August 25, 2016

FiveThirtyEight looks at NM Political Report’s poll

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Thursday, FiveThirtyEight cited the most recent NM Political Report poll as an example of a rare poll being done in a relatively Democratic, or blue, state.

538 logo fivethirtyeightNate Silver, the founder and editor-in-chief of FiveThirtyEight, wrote an analysis about the “blue state polling abyss.” He write polls in traditionally Democratic states, including the poll commissioned by NM Political Report for Public Policy Polling, give valuable data for the presidential election.

Meanwhile, pollsters have been polling some traditionally Republican states, citing South Carolina and Missouri, writing, “Pollsters seem to think it’s more fun to poll” these states than traditional Democratic states. He does note “those states have been tight in recent surveys.”

These states, Silver says, are unlikely to be important in the grand scheme of things this November.

In any election in which she wins South Carolina, for example, Clinton will almost certainly have already won North Carolina and probably also Georgia, meaning that she’ll be on track for 300-plus electoral votes with or without the Palmetto State. South Carolina and Missouri are unlikely to be tipping-point states, in FiveThirtyEight parlance.

New Mexico, meanwhile, “could be tipping-point states if Trump makes a comeback,” Silver writes.

And he wrote the nine percent gap between Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican candidate Donald Trump isn’t very different from the gap in states such as Colorado or Virginia, which were considered swing states earlier this year.

Silver analyzed the New Mexico race and says the FiveThirtyEight model actually thinks Clinton should be further ahead than the gap shown in the Public Policy Polling survey.

In some cases, the polls don’t match the demographics of the states very well either. Our polls-only model “thinks” that Clinton should be ahead in New Mexico by about 14 points, for example, based on the patterns it’s seeing in other states, and not just by 9.

With the lack of polling “data is noisy” in states like New Mexico, Silver writes.

Still, Public Policy Polling receives a B+ in the pollster rankings at FiveThirtyEight.

FiveThirtyEight’s polls-only forecast gives Clinton a 90 percent chance of winning New Mexico’s five electoral votes, Trump an 8.7 percent chance and Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson a 1.3 percent chance.

In its “polls-plus” forecast, Clinton has an 88.5 percent chance to Trump’s 11 percent and Johnson’s 0.5 percent.

So far, NM Political Report polling by Public Policy Polling is the only public polling looking at the presidential race in New Mexico from a New Mexico outlet; SurveyUSA (for KOB-TV) and Research and Polling (for the Albuquerque Journal) have done electoral polling in the past.

Ipsos released results of a poll conducted for Reuters in New Mexico, but the sample size is a miniscule 115 likely voters (that poll shows Clinton leading Trump 44 percent to 41 percent). It is part of a project called States of the Nation.

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