Bizarre Crosstabs Undermine Latest SurveyUSA Poll

Reading tea leaves.

Reading tea leaves.

The Denver Post released new SurveyUSA polling on the Colorado gubernatorial and Senate races yesterday that are raising eyebrows–not so much for the bottom line results, which show both races very close, but the numbers under the proverbial hood. As the Post's John Frank reports on the Senate results:

Gardner and Udall remain in a tight race, 45 percent to 43 percent, according to a SurveyUSA poll of likely voters released Monday.

Gardner's lead is within the margin of error, making the race a statistical tie, but it represents a reversal from a month ago when Udall held a 4-point edge.

The Post poll — conducted Thursday through Sunday — had a margin-of-error of plus-or-minus 4.1 percentage points.

"There has been movement to Gardner that is unmistakable and what had been nominal advantage for Udall has been erased," said Jay Leve at SurveyUSA.

Gardner's momentum is evident in the underlying numbers…

But when local polling expert Kevin Ingham of Strategies 360 started looking at those underlying numbers, he found some things that honestly don't make sense:

We make no claims to be polling experts, but the idea that Cory Gardner is leading with Hispanic voters and Mark Udall is ahead with white voters most certainly defies conventional wisdom–and quite honestly makes us wonder if those numbers got flipped somewhere. Obviously, that would have big implications for this poll result if such an error got factored into the overall results.

Ordinarily we try not to get overly picky about methodology with polling, and to rely more on multiple poll averages than the results of any one poll. But in this case, there's pretty obviously some things messed up–either in the sample or the computation of the demographic results.

So…maybe take this poll with an extra grain of salt.

16 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Moderatus says:

    The polls are wrong! Victory is certain! Believe, liberals!

    AC, this is exactly what you mean isn't it?

      • DawnPatrol says:

        I've begun to suspect that the two troll dickheads are actually one dickhead posting with two accounts. Dickhead Jr.'s post above fuels that suspicion further.

        • Davie says:

          Either that, or they need to get a room.  They're starting to scare the horses…

        • Progressicat says:

          I don't think so.  One is clearly stupider than the other.

          • DawnPatrol says:

            Could be part of the act. Wouldn't want them to appear too similar.

            Make one the foolish, inarticulate, unquestioning little dumbbell who laps up every bit of Teabbagger swill and regurgitates it unquestioningly like a hapless parrot, while the other. in truth nothing but an equally dim, shallow and unthinking parrot itself, presents the arrogant, chickenhawk, slightly more clever and devious hard-ass persona.

            It would be simple to do — a good thing, considering the tiny intellect of its potential perpetrator.

    • denverco says:

      Believe what you want. I enjoyed watching rove melt down on fox and the look on 47% mitt's face was priceless. Remember right wingers were told he was ahead in the polls. In 2010 polls had ken buck ahead by 3 on election day – how is Senator buck these days? We were also told by the polls that romney would win in Colorado – Where is President romney?

    • Andrew Carnegie says:


      First off, are the polls internals curious, sure.  It is not the first poll we have seen in this race that the numbers make no sense.

      What is humorous is that now it it the polls fault.

      The movement in the last couple days is indicative of a late breaking wave.  A couple months ago I have Republicans picking up 7 seats.  Under that scenario they would lose North Carolina and one of Colorado or Iowa.  Today they are ahead in Colorado and Iowa and pulling even in North Carolina after having moved a ton of money there to offset what has been a significant Dem spending advantage.

      Looks like a pick of 9 right now, and things could change, but so far the change has been moving things towards the Republicans.

  2. denverco says:

    With so many polls not being independent any more, it was only a matter of time before they started being used to influence an election. Could be that is why so many are so wrong on their predictions; romney in a landslide, cantor up by 30 points, the state of Virginia last year, predicting the gop take over of the Senate 2010,2012 and 2014. At least most pollsters this year are saying that the gop is favored to take over the Senate but they also say it is too close to call this time.

    • MichaelBowman says:

      I was on a national call this morning that discussed this phenomenon.  You're spot-on, denverco, these polling companies (and to a largest extent the newspapers) are becoming wholly-owned subsidiaries.  On the call they did a great job of deconstructing what has happened vis-a-vis the WashPo predictions.  It's no surprise, for instance, that the new ownership of WP is having a significant impact on its operations and new political bent.  Once you filter out all of the RF noise and harmonize the statistical differences, most of these Senate races remain genuine toss-ups.  What is going to make the difference is GOTV – and in that category the Dems have a significant advantage.  I'm not taking anything for granted – but this ground game is impressive.

      • DawnPatrol says:

        The Dem ground game is indeed impressive. And I guarantee everyone that our Herpes-like trolls and their filthy benefactors are very nervous about it — their baseless bluster and cheap braggadocio notwithstanding….

        Speaking of which, I must get back to work now…

  3. Davie says:

    Even if the poll is inaccurate, I guess the Post still got their money's worth as long as the bottom line had the numbers they were asking for…

  4. Craig says:

    So much for the reality based community.  All of this sounds very familiar to the Republicans 2 years ago who were so sure RMoney would be elected.  Look at the poll aggregators.  All of them have Udall losing and all have him sliding into oblivion. You guys need to get back to reality.  Udall, a 60% chance of winning.? Maybe you meant to say losing.  What's the old saying about wisher and horses?  No matter how much you want to wish, it is just a pipe dream and based upon nothing but speculation and wild hopes.

  5. Andrew Carnegie says:

    Good point.

    Polling in favor of Dems, brilliant.

    Polling in favor of Republicans, inaccurate.

    Da Nile is not just a river in Egypt.


  6. PeoplePower says:

    Here's a thought about the hard-to-believe numbers in the Denver Post poll…. what if people lied about their ethnicity?  I myself have had some fun messing with the automated polls.  Some days I'm a female, some days a male.  I've been in every age range and affiliated with every possible political party.  The only poll that has any credibility is the one where votes are counted on election day.

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