Thursday, March 31, 2011

Polling the Last Election

Public Policy Polling ususally does a stand-up job at horse race and issue polling, designing good surveys that tend to get within an acceptable error range from actual election results. What they don't do well is pick candidates to poll. PPP released a poll of Florida voters in which they honest-to-god tested Rudy Giuliani as a potential Republican nominee. Not only is Giuliani not running in 2012, he hardly ran in 2008, choosing to skip the four early (i.e. crucial) states of IA, NH, SC, and NV and hoping that he could pull a rabbit from a hat in Florida's primary. Other (actual) candidates Huckabee, Palin, and Gingrich faired worse in hypothetical match-ups against Obama than the former mayor of New York City.

I understand the tendency to fight the last war given the knowledge gained on the battlefield. It's the most up-to-date test of your army's capability. I would however hope that public polling would be a little more forward-looking. After all, there's a wealth of information already out there about actual Republican politicians who are making an actual run. PPP did however discover that all of them are less popular than the man who finished an embarrassing third (with 14%) in the GOP primary in Florida in 2008.

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