A poll conducted this weekend by GaPundit.com shows that voters approve of Governor Deal’s handling of job growth by a better than 3-1 margin.
Asked “Do you approve or disapprove of the job Governor Nathan Deal is doing in bringing new jobs to Georgia?” 60.1 percent of past Republican Primary voters answered affirmatively, while 18.6 do not approve of Deal’s performance and 21.3 percent are undecided.
InsiderAdvantage/FOX 5 political analyst Matt Towery said the poll results weren’t surprising.
Towery said that the results suggest that Deal would be a strong candidate if he chooses to run for a second term next year.
“At this point I would say that Gov. Deal is about as popular as a governor in this region of the nation can get. We used to require approval of 50 percent to say a governor was in good shape for reelection, but that bar moved several years ago to around 45 percent, so Gov. Deal is sitting pretty as of now,” Towery said.
With support from 24 percent of past Republican Primary voters, former two-term Governor Sonny Perdue leads among the serious potential candidates who have not foreclosed the possibility of running for the Republican nomination for United State Senate in 2014 following the announcement by Senator Saxby Chambliss that he will not seek reelection.
Former Fulton County Commission Chair and Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel comes in second with 15 percent, reflecting a strong 2012 Gubernatorial campaign in which she came in first in the Republican Primary before losing the runoff to then-Congressman Nathan Deal.
Four Republican Congressmen, Paul Broun, Tom Graves, Tom Price, and Lynn Westmoreland hover in the range from six to ten percent; I’d guess any other incumbent GOP Congressman would score similarly.
The Gender Factor
The following table shows that sixty percent of Handel’s support comes from women, significantly higher than any other potential candidate, and nearly 64% of undecided respondents are women, showing some upside for Handel in a demographic that has been a weakness for the GOP lately. With an identical number of male respondents choosing Handel and Congressman Tom Price, whose geographic bases overlap, Handel’s lead over Price comes entirely from additional female votes.
At the same time, Governor Perdue’s strong lead overall means that he still attracts more votes from women overall.
His passion for animals and his willingness to serve the community has led to the formation of two new endeavors meant to keep dogs and cats from being put to sleep and providing affordable veterinarian services for those who can’t afford it.
The American Veterinary Animal Welfare Foundation was launched last year as a way to rescue animals in local shelters that would otherwise be euthanized, and to help offset some of the free veterinary care he and his staff often provide.
“We are rescuing dogs off death row at the shelters,” said Deborah York, president of the Animal Welfare Foundation. “We’re bringing them in, vetting them and finding them homes.”
The non-profit foundation relies entirely on donations. Since receiving its rescue license in May, nearly 100 pets have been rescued by the foundation. Though the foundation rescues animals it is not a drop-off location for people who simply don’t want their animals.
Once a month, the foundation has a booth at PetSmart in Douglasville where it offers animals for adoption, and all the animals are on display at Petfinder.com. The cost of adoption is $150 for males and $200 for females, which covers an animal being fully vetted, microchipped and spayed/neutered.
Besides donated funds, the foundation has set up a thrift store at its previous clinic building across from its current location on Thomas Dorsey Drive — once a month items are sold and the money goes to pet rescue. Items to be sold can be donated by contacting Atlanta West Veterinary Hospital.
Burnett and his staff provide about 15 to 20 hours a week of what they refer to as “community service,” which is veterinary care for those who can’t afford to pay. Donations to the foundation also will go toward helping fund some of these pro bono services.
“We’re trying to serve the community and make a living too,” Burnett said.
Burnett and fellow veterinarian Steve Hathcock will launch the Bay Springs Clinic on Nov. 13, which will provide affordable spay/neuter procedures and other smaller veterinary services. The clinic will be located behind Vaughn Tile on Highway 61 North.
Over the weekend, Early and Advance voting surpassed the one million mark, with 99,979 votes being cast according to the latest absentee voter file from the Secretary of State’s office. Of the early/advance voters on Saturday for whom the SOS reported a “Last Party Primary,” 54% had last voted in a Republican Primary and 46% in a Democratic Primary.
Atlanta-based political consultant and pollster Todd Rehm of Sand Mountain Communications, LLC released the first poll of the Presidential Election conducted after the Presidential debate, which most observers said was won by Governor Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee.
