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  Why are some states difficult to poll?
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Author Topic: Why are some states difficult to poll?  (Read 1700 times)
GeorgiaModerate
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« on: November 07, 2016, 07:50:02 pm »

Conventional wisdom is that certain states are very hard to poll accurately; ones I've heard include AK, NV, MI, and NJ.  Why are these states difficult?  NV is understandable (high number of Latinos and odd-shift workers who are difficult to reach), and so is AK (far-flung state, native population is difficult to reach), but why would MI and NJ be difficult?  And are there any others?
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politicalmasta73
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« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2017, 03:23:07 am »

nah really. they just polled more people in wayne
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NOVA Green
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« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2017, 01:42:03 pm »

Not really states per se, but obviously the five electoral votes awarded by CD (Maine & Nebraska), because of high MOEs and low CIs.

Indiana might be on the list as well, because of the ban on Robocalls... fewer polls and harder too filter out what's really going on.

Is Michigan really that hard to poll? I know there was the major polling error in the '16 Democratic Primary, but is there really a history of inaccurate polling?

Also, it seems that states with really small populations (MT, ND, SD, WY, VT, and possibly RI), seem to have polling that significantly differs from final voting percentages. Not sure if that is accurate, or just the impression that I have from the past few GE cycles.
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pbrower2a
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« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2017, 11:20:35 pm »

Conventional wisdom is that certain states are very hard to poll accurately; ones I've heard include AK, NV, MI, and NJ.  Why are these states difficult?  NV is understandable (high number of Latinos and odd-shift workers who are difficult to reach), and so is AK (far-flung state, native population is difficult to reach), but why would MI and NJ be difficult?  And are there any others?

I'll give you another -- Texas. Texas is the second-hardest state to poll because

(1) it straddles regions of the USA. El Paso is closer to San Diego CA than to Beaumont, and Beaumont is closer to Jacksonville FL than to El Paso. The Panhandle is more similar to Nebraska than it is to southern or eastern Texas.

As a corollary one needs huge sample sizes. If one gets too many people from Houston and too few from Amarillo and Lubbock one gets a big D bias.

(2) The five largest cities (Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Houston, and San Antonio) are very different from each other.

(3) Although Texas has the five aforesaid giant cities, it has a large rural population tricky to sample. The rural vote in far-south Texas is very different from the rural population in central Texas.

(4) Texas has areas as sophisticated as Northern cities, with plenty of educated people, but large numbers of under-educated white people.

Of course one can limit language choices effectively to English and Spanish, as one could not get away with in Alaska. But see also Arizona, Montana,  and New Mexico with large percentages of First Peoples. (Oklahoma has large numbers of First Peoples, but those are educationally assimilated, so you would not need an alternative for "Cherokee".

Someone who lives in New Jersey can better explain the state than I can. But I have as good a pulse on Michigan as anyone here. Michigan has lots of people working on night shifts, especially in medicine and heavy industry, and missing those implies missing a big chunk of the potential vote. Michigan also has a big rural-urban divide, and this applies to the suburbs as well. Many of the suburbs of Detroit (River Rouge, Dearborn, Inkster,  Pontiac, and Southfield are legitimately urban, but those around Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo still have rural qualities.       

 
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Benjamin Harrison he is w
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« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2017, 11:37:29 pm »

Virginia seems to be awful going off of 2013-2014-2017.
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