Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Grimes pollster, using his own model of the likely electorate, says she leads by 1 percentage point

By Al Cross
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

Faced with a string of public polls that showed her losing ground to Sen. Mitch McConnell, Alison Lundergan Grimes had her pollster announce an internal survey Thursday that showed her ahead by one percentage point, 43 to 42, with 15 percent undecided.

Libertarian David Patterson was not included in the survey, which pollster Mark Mellman said was conducted Sept, 4-7 among a random sample of 800 drawn from a file of registered voters and then modeled to mimic what Mellman believes will be the likely electorate on Nov. 4.

Pollster Mark Mellman
Public-opinion polls typically use random dialing to a set of known telephone numbers, but Mellman, a leading Democratic pollster, told reporters on a conference call that he no longer uses such sampling. He said the error margin of his poll was plus or minus 3 percentage points

In an email, Mellman said the modeling of his sample was based primarily on voting history, with some based on answers to questioned that measured the likelihood of voting and "a tiny bit" on demographic characteristics that can indicate likewise.

He said in the email that the anticipated turnout, based on the model, is "in line with" the 2010 Senate election, in which turnout was just under 50 percent.

Asked on the conference call how Grimes was doing among women voters, Mellman said he didn't want to discuss specific numbers, "but Alison is doing specifically better among women than among men." That being no surprise, he was asked in an email how she and McConnell stood among women. "we are winning women and he is ahead among men," Mellman replied.

Mellman said that among voters who know both candidates, Grimes leads 50 percent to 41 percent, with 9 percent undecided.

McConnell recently posted big leads in Eastern and Western Kentucky. Asked about regional disparities, Mellman said, "That’s sort of a strategic level of information that I think is not fruitful for us to get into here." Earlier, he said, "We don't give out all our results. We give out our good results."

Shortly after the call, McConnell's campaign issued a press release noting that nine consecutive polls has shown the Senate Republican leader ahead, the most recent one taken during the same Sept. 4-7 period by Magellan Strategies. It showed McConnell leading by 8 points, the same margin he posted in an NBC News poll taken Sept 2-4.

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