Thursday, August 16, 2012

Email from Dems on Recent Polls Conspicuously Misleading

I received a bulk email today from State Democratic Party Chair Dan Parker. In it, Parker discussed some recent polling results and interpreted them. The polls was conducted by the Indiana Chamber, and can be found here and here.

Don't get me wrong, I don't expect an email I receive from any political party to be without bias.  The logic in this particular email seemed so flawed, though, that I felt it worth pointing out.

From the email (emphasis mine):

Just like two prior polls, the surveys conducted by the Indiana Chamber and MajorityPAC show Joe Donnelly and Richard Mourdock within the margin of error -- just a couple points apart!
These numbers prove what we've known all along: Hoosiers don't want a Tea Party candidate who hides everything from public records about his failed auto worker lawsuit to the billionaires backing his campaign.

Here's where I get confused.  Parker seems to believe that polling that shows Two of the three candidates within the margin of error indicates that Hoosiers don't want Mourdock in office.  But if you are going to apply that math to Mourdock, doesn't it apply to Donnelly as well? I mean, if such a tight race is an indicator that we don't want one candidate, doesn't it also mean we don't want either?

Parker also fails to mention something else: the poll also asked about Indiana's Gubernatorial race.  In the results from that section of the poll, Republican Mike Pence is absolutely obliterating Democrat John Gregg 50-32%.  I'm curious what that kind of spread means about whether Hoosiers want Gregg of not, based on Parker's logic from above.

As for the poll, I also find the lack of Libertarian questions interesting.  While the polls did choose to include Libertarians Andy Horning and Rupert Boneham in their "if the election were held today" questions, they were left out of all other questions in the poll.  Also, the Libertarian party was left out of the question about party identification.  I guess this partial inclusion is better than the many polls that exclude Libertarian candidates altogether.  I wish, though, that Libertarians would get included in all questions, not just a couple here and there.

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