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NY-01: New SUSA Poll Shows a Dogfight, But Almost No Young Voters in Sample

by: James L.

Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 4:09 PM EST


SurveyUSA for Firedoglake (1/16-18, likely voters):

Tim Bishop (D-inc): 47
Randy Altschuler (R): 45
Undecided: 8
(MoE: ±4.1%)

First of all, there is a pretty glaring peculiarity from this poll: it contains almost no young voters in its sample. Voters between the ages of 18-34 make up exactly 1% of its sample. Look: I wouldn't be surprised if the youth vote is severely depressed in November, but that seems a little extreme. (Similarly, SUSA's AR-02 poll had a 5% sample of young voters, and 3% in OH-01.)

I have no interest in discussing the healthcare portions of this poll (and neither should you), but the top lines are still worth having a look at. Critics of a poll like this might point to an Altschuler internal poll from mid-November that had Bishop ahead by 46-26. However, I think you can defensibly argue that the environment has gotten weaker for Democrats in the interim. Remember, this is not a deep blue district -- Obama only won Bishop's CD by 52-48. Moreover, this is one of the few races that have actually been engaged: Altschuler went on the air in late December with blistering ads hitting Bishop on his TARP votes. Still, the lack of young voters here seems like a pretty glaring weakness of SUSA's likely voter screen. I would suspect that a more realistic model would give a few extra points to Bishop, but that still wouldn't be enough to say that he's out of the woods.

UPDATE: Nate Silver has noticed the demographic quirk, too, and is currently "doing some digging" on the poll.

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James L. :: NY-01: New SUSA Poll Shows a Dogfight, But Almost No Young Voters in Sample
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Wow that young voters number IS ridiculous
although given that PPP's Mass poll showed 18-29 voters as 8% of the electorate I still don't expect it to be very good. sigh. as a 19 year old I really really really cannot stand the turnout issues with this demographic.

21, dude, RI-01 (registered) IL-01 (college)
please help Japan. click "donate funds" in upper right and then "Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami." http://www.redcross.org/


It doesn't change that much
if we assumed that 18-34 made up 15% and gave Bishop a 20% edge, then Bishop's lead goes to 5% (say 48-43).  Still a huge warning sign.

[ Parent ]
although
the tilting of the electorate might be making the 35+ demo more Republican than it is.

Here's an interesting experiment that might be hard to pull off. Falsifying data from a popular source on public opinion, and seeing if people change their opinion on that topic to fit with the side being inflated. That's the fun part of this potential fraud. Inflating numbers to start, and then watching it happen due to band-wagoners and momentum.

good thing that pollsters are honorable nobles who'd never do that.


[ Parent ]
Let's take the gloves off
I would like to see someone on the left do a Assmussen, that is put out fake polls that show the Dems/liberals in a much better position than they are, and then do real polling in the last two weeks to preserve the record of the polling firm.

[ Parent ]
Weird
how the FDL polls seem to have common characteristics, like pumping up Republicans against House members who voted for health care reform, and finding a way to have nobody under 35 voting in the election.

So
the "nobody under 35" thing would get some attention if someone (Nate Silver) covered that. What the hell kind of questions did FDL tell SUSA to ask to narrow their screen? asking them if they have voted in every general election in the last 20 years?

[ Parent ]
FDL wants democrats to lose
No matter what the alternative is. What other reason could they have for polling NY-1? Bishop is without a doubt going to vote for the most progressive of plans, but he is not in a leadership position of any kind.

[ Parent ]
The public explanation
involves trying to gage something with health care, but only doing it to the people on our side. As to where they're finding the money to do these polls. That's an unknown.

Soon enough, one of the major credible firms is going to get disgraced by their dealings with a blog or news source. Someone is going to just cross the line towards fraud and take people down.


[ Parent ]
Living in NY-1...
While there's a general dissatisfaction with Congress, there's never been that much outrage about Bishop, whether from local press or the bigger NY press. He's brings home pork and votes with the majority, and has pretty much zero profile.

As far as ads, i havent seen a single altshuler ad, but was push polled a few months ago by his camp.

Then again, these dogshit polls by FDL don't mean anything anyway. 3 straight polls with no voters under 35. I cant prove it scientifically, but most of the young people in suffolk county are pretty liberal, especially on social issues. It's doubtful that a dopey guy like Altschuler would appeal, especially since no one knows about him.

