Conti Campaign Questions Gonzales Poll Results ~ Annapolis Capital Punishment

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Conti Campaign Questions Gonzales Poll Results

The below was provided by Hylton Early, campaign manager for County Executive Candidate Joanna Conti.  He is referring to a recent poll by Patrick and Hilary Gonzales that put incumbent John Leopold way ahead of Conti as was reported on here at ACP earlier.  I then have The Gonzales' provide their response and ACP weighs in with some comments at the end. ACP thanks Early and Gonzales for this information:

This photograph is deeply, extremely and yes, even subtly symbolic. Ask Alderman Paone
CONTI SAYS.....1.       Party Registration breakdown: As with Gonzales’ other polls this year he is predicting a huge difference in turnout by party this year. In 2006 turnout by party was near evenly split (64% among Dems, 65% among Reps), in this poll he is predicting it at closer to 74% Reps, 58% Dems. This is similar to the projected turnout in the statewide release covering the gubernatorial race.  We believe this turnout prediction is overly favorable for the Republicans, especially the 16% difference in turnout between the parties.  It is important to keep in mind that a contested gubernatorial race and Question A being on the ballot should yield good turn out from both parties in Anne Arundel County.
2.       Gender is 50/50: This is also strange.  The breakdown of registered likely voters in the voter file it is 53% women, 47% men.  The is relevant for many other reason including the fact that women vote more often than men, and polls indicate that Joanna's support is much stronger with women.  The charges against Mr. Leopold and the fact that Joanna is a woman candidate further bolster the importance of this issue.

Based on this information, we believe the validity of the Gonzales poll's assumptions on turnout are questionable. It's also important to remember that the Gonzales poll is not the only game in town.  The AACC poll indicated two things that are especially notable and favorable to our race.
- A top issue for voters in this race are ethics.
- 32% of voters are undecided with another 10% not responding . This is a very high undecided number given that the incumbent is a 20 year elected official in Anne Arundel County.  He is a known quantity yet voters remain undecided.

To which Gonzales replies:
 read on...

In the 2006 Democratic primary in Anne Arundel County, 52,482 Democrats voted.  In the 2010 Democratic primary in Anne Arundel County, 38,175 Democrats voted.  Democratic turnout decreased 27 percent.

In the 2006 Republican primary in Anne Arundel County, 35,473 Republicans voted.  In the 2010 GOP primary in Anne Arundel County, 40,083 Republicans voted.  GOP turnout increased 13 percent.
In my 45 years in Anne Arundel County, I have never witnessed more Republicans voting in a primary than Democrats, as happened this year.

In the 2006 general election in Anne Arundel County, 189,150 voted.  It broke out as follows:

Democrats       -           86,359  (45.7%)
Republicans     -           77,585  (41.0%)
Others             -           25,206  (13.3%)

Our recent poll sample in Anne Arundel County was 42 percent Democratic, which is an 8 percent decline from 2006; and 44 percent Republican, which is a 7 percent increase from 2006.

If Republican turnout increases and Democratic turnout decreases, then a 53%-47% female advantage moves closer to 50-50.

And ACP adds:  Thanks to all. It's bad enough that most folks care and know little about the candidates but it's even worse when so few of us understand survey research methods. However, I just recently heard that with early voting underway, Dems are turning out pretty strongly while Republican numbers are weaker. Hmmm....what can we tell about the predicted turnout among the parties from these early voting numbers? Are they generally representative of the larger voting public? Are they somehow a sub-sample or a stratified sample or are they somehow generally different than the larger voting sample? If more Dems are turning out, Conti may have a point, both in terms of her poll numbers and women voters.

Voters beware!!!   This stuff is social "science" and not rocket science. The goal is to get reproducible and predictable results within acceptable margins of error so that a proper random sample and survey of a small percentage of the overall sample population will more or less mirror the entire sample population.  Think a bag of colored M and M's.....melting in your hands, not in the polls.

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Paul Foer said...

From David Abrams--The spokesperson for the Leopold Campaign (His is also the PIO for the County Exec and though this was sent on non-official email, it was sent at 1108am on a Friday)

I would like to offer some thoughts on the polling in the
> County Executive's race, as I think Hylton Early could not
> be more wrong in his analysis.
> Gonzales Poll methodology: Early voting results and
> national polls bear out the prediction that Republicans will
> have a strong turnout in this election. Hylton predicts that
> Question A and the gubernatorial race will drive turnout for
> both parties, but Ehrlich won Anne Arundel huge both times
> he ran.
> Gender: The statement that more women should be included
> because they will vote for a woman who highlights
> politically-motivated and baseless allegations against John
> Leopold is insulting to women. The results show that women
> favor Leopold 48 percent to 34 percent. That's because
> Leopold will keep taxes low, cut spending, provides
> excellent constituent service and preserved more than 3,000
> acres of land.
> Community College Poll: There is a significant problem with
> the sampling in the poll that Conti relies on to show the
> numbers are closer than the 29-point lead both polls show
> for Leopold. The College poll draws potential respondents
> using "random sampling" from the phone number database.
> Gonzales uses "likely voters" with a consistent record of
> going to the polls. The college determines someone a likely
> voter if they say they will likely vote. That explains the
> high undecided number, because they are randomly calling
> people who might not really be likely voters.
> Ethics: The College poll shows that "ethics" was the most
> important issue to voters. Voters who listed that trait
> favored Leopold 24 percent to 20 percent for Conti, and 24
> percent were undecided. This is more of an indication that
> voters think Leopold has kept his promises not to raise
> taxes, showed leadership by taking a pay cut and put an end
> to County government giving too much influence to
> developers. On the other hand, Ms. Conti distorts every
> measure of her campaign and has relied on attack ads to
> communicate with voters. She hasn't even introduced herself
> to voters in a single mailing yet. Voters are rejecting this
> kind of campaign.
> Dave Abrams
> Leopold Campaign Spokesman

Paul Foer said...

CORRECTION Mr Abram's email was sent in at 1109 on a friday NIGHT...not on a friday morning my mistake I apologize....

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