Showing posts with label survey research. Show all posts
Showing posts with label survey research. Show all posts

Friday, July 24, 2020

How Does Trump Stand for Reelection Now?

Some pundits have written off Trump's reelection chances due to his handling.  They often point to the results of one poll to reinforce that conclusion.  I would argue that it is better to look at the aggregate of polls to see trends.  

The Real Clear Politics (RCP) average of polls includes Republican polling firms like Rasmussen, neutral firms like Politico and Quinnipiac, and Democratic firms like Change Research.  In the graph above we see that the RCP average for Trump's approval rating has steadily declined from an all time high of 47.3% at the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic to 42.2% today.  This number is still higher than Trump's all time low rating of 37.1% on December 17, 2017.


Nate Silver's website estimates his current approval rating to be 40.4%.  This number is still higher than their all time low estimate of 36.4% on December 17, 2017.  Silver's group uses a different than RCP that you can read about here.  In both poll estimates, Trumps approval rating has never been above 50%.

FiveThirtyEight also provides a comparison of Trump's approval rating the past 12 Presidents at the same point in their Presidencies (1282 days) going back to Harry Truman.  Of these past 12 Presidents, only three had approval ratings lower than Trump's and this point: Truman (39.6%), Carter (33.9%), and George H.W. Bush (36.7%).  Truman managed to win his election bid while Bush and Carter lost.  Ford was in office for fewer than 1282 days and he lost as well.  The other Presidents either won their reelection bids or left office before running again.

RCP's poll average of national polls has Biden leading Trump 49.6% to 40.9% while FiveThirtyEight has Biden up 50.0% to 42.0%.  One should always be careful about making predictions about the outcome of the November election this early.  However it is pretty clear that he faces a tough bid to win this year.  In the month of June 2016, Clinton had a lead of 5.7% over Trump while Biden had a lead of 7.7% over him in June 2020.  He could still eek out an electoral college win with his loyal supporters.

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Thursday, November 14, 2019

Medicare for All is a "Top/Important Priority" in Pennsylvania

I saw this article by a Julian Routh of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette where he reports on a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Cook Political Report of voters in the states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin called The Blue Wall Project.  He highlights their responses to questions on implementing a Medicare for All System and on banning fracking as warning signs for progressives.  He sites that 57% of PA voters believe that an outright ban on hydraulic fracturing or fracking is a "bad idea."  Also he says that 56% of swing voters believe that Medicare for All is a bad idea.

I went back to look at the raw results for the survey to see where he found those numbers.  For starters this was a long survey administered by telephone (8%), computer assisted telephone interviewing or CATI (6%), and online (86%) with 3,222 respondents.  752 respondents were in Pennsylvania.  They were offered $2 as a pre-incentive.  Hispanics were offered an additional $10 for completing the survey.  There were 36 questions followed by demographic questions.

The items that Routh cites were items 23g and 23f for fracking and Medicare for all respectively.  Survey item #4 asked respondents what the top priority should be for Congress in the upcoming year.  Item 4d asked: "Implementing a national Medicare-for-all plan, in which all Americans would get their insurance from a single government plan."  For Pennsylvania, 54% of all respondents said that this was either a top priority (26%) or an important (28%) thing.  

The length of this suggests that their may be a fatigue effect.  Also the wording of the question may bias the result.  Respondents were paid to encourage them to complete the survey.  

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Thursday, November 3, 2016

Bradley Effect for Trump?

In 1982, the popular African American mayor of Los Angeles, Tom Bradley, was running for Governor of California.  In the month prior to the election, polls were showing him ahead of his Republican opponent by 5%.  When the votes were counted he lost by 1% of the vote.  The exit polls predicted that he would win.  Looking for an explanation as to why this was so social scientists theorized that a small segment of mostly white voters did not want to admit to pollsters that they did not want to admit to pollsters that they did not want to vote for an African American.  They termed this phenomenon The Bradley Effect.  Similar polling discrepancies were seen in large races with African American Candidates.  This effect was not seen in the presidential elections of Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 and in other more recent elections with African American Candidates.  The polls were accurate both times.  

For this election cycle, it has been speculated that a similar effect may happen in elections where there is no African American on the ballot.  With Donald Trump warning of a rigged election and a "Reverse Bradley Effect."  Some political bloggers and talk show hosts have fanned the flames of this theory. 

Blogger and right wing talk show host Douglas V. Gibbs has fanned the flames of this theory at his blog The Political Pistachio.  He states that he has spoken with Trump supporters who are afraid to put Trump bumper stickers on their cars for fear of vandalism.  This is the only evidence he presents in support of his theory.  He does claim that there is evidence from the Podesta emails that Democrats are over sampled in polls and that polls are only targeting likely voters but these are issues with polling and sampling methodology not with the survey respondents as in the Bradley effect.  There is little evidence of this effect in the primaries when Trump won handily.  
The Gap Between Poll Numbers and Election Results for African American Candidates Over Time

There were fears among Democrats that the Bradley effect would come into play in the 2008.  As I stated before that didn't happen.  The effect is thought by some to be a thing of the past which may or may not be true.  The effect may be minimized with more advanced polling methodologies such as online surveys or phone surveys with automated rather than live questioners.  It may be more comfortable for respondents to speak openly to a machine than to a human being.

