Thursday, October 27, 2005


Murky RON poll results, strengths on Issue 4 not being disclosed

As a followup to our previous post that raised a reader's questions about the Bliss Institute/Univ. of Akron poll on Issues 1-5, we want to provide an illustration of just how cloudy and contradictory the real results might be.

Nearly all of newspaper accounts we've seen have said that Issue 4 is losing among "Likely Voters" 43.5% to 56.5%. Leaving aside the question about what happened to "undecideds," the full report by the pollsters mentions something that all of the media stories have seemed to have missed: A separate category of poll respondents - "Aware Citizens" - support Issue 4 by a wide margin, 56.1% to 43.9%.

As a matter of fact, the pollsters admit:
These data suggest that the proponents have persuaded citizens who are aware of the measure and that the measure could succeed if this pattern were extended more broadly.
This is quite a conflicted outcome, and far different than what's being reported. However, we're unclear about how much good news this actually is.

Pollsters apparently first asked respondents if they were aware of a measure. If they said they were, they were then put into this "Aware Citizen" category and then they were asked if they favored or opposed it. That's the number, at least for Issue 4 that turned out to be 56.1%-43.9% in favor.

Then respondents were read to statements about each issue, on in favor of the issue and one opposed, and then they were asked to choose the statement that best reflected their own views. In regard to Issue 4, that was 43.5% to 56.5%.

There is a lot of polling methodology and dynamics potentially in play here. For example, did the pollsters alternate between the favor/opposed statements as to which one was read first? Were the two statements really representative of the choices that voters will perceive?

Until we understand much, much more about this poll we have to believe that neither side has gained the upper hand with Issue 4 and that the effort to convince Undecideds and the GOTV effort will determine who wins on Nov. 8.


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