And of course they didnt post anything about favorable or unfavorables because that would prove the stupidity of this poll. I would be utterly shocked if more than 20% of the district knew who Altshuler was


The only hope that the Dems have
right now is to engage hard on the financial regulation fight.  It is the one issue that we can put the GOP on the defensive and hook them with Wall Street folks that are currently joined to the hip with incumbent Democrats.

That might be playing with fire
Not that's a bad idea in itself.  I just rather run on some solid, progressive legislation and let the electorate decide.

Our biggest hope is to increase the enthusiasm within our base.  We need the liberals, progressives, centrists, blue dogs, whatever category you want to add to have something they can take back to their constituents and say "look at what I did for you!"  Right now I think the Democrats are too divided in both the house and the senate, which will hurt us in 2010.  I think we will still have control over the house, and almost definitely over the senate, but we need to curb the losses and control the damage.

Maybe we can talk Ensign, Sanford, Palin, etc. into some ethical lapses?  Now that could really help us in November!

40, male, Democrat, NC-04


[ Parent ]
It won't matter
Our biggest hope is to increase the enthusiasm within our base.  We need the liberals, progressives, centrists, blue dogs, whatever category you want to add to have something they can take back to their constituents and say "look at what I did for you!"  Right now I think the Democrats are too divided in both the house and the senate, which will hurt us in 2010.  I think we will still have control over the house, and almost definitely over the senate, but we need to curb the losses and control the damage.

if independents are voting against us 2-1 like they did in Virginia, New jersey and Mass.  The biggest problem IMO is the economy, and the image is that the establishment Dems are in bed with the same corrupt people who got us into this mess.  People I talk with are divided whether Obama himself is in bed with these financial interests, but it is pretty widespread that Congress is basically in bed with these guys.  And after the bailouts we did nothing to dispel people of that notion.


[ Parent ]
It doesn't matter
because the second we even try to take on Wall Street, the media is going to drown our defenses out and cry SOCIALISM! Remember Rick Santelli? Jim Cramer? Watch the cable news any given day.

There's really no way to fight back because the only thing you can do is go Alan Grayson and end up being treated (and this looked at) as a crazy leftist.


[ Parent ]
Let them
I think we have a much better chance with this kind of argument than we do with stuff like health care.  People hate Wall Street.  They hate the financial companies.  Even the rural conservatives in the South.  

And I think Alan Grayson is in much better shape than many other Democrats.  I could very easily see a scenario that we lose the House with seats to spare and Alan Grayson is back in 2011.  


[ Parent ]
They also hate the government


[ Parent ]
Those who hate gov't
that much aren't voting with us anyway.  By taking on the financial companies, we will get some votes.  By doing nothing, we won't.

[ Parent ]
FWIW...
look how many potential Republican challengers have backed out of a race against Grayson.  Maybe they're seeing something we're not.

[ Parent ]
Who cares what the media thinks
This isnt about the media, to me its about putting the GOP where their mouth is.  If they want to decry us as being for Wall Street and blame us for TARP and such, then lets see them vote to regulate them like they should be.

That's how we can start screwing over the GOP.  They are being blessed with the notion that they are for the people and are populists.  They talk a good game, but we all know when it comes time to actually voting like a populist, they will vote to protect Wall Street because they decry government intervention.

We did everything completely out of order and not once have we passed legislation that gives the electorate confidence in us.  All they've seen is a stimulus package that hasnt truly lowered the employment rate, and a HCR bill that the GOP has scared them into thinking is going to ruin their lives.


[ Parent ]
It is crazy
If TARP hadn't passed and then the stimulus the economic situation would now be on a par with the Great Depression. Unfortunately that isn't a great selling point.

[ Parent ]
Personally
I would have let the banks fail.  It would have obliterated the GOP and allowed us to make the radical changes that the country desperately needs.  

If I was Nancy Pelosi in October 2008, I would have let the bailout fail and blamed it on the GOP.


[ Parent ]
"If I was Nancy Pelosi in October 2008, I would have let the bailout fail and blamed it on the GOP."
And have us all suffer in the process. Thanks, but no thanks Smith.

[ Parent ]
Ditto
To have let the financial institutions fail would have been a disaster for all Americans.  It wouldn't have been worth it just to say "I told you so" to the Republicans.

40, male, Democrat, NC-04

[ Parent ]
when the media
is convincing a gullible public that the GOP is doing the RIGHT THING taking the side of Wall St and obstructing everything, then it is definitely about the media.