Of course it may be just wishful thinking on the part of Trump and Gibbs for a reverse Bradley effect.  No one really knows until the votes are counted.  The general election is a different beast than the primaries.  I haven't heard any discussion of this effect when there is a woman on the ballot.  The reverse Bradley effect refers to voters not being willing to tell pollsters that they support a candidate who is openly supported by white supremacist leaders like David Duke.  Time will tell.

**Related Posts**

More Hate Groups in States Where Trump and Clinton Win (and in DC Where He Lost)


SPLC Hate Group Update: Washington, DC has an Increase in Activity


A Wave of Hate Groups in California? No in Washington, DC


Terrorism Boost for Trump

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

US News and World Report Hospital Rankings

Every year US News and World Report ranks the top colleges and hospitals in the US.  Those that are ranked high use these results to market their institutions to potential students and/or patients.  I've been asked by a friend to comment on the method that US News and World Report uses to create the annual rankings of hospitals in the US.  

According to their FAQ page for these rankings the rankings are based on a summary score from 16 hospital specialties.  Twelve of these specialties (cancer, cardiology & heart surgery, diabetes & endocrinology, ear, nose & throat, gastroenterology & GI surgery, geriatrics, gynecology, nephrology, neurology & neurosurgery, orthopedics, pulmonology and urology) have objective health outcomes and are used to rank hospitals within specialties and are factored into the rankings by health outcome data such as survival rates.  Another 4 specialties (ophthalmology, psychiatry, rehabilitation and rheumatology) have outcomes that are more subjective so surveys of physician specialists are used to rank hospitals within specialties and factored into overall rankings.  

I have two comments on these rankings.  The first comment is anytime a ranking is based on a summary score of different measures invariably some information is lost.  A hospital can have high ratings in geriatrics, ophthalmology and neurology while another can have similar high rankings in gynecology, cancer and psychiatry.  If the rankings for both hospitals on the other measures are the same, the two hospitals can have roughly the same overall rankings.  The overall rankings say little about the hospitals relative strengths and weaknesses which are different.  

Even within specialties outcomes can vary widely for different diseases.  There are many types of diseases that each specialty treats.  Overall rankings for specialties can vary widely among different diseases.  If one has a specific disease it is better to look at how that hospital treats that disease.

The second comment is that the four subjective specialties that are ranked based on a survey of physicians perceptions of which hospitals are the best at these specialties.  Presumably the physicians can rank their hospital first and can choose ones simply based on reputation (eg. Massachusetts General or the Cleveland Clinic).  Also the respondents may have no actual firsthand knowledge of the hospital's performance in these specialties.  A survey of the patients of the specialties of the respective hospitals may be more accurate but such a survey would not be practical or ethical to conduct.

**Related Posts**

Health Care and the 2014 Election in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Voters Want a Better Health Care Law

POLL: Dislike of healthcare law crosses party lines, 1 in 4 Dems want repeal - (But Doesn't Ask Why)

Monday, March 21, 2016

Which Religious Group Supports Trump the Most?

Looking at Juan Cole's blog Informed Comment I came across this graph showing the preferences of the four major religious groups (Islam, Judaism, Protestant, and Catholic) in the US for the top 5 Presidential candidates from the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding.  The survey was conducted before Marco Rubio dropped out of the race.  The focus of the survey was how Muslims compare to other religious groups with respect to the 2016 election.  Predictably Muslims more strongly support Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders than the Republicans.  

The one number that jumped out at me n the graph at the top was the group that most strongly supported Donald Trump.  Donald Trump was supported by 4% of Muslims, 13% of Jews, 17% of Protestants and 28% of Catholics.  This number seems worth investigating.  Another graph in their report presented below shows that 47% of Protestants are more likely to identify as Republican compared to 34% of Catholics, 16% of Jews, and 6% of Muslims.  This comes as exit polls in the primaries show Trump doing well among evangelical or born again Christians with Ted Cruz doing better in some states. 
The graph below may shed some light Catholic support for Trump.  Immigration and National Security were listed as the top issues among Catholics while the economy and national security were listed as top among Protestants.  The economy was most important among the other groups.
It seems as though issues with the US and foreigners trumps the brief feud that Trump had with Pope Francis regarding his proposal to build a wall on the border with Mexico for 28% of US Catholics.  


Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders won the Utah Caucus handily over Trump where the state is 70% Mormon.  The LDS church (aka the Mormons) might be a good group to survey on their political preferences which may differ from mainline protestants and Catholics.

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Terrorism Boost for Trump?

Numbers and Catholicism 

More Hate Groups in States Where Trump Wins

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Health Care and the 2014 Election in Pennsylvania

Gov. Corbett has conceded defeat in this years gubernatorial race with 55% of the vote as of this posting.  The NBC exit poll asked voters a variety of questions which showed Governor Elect Tom Wolf winning almost every demographic in the state: males, females, young, middle age.  Corbett and Wolf evenly split the 65+ age group.  Of most interest for Healthcare for All PA is the question on voters opinion of the Affordable Care Act as can be seen below.  47% thought it “went too far”, 23% thought it “Was about right”, and 27% thought it “did not go far enough”.  If you add the those who said “Did not go far enough” to those who thought it “Was about right” there is a 50% majority for universal health care with more than half of those wanting a better bill.

Did not go far enough27%82%18%
Was about right23%89%11%
Went too far47%27%73%

These results are consistent with the exit poll for Pennsylvania from 2012 as well as national polls on the Affordable Care Act as can be seen in the related posts below.