last election in exit polling by Republicans. We’d note, too, that the overbalance of self-identified Democrats was not far beyond what the University of Arkansas Poll found in its last sampling of the populace. Far more consider themselves Democrats than Republicans. That fact, you might observe, is reflected in the percentage of officeholders.
Real numbers will be available soon enough. But 52 percent for Beebe (which the Oakleaf poll found) still does not sound far-fetched to me.
David Sanders contributed some words on the subject, too. He said the 40-20 split of Democrats and Republicans in the poll must be wrong because Republicans get 30 to 40 percent of the vote. But these are two different propositions. One is political self-identification (where other studies in Arkansas show a similar gap); the other is voting, in which people who consider themselves independent make a partisan choice. A$a indeed got 31 percent of the “votes” in this particular poll. And he might well carry a disproportionate amount of the 10 percent or so undecided. The Oakleaf poll doesn’t suggest he won’t get the Republican base vote of 40 percent. But its findings on A$a’s negatives suggest he faces an uphill climb — at least in a sounding before his and related attack advertising began against Beebe — in moving beyond that base.