January 18, 2006

Chron/Stein/Murray survey, one more time

My two previous analyses of the survey (here and here) were a little rushed, so I wanted to outline more clearly the main problems with the Chron/Stein/Murray poll.

Primary problems with the Chronicle's survey:

1. They identified Steve Stockman as "a former Republican Congressman" in the general election question. This strongly overstates Stockman's general election support in a way that hurts DeLay.

2. Given such a small sample size for the primary, the margin of error for the primary results becomes very large (Benzion reports that Dr. Hill says it would be about 9%).

3. 38% of registered voters of registered voters said they were "certain" or "likely" to vote in the Republican primary. In 2004, only 0.65% of registered voters actually voted in the GOP primary in CD22. What a huge discrepancy between who votes and who was surveyed.
The second and third points combined render the reporting on the survey's primary results meaningless.

It's quite clear that the Chronicle's poll doesn't ask the people who actually vote in Republican primaries in CD22. In fact, by surveying 38% of registered voters, it's quite likely that the Chron/Stein/Murray survey is asking people who may have very different opinions than the people who actually vote in Republican primaries. When you combine that with a high margin of error, the reported primary results have no statistical significance. They're worthless.

Neither Dr. Stein or Dr. Murray has replied to my emails. Nor has the Chronicle attempted to defend its survey. They ought to do so, instead of accepting the survey on blind faith. The Chronicle, as the only major newspaper that serves this district, has a strong responsibility to get things right, especially if they are going to feature this on the Sunday paper.

The Chronicle owes its readers a correction over the primary results from the survey. Those results simply cannot be counted on to be accurate with any degree of confidence.

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