8.21.2003

ARNOLD HAS NO CLOTHES





The Field Poll released last week was dismissed by many as inconclusive because of a small sample size, but of the three major polls released so far it is the only one at all reliable.

The first, a CNN-USA Today-Gallup Poll was useless. First, even though it was put in the field after candidate filing closed, it still pointlessly asked respondents if they were planning on voting for candidates NOT RUNNING FOR GOVERNOR. Second, and more importantly, it asked voters if there was a “good or very good chance” of voting for so-and-so. Added up, responses added up to an amazing 172 percent. Certainly puts Arnold’s 42 percent in perspective.

The second, a California Field Poll, was largely criticized because its small sample of 629 registered voters, 448 of which were targeted as likely voters. A small sample, yes. But their model was straightforward, and their methods reliable.

Now comes a Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) poll, being reported in USA Today, the Washington Times, etc. It shows Arnold out in the lead 23%-18% over Cruz Bustamante, with no other candidates breaking 4%. Add in the fact that this poll was taken Aug 8-17, as Arnold was in hiding, and just on the surface it seems a little odd. Well, there’s a reason for that.

Taken from a sample of 2,001 responses, the PPIC poll only included 1540 registered voters. Almost a full quarter of respondents weren’t registered voters. And unlike the Field Poll where 71% of respondents were likely voters, the PPIC poll tags less than half its respondents as likely voters.

You could go poll any high school freshman English class, and of course Arnold’s going to poll well, but until people start looking at a serious, legitimate turnout model, and spend the time accumulating a sizable sample of likely voters, Arnold is going to continue to look unbeatable. When someone does accumulate these numbers though, conservatives turned off by Arnold will be seen leaving for Simon and McClintock, and Democrats will be seen leaving for Cruz. Soon, we will see that the Emperor has no clothes. And until then, when anyone tries to push these poll numbers in your face, look them straight in the eye and say, "Those numbers are bogus."

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