Can the Polls Be Wrong?

Can the polls be wrong? Consider this.

On October 5, 2002, the Atlanta Journal and WSB-TV conducted a poll showing Roy Barnes at 49% and Sonny Perdue at 42%. In mid-October of 2002, Mason-Dixon showed Roy Barnes at 48% and Sonny Perdue at 39%. On November 4, 2002, one day before the election, the Atlanta Journal/WSB-TV poll showed Roy Barnes at 51% and Sonny Perdue at 40%. The internal polling of the Barnes campaign showed similar results. So did the internals of the Perdue campaign, except the Perdue campaign was no longer looking at its internal polling. Instead, the campaign was looking at its GOTV ground game data and knew Perdue would win.

On November 5, 2002, Sonny Perdue beat Roy Barnes 51.4% to 46.3% with the Libertarian taking 2.3% of the vote.

The polls were wrong. Well, the polls, per say, were not wrong. They measured the temperature in the state at the time they were taken. But one day before the election a credible poll showed the Democrat winning and the actual results were a mirror image, with the Republican winning. Why?

Because the polls cannot measure the intensity of the GOP’s ground game and that ground game is that good. It was put in place in 2000. It was refined in places like Georgia in 2002 and in Ohio in 2004. And now the GOP is set to unleash it again.

So keep this in mind — the polls may be an accurate indicator of public sentiment, but the only result that counts occurs on November 7th inside polling booths. And that is to the GOP’s advantage.

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Erick Erickson

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7 Comments

  • There three important variables missing thouhg in this year’s election: honesty; morals; and riding on the coat tails of a popular president.

    The strategy for those fed up is to vote for Hayes and force a runoff, and then go back vote for Taylor and throw up. No kidding, that is what someone in Houston County shared with me. Not too good considering that is where Perdue hails from, and this was a fiscal conservative person. Perdue will probably win, but his political aspirations for becoming a president are off the table for sure if that was his hope.

  • I have always been reluctant to trust polls released in the mainstream media. Their obvious bias throws a huge shadow over the legitimacy of their statistical methods.

    I have no doubt that we are experiencing a concerted effort to suppress conservative votes. The media knows that bombarding the largely ignorant general public (who don’t bother to check the statistical details) with poll results showing Dems ahead will discourage most people to stay at home. Turnout is crucial to this election, and they know it.

    The bottom line is that polls have been wrong before, and will be again. The only thing that matters is what happens on Nov. 7, and I’m optimistic that the GOP’s efforts to get out the vote will come through in the end.

    The fact that the Democratic Party has to rely on poor voter turnout (and a temptation among conservatives to “punish” the GOP leadership) to win is simply proof that they are out of step with most Americans.

  • http://www.amconmag.com/2006/2006_08_28/article18.html

    L. Rockwell, Jr.
    This is another good article out of the same publication about left vs right. See if any of you see yourself in the mirror for what we become when we are party hard liners. I have awakened from my stupor, and I hope that more of you do. The Republican Party has moved into a scarry totalitarian philosophy, and yes it scares me to see our once fearless United States to be trampled upon by fear mongering. I read somewhere that our chances of being attacked by a terrorist as individuals is equivalent to being struck by a meteorite.

  • Linda – don’t fool yourself or others; that’s NOT the prevailing attitude in Houston County. Every place has its naysayers, but Sonny will win, and BIG, here in Houston.

  • Well, Jim I attended the Nascar race in Atlanta yesterday. Everyone got an applaud on the stage, and then when Bill Elliott received an award for being Georgia’s race drive, there was a huge applause. Then when the announcer told the crowd that Governor Sonny Perdue was presenting the award, not a clap was heard in the stands. It was unbelievable. We shall see on November 7th how the election goes for as Bill Shipp of the Macon Telegraph says “the land baron.” I am disappointed in the leadership from the top down in our state and I understand why large corporatons are moving out of
    Georgia.