[ Parent ]
Wrong
The public is under the impression that the Dems are protecting Wall Street and that the GOP is trying against Wall Street by being against Democratic policies.  I hear this sentiment over and over again.

Maybe in New York people think the supporting Wall Street is the right thing, but it certainly ain't the case here in North Carolina.


[ Parent ]
How is the GOP running against Wall Street?
Brown won despite OPPOSING the bank taxes. Coakley even made an issue of it.  

[ Parent ]
They aren't
but the perception is that they are against Wall Street because they opposed the bailouts, and because they oppose Democratic policies, which are perceived to be pro-Wall Street right now.  It was the opposite in 2008, when the GOP was perceived to be pro-Wall Street, and the Dems anti-Wall Street.

Obama and the Dems have 9 months to change this perception or 2010 will be a bloodbath.  Either that or have the economy create lots of jobs, fat chance.


[ Parent ]
Yeah and if we didn't have the bailout
This country coud be in another great depression. Right now i'm focused on getting HCR passed and if we don't then we be ina world of hurt. They been working on this for half a year and the people expect something to pass and if it dosen't then the bloodbath will occur. As for Wall Street it's happening. Obama is talking up the bank tax and the jobs bill and that's a good thing and the economy is starting to improve a bit which is a plus and like you said he got nine months, plenty of time.


[ Parent ]
Personally
I would have let the banks fail.  It would have obliterated the GOP and allowed us to make the radical changes that the country desperately needed.  

If I was Nancy Pelosi in October 2008, I would have let the bailout fail and blamed it on the GOP.


[ Parent ]
"If I was Nancy Pelosi in October 2008, I would have let the bailout fail and blamed it on the GOP."
And have us all suffer in the process. Thanks, but no thanks.

[ Parent ]
And the only way to change this perception
is to bait the GOP into defending Wall Street and the big banks.

[ Parent ]
And by the way
Not that's a bad idea in itself.  I just rather run on some solid, progressive legislation and let the electorate decide.

I don't trust "letting the electorate decide", they have proven themselves to be saps and fools for GOP propaganda and bullshit in the past.  We need to manipulate them as well.


[ Parent ]
I'll take my chances
and keep my integrity!

40, male, Democrat, NC-04

[ Parent ]
Then I hope you enjoy a long-term GOP rule
You can keep your principles, and enjoy a real right-wing swing in this country.

[ Parent ]
whatever
I'll abide by the rules of SSP and keep it real.  

40, male, Democrat, NC-04

[ Parent ]
Unrelated note
I remember the good ol days when I was frontpaging and got an e-mail from SurveyUSA telling me to not call them SUSA. Way back in the magic days of 2006. It was amusing, looking back on it. Watch out for the SurveyUSA ninjas, James. They might be unhappy that you've unintentionally diminished their brand name. Ha.

Well, I've been referring to them as SUSA on the front page
for almost four years now! I think they're over it.

[ Parent ]
they're biding their time
Or they did a survey of 500 adults on what to do and "nothing" won out

[ Parent ]
Yeah, those numbers don't make sense.
Special elections are a funny thing, but the FDL/SUSA polls are for regular midterm elections.  I don't have the data on hand, but I'm pretty sure that if you look at the youth turnout going back to the 1970s for midterm elections, it was never as low as 5%.

The OH-01 poll really made no sense, as there are several major universities in OH-01 (Cincinnati, Miami of Ohio, Xavier, etc.).  Yes, some students still register using their home address, but many also do switch to their school address, and there's a fair share whose home address is still in that district.

Though I have no idea what major schools are in NY-01, if any.


Stony Brook University
n/t

21, dude, RI-01 (registered) IL-01 (college)
please help Japan. click "donate funds" in upper right and then "Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami." http://www.redcross.org/


[ Parent ]
Stony Brook
Southampton College, where Bishop was Provost or President I believe. Dowling College is there too I think.

He has the Hamptons.


[ Parent ]
NY-01
I also live in NY-01 and outside of the now defunct Suffolk Life, Bishop has gotten mostly very good press during his tenure.

I also did not see any Altschuler ads.

29/D/Male/NY-01


This makes me relieved
Given the source obviously he is safe.

[ Parent ]
Nah..ah...what did we learn yesterday?
Don't take anything for granted!! Bishop should (and I hope he is)barnstorming his district with ads and constituent visits and making sure he gets good local press. I have family in his district and I can assure you they forget he is their congressman (even though they were gungho voting for Obama and voted straight D down ballot). He is such an un-assuming fellow, folks could forget about him and just vote generic R.  

