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Saturday, October 9, 2010

'Likely' Voters: How Pollsters Define And Choose Them

Huffington Post: "First, Rasmussen Reports released their latest weekly automated survey of likely voters, which shows Republicans leading by a narrow 3-point margin (45% to 42%) on the question of which party's House candidate voters prefer in their own district. A few hours later, Gallup published two sets of results, each based on slightly different applications of its classic likely voter model. These showed Republicans winning the generic by huge margins of either 13 points (53% to 40%) or 18 points (56% to 38%), depending on the assumptions they made about the level of turnout. Meanwhile, a new survey out this morning from ABC News and The Washington Post put the Republican margin on the generic House ballot question at 6 points (49% to 43%).
Needless to say, those numbers can't all be right. The enormous variation has left a lot of reporters and readers emailing to ask, just how do pollsters identify a likely voter? More important, does anyone know what the heck a likely voter is anymore?"

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