Only some opinions count

Only some opinions count

Two-thirds of 853 state-level polls were in 11 states

 

 

 

PUBLIC OPINION SURVEYS, done well, offer people an opportunity to speak to their leaders in an organized way. But the hunt for Electoral College votes tends to put all the focus of presidential campaigns on the opinions of residents in a handful of contested states, leaving no opportunity for residents of less competitive states to have their voices heard.

Polling patterns highlight the campaigns’ narrow focus. Between the final Republican primary contest on June 26 and Election Day, 853 state-level presidential polls were conducted where the results were released to the public, according to the Huffington Post Pollster’s website. A total of 692,000 interviews were done as part of these polls. (National polls were not included in this analysis.)

Two-thirds of the state-level polls were conducted in 11 battleground states. Ohio residents were polled the most (90 times), followed by Florida (80), Virginia (64), Colorado (50), and Wisconsin (49). In seven states, including South Carolina, Kansas, Alabama, and Mississippi, no state-level presidential polls were conducted at all. The winner in those seven states was seen as a foregone conclusion, making the opinions of the states’ 17.5 million residents unimportant.

Meet the Author

Steve Koczela

Guest Contributor

About Steve Koczela

Steve Koczela is the President of The MassINC Polling Group, where he has grown the organization from its infancy to a nationally known and respected polling provider. During the 2014 election cycle, MPG conducted election polling for WBUR, the continuation of a three-year partnership. Koczela again led the endeavor, producing polls which came within one point of the margin in both the Massachusetts gubernatorial and U.S. Senate Elections. He was also lead writer for Poll Vault, WBUR’s political reporting section during the 2014 Election Cycle.

He has led survey research programs for the U.S. Department of State in Iraq, in key states for President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, and has conducted surveys and polls on behalf of many private corporations. Koczela brings a deep understanding of the foundations of public opinion and a wide ranging methodological expertise. He earned U.S. Department of State recognition for his leading edge work on sample evaluation in post conflict areas using geospatial systems.

Koczela is frequent guest on WBUR as well as many other news and talk programs in Massachusetts and elsewhere. His polling analysis is often cited in local, state, and national media outlets. He currently serves as President of the New England Chapter of the American Association for Public Opinion Research (NEAAPOR). Koczela holds a Master’s degree in Marketing Research from the University of Wisconsin and is a veteran of the war in Iraq.

About Steve Koczela

Steve Koczela is the President of The MassINC Polling Group, where he has grown the organization from its infancy to a nationally known and respected polling provider. During the 2014 election cycle, MPG conducted election polling for WBUR, the continuation of a three-year partnership. Koczela again led the endeavor, producing polls which came within one point of the margin in both the Massachusetts gubernatorial and U.S. Senate Elections. He was also lead writer for Poll Vault, WBUR’s political reporting section during the 2014 Election Cycle.

He has led survey research programs for the U.S. Department of State in Iraq, in key states for President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, and has conducted surveys and polls on behalf of many private corporations. Koczela brings a deep understanding of the foundations of public opinion and a wide ranging methodological expertise. He earned U.S. Department of State recognition for his leading edge work on sample evaluation in post conflict areas using geospatial systems.

Koczela is frequent guest on WBUR as well as many other news and talk programs in Massachusetts and elsewhere. His polling analysis is often cited in local, state, and national media outlets. He currently serves as President of the New England Chapter of the American Association for Public Opinion Research (NEAAPOR). Koczela holds a Master’s degree in Marketing Research from the University of Wisconsin and is a veteran of the war in Iraq.

By contrast, the smallest of the swing states (New Hamp­shire) was polled 37 times. A total of 25,609 interviews were conducted in New Hampshire, the equivalent of one interview for every 51 residents.

The polling pattern would likely be even more concentrated but for a group of states whose presidential preferences were only collected as an afterthought to another competitive race, such as governor or senator. For example, 26 presidential polls were conducted in Massachu­setts despite a projected blowout win by President Obama. The presidential queries piggybacked on polls taken in the Scott Brown-Elizabeth Warren Senate race.