Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Numbers and Notes -- New Hampshire

I have spent some time before writing about New Hampshire because I wanted to see more analysis from other sources, including actual breakdowns of polls. In the end, there are conflicting numbers, it’s hard to analyze specifics, and different people have come up with assorted reasons for the “error”. The pollsters are investigating their methodology – although apparently it was only wrong with the Dems, since it got the GOP race exactly right.
Here is my take:
1) There is no reason to believe half a dozen or more polls were all wrong in their poll results, especially in light of their accuracy in the GOP results. The polls were mostly finished by Sunday, with a few exceptions. I think they were accurately reflecting how things stood.
2) There was a sea change, mostly among women, which took place on Monday and Tuesday. Two of the three polls (the exception being the Suffolk U. poll, which was off on the GOP and had bizarre gender splits in both parties), both had Obama ahead with women by about the same amount he won them in Iowa. The exit polls show Clinton winning them by double digits. That swing accounts for almost all of the difference. Why?
Well, by Monday, newspapers and other media were talking about Obama winning easily and the race effectively being over – the NH voters are often contrarian about such things and may have not wanted it to end there. There were also reports that Clinton advisors might suggest she leave the race to avoid further embarrassment – this might have been especially telling among women, who would not want that to happen to her. And then she cried...or almost cried...in the diner. That moment, revealing a passion few had seen, was shown over and over again and had to have some effect.
3) But what about the exit poll question “when did you finally decide who to vote for?”, which yielded no significant late gain for Clinton? My theory on this is that there were large numbers of women who were always intending to vote for HRC, as the polls had shown prior to Iowa. Then Obama won Iowa, HRC finished third, Obama made a great speech and they shifted to Obama likely voters. They came back home on election day and simply ignored their three-day dalliance with Obama, just coming back to their original decision, made months earlier.

In any case, this primary turned the race around and we will head into the February 5th primaries with a battle on our hands. It may not be the battle I would like to see, but that’s for another day.

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home