The first post-Presidential debate survey of Georgia voters, conducted on October 4th, 2012, shows that Romney remains the front-runner in Georgia, opening his lead over President Obama by between 5.8 and 7.6 percentage points.
Analysis of the results where we weighted the Age and Gender of voters to reflect an electorate like 2008 showed Romney leading with 56.0% to President Obama with 37.8%. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson takes 3.3% in this scenario.
If the electorate more closely resembles that of 2010, Romney leads with 57.8% to President Obama with 36.4% and Governor Gary Johnson with 2.9%.
“Mitt Romney has been the front-runner among Georgia voters for months, but his lead has opened substantially in the last month, and after the first Presidential debate,” said Todd Rehm.
“With all the interest in weighting polls among online pundits, I thought I’d save them the trouble of ‘unskewing’ the poll by presenting the information both ways. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter whether Mitt Romney is leading by 56 percent to 37.8 percent as the 2008-based numbers suggest or by a wider margin of 57.8 to 36.4 if the voter base looks more like 2010,” said Rehm.
“More important than the numbers on their own is the trajectory, which shows Mitt Romney well over 50% and climbing, while President Obama slips. This will affect not just the Presidential election, but the fortunes of Republican and Democratic candidates across Georgia,” said Rehm.
On September 4, 2012, Sand Mountain Communications polled Georgia voters and found that Romney led President Obama by a margin of 50.7% for Romney to 42.4% for President Obama.
The sample size for this survey was 1323 respondents and the margin of error is +/- 2.8 percentage points at the 95% confidence interval. The script and methodology are reported below in the linked .pdf file.
Data and Methodology for Poll conducted October 4, 2012
Voters in the excluded states will still be interviewed as part of a national exit poll, but state-level estimates of the partisan, age or racial makeups of electorates won’t be available as they have been since 1992. The lack of data may hamper election night analyses in some states, and it will almost certainly limit post-election research for years to come.
A growing number of voters casting early ballots has added to the complexity of carrying out surveys in 50 states, the District of Columbia and nationally. In more and more states it has become crucial to supplement in-person precinct polling with relatively costly telephone interviews in order to achieve representative samples.
This year, exit pollsters are set to carry out phone polls in 15 states, about half of all states covered, and increase the sample sizes of those polls by 32 percent, according to Merkle. Moreover, the continued rise in the number of voters using cellphones also bumps up the price of phone surveys, another challenge motivating the changes for 2012.
Here is a list of the states that will be excluded from coverage: Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.
Comparing this list with the election map, reveals how carefully the exit poll planners allocated resources. All 19 of the states with no exit polls are classified as either “solid Obama” or “solid Romney,” and there is only one “toss-up” gubernatorial or U.S. Senate race not on the list: the competitive North Dakota match-up of Heidi Heitkamp and Rick Berg.
A little less than ten years ago, the firm I worked for was commissioned to poll the Georgia general election. We included a ballot question for the Governor’s race, which I often like to include because it gives us a benchmark by which to compare our surveys against other publicly-released surveys. At the time every single poll that was published had Barnes winning:
In the final poll taken before the 2002 Georgia gubernatorial election, incumbent Roy Barnes held an eleven point lead over his Republican challenger, Sonny Perdue (Salzer 2002a). This was hardly surprising. Barnes, a first- term Democrat, had led in every public poll taken since the campaign began (Dart 2002), and Perdue never edged closer than seven percentage points until election day (Beiler 2003).
When our sample came back showing Perdue with a narrow victory, I simply didn’t believe it. I was scared to give the client a survey analysis that included something that was so clearly wrong because it would lead the client to doubt everything else in the poll. I actually asked management to authorize a re-sample, and when it came back still showing a Perdue victory, I sheepishly gave the results to our clients.
Once Georgians had their say on November 5, however, Barnes’ defeat was more than stunning—it was historic. Not only had Perdue overcome what seemed to be insurmountable polling and fundraising disadvantages, his election broke a Democratic stranglehold on the Georgia governorship that had kept the GOP out since Reconstruction. For a Republican running for governor in Georgia, Perdue won an unprecedented share of the vote among rural whites, an indication of a continuing realignment in favor of the GOP (Wyman 2002, 3). In winning 51 percent of the vote, Perdue had broad support, carrying 118 of the state’s 159 counties.
