Sunday, 1 August 2004

USA Today 1, AAPOR 0

Glenn Reynolds links a USA Today report on its post-convention poll:

Last week’s Democratic convention boosted voters’ impressions of John Kerry but failed to give him the expected bump in the head-to-head race against President Bush, a USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll finds.

In the survey, taken Friday and Saturday, Bush led Kerry 50%-46% among likely voters. Independent candidate Ralph Nader was at 2%.

The survey showed Kerry losing 1 percentage point and Bush gaining 4 percentage points from a poll taken the week before the Boston convention.

The change in support was within the poll’s margin of error of ±4 percentage points in the sample of 763 likely voters. But it was nonetheless surprising, the first time since the chaotic Democratic convention in 1972 that a candidate hasn’t gained ground during his convention.

In fairness, the report’s headline (“Poll: No boost for Kerry after convention”) is appropriate, and I’m generally all for the reporting of null results when they are substantively interesting. But I wonder how many readers will really appreciate the meaninglessness of the change in support, given that the disclaimer is after the discussion of the marginals, which show a statistical dead heat and zero meaningful change since the previous poll.

1 comment:

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I think this is an interesting example of a null result, as it indicates that the best Kerry could have done is a get a four-point bounce, which is quite low.

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