Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Story

A source sent this along to me:

Just wanted to give you an update on what happened with the poll. The Maffei campaign got only the top lines in the middle of the afternoon, and the only information WSYR gave us was that Walsh had a 9 point lead, Walsh at 47, Dan at 38. The crosstabs didn't come through until 4:30, and as soon as they started to dig through them, our pollster realized that the registration sample was completely erroneous. It wasn't just off by a little--it was fatally flawed.

In the 25th district, actual Republican registration is 36.4 percent and Democratic registration is 32.4 percent.

Zogby mistakenly weighted the poll to reflect the 24th district's voter registration, which is 44 percent Republican and 31 percent Democrat.

PLUS, this year, any credible pollster is finding that Democratic identification is running four points higher than Democratic registration.

That means that the poll gave Walsh an ENORMOUS and completely artificial Republican push.

They gave that information to Dan Cummings at WSYR and Fred Pierce at the Post-Standard at about ten minutes to five and explained to them that any candidate who got a poll back with a sample that bad would immediately send it back and have it re-run. They said that at a minimum, they should call Zogby and ask him to explain the weighting. The reporters said they'd look into it. The 5 o'clock news ran the story using the flawed data, but they retracted fully in the 5:30 broadcast, as you may or may not have seen.

John Zogby personally called WSYR to apologize, and to say that in the entire history of his organization, they have never made this kind of mistake before. They acknowledged that the data is so fundamentally flawed that they will have to throw it all out and go back into the field. The 5:30 news explained in great detail the error in the methodology and credited the Maffei campaign for noticing the problem.


At 9:00 PM, Anonymous kml said...

Interesting indeed.

I wonder why that mistake was made. First time ever....how 'bout that. I hope they are just a tad more careful and make every effort to pay attention to what they are doing.

Kudos to Dan's camp for catching the error.


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