Apparently some Democrats are unhappy with the district polling we’re putting out the past few months, and according to NC SPIN’s newsletter are questioning the results by saying we are “undersampling minority and young voters.”
Well, this is just sour grapes on their part as they search for any explanation for their poor standing in the polls.
If you look back at previous elections, in only one election out of the past 20 years (and maybe more) have African-Americans not underperformed as a share of turnout… and that was 2008. So not in 1990 or 1996 when Harvey Gantt was challenging the evil, racist Jesse Helms himself, or for Bill Clinton did African-Americans turnout and equal their proportional share of the vote.
And there is no reason to think they will this year. In 2006, African-Americans underperformed by about 2-3 percent. In 2004, as a group, they underperformed by about 1.5%. So any poll that has African-Americans equaling their registration percentage is operating on a 2008 turnout model. But anyone in the political world will tell you, that just isn’t happening in 2010 due to a number of reasons: 1) Obama isn’t on the ballot 2) Obama had dozens of field offices and hundreds of paid staff all engage in voter turnout that isn’t present this year. 3) Just about every poll taken this year has shown a sizable “intensity gap” for 2008 first time voters versus consistent voters.
So, to criticize our polling for “undersampling” African-Americans is living and operating in a political dreamworld that just doesn’t exist this year.
But back to our polling…
In the 17 district polls we’ve put out so far this year, we’ve never been off by more than a couple of percentage points in the composition of African-Americans in our polls versus their actual registration percentages. In fact, in 4 of the 17 we’ve oversampled African-Americans as a demographic. Nonetheless, slightly undersampling African-Americans by a couple of percentage points is completely consistent with building an accurate turnout model for the 2010 elections. Those who are complaining are just looking for something to snipe at because they can’t stomach the results.