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  • Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal

    Wednesday, September 22, 2004

    Ohio Poll gives Ohioblog a bad name 

    If this continues, Ohioblog is going to have to change its subtitle to: Swing state? What swing state?

    After a series of Ohio polls, including one from Knight Ridder-MSNBC, revealing that President Bush has seized a substantial lead over challenger John Kerry in the state comes further confirmation from the Ohio Poll.

    As Ohio Poll will tell you, it has something of an official status since the University of Cincinnati's Institute of Policy Research has registered the name with the Ohio Secretary of State.

    In a random sample of 456 likely voters taken from Sept. 12 through Sept. 18, President Bush received 54 percent of the support and Sen. Kerry 43 percent. Independent Ralph Nader got one percent (so why bother fighting over whether he is
    on the ballot?). This compares with Kerry leading by two percentage points following the Democratic National Convention.

    Kerry's campaign staff don't believe the numbers.

    ``We think the race is closer than that,'' spokeswoman Jennifer Palimieri told the Cincinnati Enquirer's Carl Weiser.

    ``I just don't trust the polling this year,'' Bill Burga, head of the Ohio AFL-CIO, also told the Enquirer.

    Burga isn't referring to the Ohio Poll's plus or minus 4.6 percent margin of error. People naturally question how these admitted snapshots in time can reflect an entire state's population from such a small sample. Frank Newport, president of the Gallup Organization, addressed the issue with Steve Inskeep, a host of Morning Edition on National Public Radio.

    Polling, Newport said, works on the same principle that a doctor applies when blood is drawn to test for cholesterol: A small sample provides the large picture.

    There are a couple of interesting arguments in The Hill, one from Mark Mellman and the other from Dr. David Hill. Among the issues is whether the ``likely voter'' model preferred by Gallup is better
    than the surveys of ``all registered voters'' done by others.

    This much is certain: On Nov. 2 the two models will become one.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 10:39 AM

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