Indepedent/Lean D. Dude.
All 5s (now TX-5; frmly VA-5 and CA-5)  


[ Parent ]
But did we learn anything about snark?
Obviously not.

[ Parent ]
Bishop
Maybe I just pay attention more than they do, but Bishop does have a presence.  I've gotten 2-3 mailers from him in the past few months, so I think he realizes he might be in for a tough run.  He's one of those unheralded Democrats who votes with us 99% of the time even while in a 50/50 district.  We have to make sure we protect Democrats like him.

29/D/Male/NY-01

[ Parent ]
Unless you assume that SUSA is making the numbers up
at the behest of FDL (and I absolutely do not), there is every reason to take this seriously.  

I think Bishop is in for a serious scare
But I'm not the only one who thinks this poll is weird -- numbers guru Nate Silver also finds the sample "strange".

[ Parent ]
My take
Given that SUSA only poll landlines and young folk disproportionately rely on cell phones it is obvious as to why they are under sampled.

2010 Race Tracker Wiki

[ Parent ]
I frankly don't think much of Nate Silver
And if he's just now noticing that SUSA has funky numbers for the young. . .where was he in 2008?

[ Parent ]
That's not a defense.
I realize that you are one of those "take the top lines for what they tell you" kind of guys (and that's fine), but if you're trying to say that SUSA has always had a problem with its younger demographic, I don't see how that makes it okay! Particularly when it virtually erases them from the sample here.

[ Parent ]
Actually, that's not my position
I am quite willing to look beyond the toplines to see if the internals make sense, but I think it's hard to discount SUSA's track record even with funky age internals. They have had some crappy results in the past (and more in the recent past than in, say, 2006), but I think it's a little silly to suddenly question one of their polls for a reason that was just as valid 16 months ago.  

[ Parent ]
The criticism is not "sudden"
As you imply, it's an old criticism! And it's a criticism that that we have not hesitated to make in the past.

But moreover, I would love for you to find another SUSA poll which pegs voters between the ages of 18 and 34 years at 1% of its total sample.


[ Parent ]
I do remember that you guys were talking about it,
particularly with reference to Minnesota. I have no such recollection about Silver.

As to 1% of the sample, no, I don't think I've seen that before. I don't think Jay Leve's boilerplate response that they just report what they find would be sufficient to explain that problem. Anyway, he already says that phone polling is "doomed." But the question is whether his form of polling is more doomed than anyone else's.

He might have a decent response if you asked.  


[ Parent ]
I believe the earlier discussions
Were always about who they were voting for rather than the total number. These are just odd. But the toplines are definitely believable. Though I notice the polls aren't listed on the SurveyUSA site for some reason.

[ Parent ]
Does
Firedoglake want the GOP to win the house? Maybe there's a wave brewing here, but every poll they've release showed Dem congressman getting pasted.  

19, Male, Independent, CA-12

Should they only release polls
that contain good news for Dems? Whom would that serve?

[ Parent ]
Maybe they should stop doing polls
it's clearly not working to their advantage.  

[ Parent ]
Bishop
I think the last guy who ran against Bishop got 40% in 2008. republicans held this seat last in 2003. I have seen Altschuler ads. President Obama won NY by 33% but this district by 4%.

The Hamptons are in this district but Dowling College isn't. I think Altschuler maybe a tough fight for Bishop. Princeton and Harvard grad and a Fulbright scholar. But who knows in this climate.

67sunbeam
Lake Grove, NY  


Actually Obama won NY by 27-ish
and this district by...3, I think. so a slightly smaller gap. With an even PVI no one is denying that this seat is a toughie, but at least Bishop won't have Coakley Syndrome.

21, dude, RI-01 (registered) IL-01 (college)
please help Japan. click "donate funds" in upper right and then "Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami." http://www.redcross.org/


[ Parent ]
Bishop
Your right Bishop isn't an idiot like Coakley and has been a good Congressman.  

[ Parent ]
There are some clips of him
Being, perhaps, a little too much on the defensive at a Town Hall debate (or two). Maybe that could be used in ads as a way of showing 'Bishop is too much of a partisan'. But maybe the voters wont care. and i dont remember the ads all that well...for all i know he could have been justified and the voters may agree.

[ Parent ]
Err
I dont remember the clips all that well.

[ Parent ]

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