By Sam Foster
An astute, conservative blogger noticed something interesting in Public Policy Polling’s MI Poll on Governor Snyder.
According to the poll, there was a dramatic, earthshaking 10% drop in favorability from the Republican governor in just 4 months. AFL-CIO Blog was quick to trumpet how Americans were falling in love with unions. But, Deb points out something interesting:
The March 22 PPP Poll sample shows a Dem party ID advantage of +13 points. ….
PPP MARCH 22 2011 POLL SAMPLE PARTY ID: D 41 R 28 (D+ 13 )
Compare that to their own their own 2010 likely voter survey:
PPP SEPT 21 2010 LIKELY VOTER POLL R 39 D 36 (R+3)
Now, what Deb points out above is very instructional. First, because tangential developments with Public Policy Polling has tarnished their credibility, but also, there is going to be a polling narrative for 2012 that we simply need to accept and get used to before we poo-poo every poll that we don’t like.
I haven’t verified with this particular PPP poll, however, I suspect the wide swing in Party identification listed above is because pollsters like to switch to likely voter models right before an election, then switch back to registered voter models the rest of the time. Likely voters will skew a bit Republican and registered voters skew dramatically to Democrats, which is why Rassmussen polling just sticks with likely voters.
Still, there are a number of things to consider before taking PPP at their word. After 2010 elections, which PPP did a good job polling, many have noticed a dramatic pull toward narrative building as opposed to informational reporting. Especially their Charlie Sheen/Sarah Palin gimmick (Nate Silver’s words, not mine).
While PPP is associated with Daily Kos, they’re accuracy in 2010 elections won over my doubts. However, in a very new development, they are also teaming up with the SEIU and given their narrative making, I’m not sure PPP should really be getting the unbiased press that they’ve enjoyed over the last few months.
I am not willing to throw out PPP’s polls altogether. More likely than not, I will move them back over to the partisan polling column, as should any other serious pundit. However, other polls have also shown softening on Republicans since prior to the elections. This again might be in part and accounted for by some switching from likely to registered voting methods. Regardless, the odds for 2012 elections are going to be in Democrat’s favor.
We are coming off a major election where Republicans were favored across the board. It simply is not a sustainable election trend. What we are likely to see is a competitive Presidential race, Republican gains in the Senate, but a few Republican losses in congress. Additionally, there will be some souring on some of the newly elected governors.
Just think of it like this:
We have the most Republicans in congress since 1946, it will be very, very hard to move that bar further right. We are occupying more state seats than ever before and again, the bar will be hard to move. According to academic research, incumbent Presidents have a much lower bar to reach on approval in Presidential election years. However, the good news is that Democrats have an ungodly number of Senate seats to defend and they are facing the same scenario that Republicans will face in the house. Odds are, some Senate seats are coming our way.
This is not to say that Republicans couldn’t make gains across the board or Democrats for that matter. I’m merely setting up the playing field and polling is likely to reflect this. Narratives, on the other hand, will bias some sort of Obama Democrat resurgence building in legislatures and house races, when in actuality, trending is naturally favoring Democrats.
You don’t have to like it, but it will greatly aid your sanity if you understand what the political landscape truly looks like.