A new Republican polling venture launches. Gallup's quarterly average confirms an uptick in the Obama job performance rating. And we link to the last word on the electoral impact of the impending Clinton Baby. This is HuffPollster for Monday, April 21, 2014.
REPUBLICANS LAUNCH NEW POLLING FIRM - Alexander Burns: "A small group of top Washington Republicans is teaming up to launch a new polling firm, Vox Populi Polling, that will churn out volumes of survey data ahead of the 2014 midterm elections. The firm plans to produce both public and private polling, tracking high-priority 2014 races and issue debates. It will employ a combination of automated polling and live-caller methodology to reach cell phone users, according to strategists involved in the effort. Mary Cheney, the political strategist and daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, is among the firm’s half-dozen partners. Joining her in the enterprise are longtime GOP operative Barry Bennett, Americans for Job Security president Stephen DeMaura and Frank Sadler of Cove Strategies, as well as Alicia Downs and Brent Seaborn of TargetPoint Consulting." [Politico]
More details on their method - The methodology statement on the Vox Populi web site, also excerpted in the Politico story adds a few specifics about what they describe as a "mixed-mode" approach: "Though the exact proportion of each method [landline and mobile phones] changes depending on the target audience, a typical survey includes roughly 20% mobile completes....We use listed sample for our landline interviews...A listed sample typically includes demographic and geographic information that can be employed during the analysis. In order to identify target audiences, we utilize pre- and post-survey screens for registration status and voter history....Finally, Pop Polling weights survey results based on projected voter demographics. We do not weight on partisan affiliation or identification." [Vox Populi]
Do they mean voter files? - Yes. "In most cases, we're using the ecosystem of the RNC/GOP Data Trust [voter] file," Vox Populi's Brent Seaborn tells HuffPollster. They use the voter file to sample both landline and cell phones, using telephone numbers already on the Secretary of State's voter file (in some states) plus "commercial appends" of both landline and cell numbers "linked to individual voters." The exceptions, he explains, are cases where they "can't use Data Trust files."
Why, then, ask screens for "registration status and vote history?" - Says Seaborn: "We do ask an 'Are you registered' question, because there's always a chance you're talking to the grandmas and [people] visiting from out of town, or the babysitter's around or something like that. So we do confirm that we're talking to the registered voter even though we have that on the file, we're just confirming."
OBAMA'S APPROVAL RATING REVIVES SLIGHTLY - Jeffrey M. Jones: "President Barack Obama's job approval rating averaged 42.4% during his 21st quarter in office, a slight improvement from 41.2% in the prior quarter, but still one of his lowest quarterly averages as president….Despite the uptick in Obama's approval ratings during the last quarter, Obama's average approval rating remains low by historical standards, and could be troublesome for the Democratic Party heading into this fall's midterm elections. While most presidents' parties lose seats in the president's second midterm, the losses have been greater for less popular presidents than more popular presidents….The prospects for Obama's rating to improve significantly in the next quarter are not good, at least based on history. Of the five prior presidents elected to a second term, only Reagan showed even marginal improvement from his 21st quarter rating to his 22nd, from 62.5% to 64.0%." [Gallup]
Other polls show similar uptick for Obama - Filtering the Pollster chart for Obama's job rating so that it is based on all national polls other than Gallup yields a nearly identical trend line." [Pollster chart]
AMERICANS REMAIN SKEPTICAL OF SCIENCE - Seth Borenstein and Jennifer Agiesta: "Few Americans question that smoking causes cancer. But they express bigger doubts as concepts that scientists consider to be truths get further from our own experiences and the present time, an Associated Press-GfK poll found….About 4 in 10 say they are not too confident or outright disbelieve that the earth is warming, mostly a result of man-made heat-trapping gases, that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old or that life on Earth evolved through a process of natural selection, though most were at least somewhat confident in each of those concepts. But a narrow majority — 51 percent — questions the Big Bang theory. Those results depress and upset some of America's top scientists, including several Nobel Prize winners, who vouched for the science in the statements tested, calling them settled scientific facts." [AP]
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MONDAY'S 'OUTLIERS' - Links to the best of news at the intersection of polling, politics and political data:
-A UNH poll finds Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-N.H.) leading for reelection, and Rep. Ann Kuster (D-N.H.) tied with a challenger. [UNH/WMUR]
-73 percent of voters nationwide say "prayer at public meetings is fine as long as the public officials are not favoring some beliefs over others." [PublicMind]
-Rasmussen finds a small uptick in views of the ACA. [Rasmussen]
-Harry Enten finds that Electoral College advantages have been cyclical, so Hillary Clinton's map may look very different from Barack Obama's. 
-Dan Balz examines Democrats' efforts to reshape the midterm electorate. [WashPost]
-Seth Masket argues that "zombie candidates" are more like ghosts. [PS Mag]
-Jonathan Bernstein doubts Obamacare will drive Democratic turnout. [Bloomberg]
-Veterans say they miss a sense of wartime camaraderie. [WashPost]
-Few Americans are worried about pre-K separating kids from their families too early. [National Journal]
-Amelia Showalter, former director of digital analytics for the Obama campaign, says A/B testing will free your mind. [TedxAthens]
-DC's mayoral election turnout was dismal. [WashPost]
-The Canadian government has ordered its own pollsters to stop asking questions that find its advertising is ineffective. [HuffPost Canada]
-The Economist takes a disturbingly innovative approach to interactive graphics. [@ChrisBChester]
-Sean Davis pens a well-written analysis of Chelsea Clinton's baby's impact on the 2016 election. [The Federalist]