Facts on polling | Arkansas Blog

Facts on polling


When every single poll -- without exception -- shows your candidates being beaten, you have to come up with something. So Republicans have decided all of the polls are flawed. The favorite excuse is that all the polls don't give enough weight to Fortress Northwest Arkansas, yellow-dog Republican land. Never mind, for a minute, that all of the Third doesn't fit that description. Never mind that even Republicans might not like some of the Republican candidates. Instead, just consider some facts presented by Talk Business' Roby Brock, whose own polling has been among those questioned. His piece is on the jump. Our Constituent Dynamics poll and others have been criticized by some for supposedly undersampling the 3rd Congressional district. The words “flawed” and “bogus” are usually associated with the myriad of polls, including ours, I presume because the outcomes are not agreeable to the critics.

I’ve read comments from would-be political experts that claim the 3rd district should account for 32-33% of the vote count, while the 1st and 4th districts should each be reduced to close to 20% of voter turnout.

We’ve allowed a 24% weight in the 1st district, 26% in the 2nd district, with the 3rd and 4th districts accounting for 25% apiece. Why?

Because it’s scientifically sound.

To set the record straight and to negate the arguments from some who say that the Republican-heavy 3rd Congressional district should be given more persuasion, I present to you the historical numbers of voter turnout from every county of every Congressional district in Arkansas during the last three general election cycles.


I used the 2004 U.S. Senate race, the 2002 Governor’s race, and the 2000 Presidential election because these races had the highest voter turnouts in Arkansas in those election years.

In 2000, the four Congressional districts represented the following vote totals:
1st – 220,189 (24%)
2nd –235,612 (26%)
3rd –233,413 (25%)
4th – 232,573 (25%)

In 2002, the vote totals and percentages by Congressional district were as follows:
1st – 195,742 (24%)
2nd – 208,883 (26%)
3rd – 199,155 (25%)
4th – 201,906 (25%)

And in 2004, these were the cumulative vote returns by Congressional district:
1st – 245,900 (24%)
2nd – 277,278 (26%)
3rd – 271,459 (26%)
4th – 244,630 (24%)

Any pollster who uses anything but historical turnout numbers is conducting a “flawed” or “bogus” poll.


Let’s put this myth to bed right now: the 3rd Congressional district is not going to account for 32% percent of the vote or a third of the statewide vote or even 28% of the vote. It will be doing well to pull 26% of the statewide vote.


When the statistics start backing up some of the wild claims about the influence of the 3rd district, I’ll suggest a less “flawed” polling methodology to our pollster. In the meantime, I’ll trust our numbers until voters prove us wrong.

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