Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Annapolis Quest: New 2018 MD Gov Poll - a Dissection

From the Desk of S. MacCune: Amateur Harbor Master

A new poll was released regarding the 2018 Maryland Gubernatorial contest – a proverbial “snapshot” of a race which is simultaneously embryonic yet well underway.   Information can be found here:

Now, the regular author of this blog, being a former political pollster (and God knows he doesn’t keep that a secret) is generally loathe to discuss the work of other pollsters.  Any criticisms, well-founded or otherwise, tend to come across as 2000s-era Gore Vidal-esque sneering.  Which is why he asked me to use my fresh yet bleary eyes to cover this critical non-story.  Which is an awesome use of my precious time.  

I know Mr. Considerations leans in the direction of Mr. Jealous, Sen. Madaleno, or Del. McIntosh (with the former two being the most likely to be on the June 2018 primary election ballot as candidates for Governor).  Obviously, my unfettered neutrality is precisely what this blog needs. 

What we don’t know about this survey (yet or possibly ever): Study Design & Methodology

  •      The Sample Size/Margin of Error (as noted in the story)
  •    The Sample Composition (by Party ID, etc…)
  •    The Sample Selection Process (RDD, Voter lists, etc…)
  •    The Data Collection Methodology (telephone (live interviewer), telephone (no live interviewer, IVR, etc…), online, etc…)

What we don’t know about this survey (yet or possibly ever):  Findings

  •     Intensity of Feeling on the Favorable/Unfavorable ratings (Strong/Somewhat)
  •      Gradations on the ballot tests (definitely/probably/lean)
  •      If the ballot tests released are initial/cold ballot tests…or if those numbers followed batteries of questions about the actual/prospective candidates.

What I found interesting is that Gansler, considering his statewide profile, was not *that* much better known compared to some of his likely rivals for the Democratic nomination. 
Does he lead the D field? Sure, just like Ted Kennedy did in early ’84 match-ups for President (he didn’t run that cycle), Joe Lieberman in early ’04 surveys (he ran but finished poorly), and Rudy Giuliani (on the R side) in early ’08 surveys (see note on Lieberman).   It’s a Name ID advantage but it is far from insurmountable.

Among registered D’s, Gansler’s Name ID is +16 over the next closest individual tested (Jealous) but his Favorability rating is only 11 points higher, while his Unfavs are 5 points higher than Jealous.  His Fav/Unfav ratio is just about 5:1, which is decent, but Jealous is at 7:1 Fav/Unfav, while Delaney is @ 10:1 (Baker and Kamenetz are both in the 3:1/4:1 range).

On the ballot test, Gansler at -9 is right around where a Generic D places against Hogan (-10).  Assuming a Margin of Error in the +/- 5% zone, at the 95% level of confidence, Delaney (-13), Baker (-14), Kamenetz (-15), and Jealous (-16) are all within striking distance of Gansler. 

Now, if Gansler were up, tied, or in the low single digits behind Hogan, that would be news.  But he is - at most- only slightly ahead of the peloton.  And most of the course is ahead of the field.

Stay tuned as, etc…

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