There are also going to be some outliers — sometimes because of unavoidable statistical variance, sometimes because the polling company has a partisan bias, sometimes because it just doesn’t know what it’s doing. (And sometimes: because of all of the above.)
At this time of year, the difference between poll results can be explained by everything from who is being surveyed (are they “likely” voters or just “registered”) to how many cell phone users (who are generally younger and from more diverse backgrounds) are contacted to how the questions are worded.
And while top pollsters try to adhere to common standards and best practices, there is a lot of room for interpretation in the way each constructs their universe of respondents.
“It’s a mixture of magic and science and research – and there’s more magic now because we have less science to guide our decisions,” said Oakland pollster Amy Simon, who is a leading expert in public opinion on same-sex marriage.
They also have suggestions for how to interpret polls, given the variance that is out there.
Consider the respondents: “Likely voters” are more credible, as they’re, well, more likely to vote. “At this point, don’t look at anything from registered voters,” said Oakland pollster Amy Simon. See if the poll includes cell phone users, who tend to be from more diverse backgrounds, younger and more likely to live in urban areas.
Examine the wording of questions: UC Berkeley Professor Gabe Lenz often teaches his students about a poll from the 1970s where 44 percent of Americans said they would not allow a Communist to give a speech, but only 22 percent would “forbid” it. The difference: Many people are often reluctant to sound harsh to a live interviewer, which “forbid” implies.
Treat a pollster like a movie critic: “Pick a poll and follow it,” said Michael Dimock of the Pew Research Center. “You can follow its nuances and learn its tendencies.” Others, like Lenz, said peace of mind can be found with those who aggregate the major polls and incorporate them into a trend, like Nate Silver of the FiveThirtyEight blog and RealClearPolitics.com
At the end of the day, here’s my recommendation for public consumers of polling data. Take the Olympic scoring approach, where you toss out the highest and lowest numbers, and average the rest based on the sample size. In statistical terms, you’re removing the outliers, and broadening the sample size. That’s not precisely correct, but it’s a pretty good back-of-the-envelope method that might help you make some sense out of competing polls.
Check back later today for more on this issue, and our recent survey on the Presidential race in Georgia.
First publicly released poll on Charter School Amendment shows broad support, with nearly 50% of voters in favor
Todd Rehm, an Atlanta-based pollster and political consultant released the first public voter survey on the Charter School Amendment that will appear on the General Election ballot on November 6th, 2012.
The question, which uses the same language that will appear on the ballot, shows that 48.3% of likely General Election voters, defined as those who voted in the 2008 or 2010 General Elections, currently favor the measure.
“It’s too early to say that the Charter School Amendment is likely to pass, but it does appear to have a head-start,” said Rehm. “With eight weeks before the General Election, I’d rather be in the place of Charter School proponents than that of the opposition. For opponents of the Charter School Amendment to win, they have to either convince every undecided voters or win a substantial majority of those voters and convert some current supporters.”
While nearly a majority favor the measure, those who did not indicate they would vote for it are evenly split, with 26.2% saying they will vote against it, and 25.5% undecided.
“When you drill down into the results, two things become apparent,” said Rehm. “First is that the measure enjoys widespread support among most of the demographic categories we looked at. Second is that the only group among whom the measure doesn’t receive more support than opposition is voters who don’t identify with a political party, who are primarily undecided on the Charter School Amendment. But with Georgia’s electorate being highly partisan, there aren’t enough of these voters to make the difference on their own.”
Rehm noted that the ballot question is very generic and doesn’t give voters much to go on.
“If you don’t know about the Charter School Amendment before you look at the question, it’s hard to know what it’s intended to do or what effect it will have. That may make that the preamble to the question very important for the ultimate results.”
The survey was conducted on September 4, 2012 and includes 1331 respondents who answered all the questions. Respondents were drawn from people who voted in either the 2008 or 2010 General Election, with commercially-available phone matches appended. The margin of error is +/- 2.68 points at the 95% confidence level. The technology used was Interactive Voice Response, (IVR) which is commonly referred to as a “robopoll”.