POLITICS
05/20/2013 05:57 pm ET Updated May 22, 2013

POLLSTER UPDATE: Wendy Greuel, LA Mayoral Candidate, Attacks 'Flawed' Poll

AP

Barack Obama had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week, but his job approval ratings remain stable. Pollsters are fighting pollsters in Los Angeles, and in case you missed it, Gallup shared some new details of its ongoing investigation of what went wrong in 2012. This is the HuffPost Pollster update for Monday, May 20, 2013.

OBAMA'S APPROVAL RATING WITHSTANDS A BAD WEEK - Our take: "President Barack Obama may have had the 'worst week in Washington' -- perhaps even his 'worst week ever' -- but so far polls tracking his job approval rating show no dramatic change. On Sunday, CNN released a new poll, conducted Friday and Saturday last week by ORC International, that showed 53 percent of Americans expressing approval of the job Obama is doing as president, while 45 percent disapprove. That's a slight improvement since CNN/ORC's last poll in early April, when Obama's rating showed 51 percent approve, 47 percent disapprove....[A] closer look at the most recent daily tracking polls shows no dramatic change in the past week. The average of interviews conducted in the past week by the Gallup and Rasmussen tracking polls shows a decline of roughly 1 percentage point, although both changes fall well within the sampling error of both polls." [HuffPost]

'Limited' interest in controversies - Pew Research: "So far, public interest in a trio of controversies connected to the Obama administration has been limited. Roughly a quarter (26%) of Americans say they are closely following reports that the IRS targeted conservative groups. About the same number (25%) are tracking the Benghazi investigation, and even fewer (16%) are closely following news about the Justice Department subpoenaing phone records of AP journalists. The new survey by the Pew Research Center...finds that 37% of Republicans are paying very close attention to the IRS story, compared with 21% of Democrats and 25% of independents. And the Benghazi investigation continues to draw much greater interest from Republicans (34% very closely) than Democrats (18%)." [Pew Research]

LA MAYORAL CANDIDATE ATTACKS 'FLAWED' POLL - LA Weekly: "In an internal memo this weekend, Wendy Greuel's pollster took aim at the new USC/L.A. Times poll and argued the race is a 'dead heat' heading into Tuesday's vote....Greuel's polling team, led by Celinda Lake, argue in the memo that the USC/L.A. Times poll has shown a pattern of 'understating the Greuel's vote and overestimating [Councilman Eric] Garcetti's.'...Dan Schnur, the USC/L.A. Times poll director, said in an e-mail that the sampling and polling methodology were done by two polling firms 'with no involvement from either the Times or USC.'" [LA Weekly]

LAT/USC's poll put her rival 7 points ahead... - LA Times: "As the candidates and their partisans swarmed across the city in advance of Tuesday's runoff election, Garcetti, a city councilman from Silver Lake, held a 48% to 41% lead, the survey found. Voters in the Valley and every other key region of Los Angeles favored him over Greuel, the city controller. With the campaign's TV advertising hitting its peak over the weekend, the dynamics of the race could still shift. The poll found 11% of likely voters undecided. And more than 20% of those who were siding with a candidate said they might still change their minds." [LAT]

...while another poll found Greuel with a tiny edge - KPCC: "The survey from the Pat Brown Institute at Cal State L.A. is the latest sign of how unpredictable the race has become. Greuel leads with 46 percent, with Garcetti at 45 percent. Nine percent of voters were undecided. The numbers are in dramatic contrast to a USC/L.A. Times poll released on April 20th that showed Garcetti with a 10-point lead. Raphael Sonenshein, executive director of the Pat Brown Institute, cautioned that comparing polls is like comparing apples and oranges, as each survey has its own makeup of participants. As for why there may have been such a shift in support in the past three weeks, he said: 'It could be that more people are tuning into the race who weren't tuned in before.'" [SCPR]

GALLUP SHARES FURTHER DETAILS ON 2012 MISFIRE - An exclusive from this weekend's AAPOR polling conference: "Shortly after the election Gallup's editor-in-chief Frank Newport pledged to conduct an internal review of Gallup's telephone survey methodology. As promised, Newport reviewed on Saturday the kinds of studies conducted on issues including drawing samples, interviewing voters, and how to weight data and select the likely electorate. The company pledges to make the findings of its ongoing review publicly available. Although much analysis is now complete and set to be unveiled June 4, the investigation awaits "a major experiment" in conjunction with the gubernatorial campaigns in the fall. 'We take it seriously' when polls misfire, Newport explained on Saturday. 'We've been doing presidential polling since 1936 which is what put George Gallup on the map ...The results [in 2012] certainly were not what we wanted them to be from Gallup's perspective.'" [HuffPost]

MONDAY'S 'OUTLIERS' - Links to more news at the intersection of polling, politics and political data:

-Few voters, regardless of race, faced problems voting in recent elections, Pew's Andrew Kohut says. [WSJ]

-An internal PPP poll for Minnesota Democrat Jim Graves gives him a narrow edge for a rematch against Rep. Michele Bachmann. [HuffPost]

-Harry Enten foresees slow progress for the gay marriage movement in southern states. [Guardian]

-Mark Mellman explains why Americans readily believe conspiracy theories. [The Hill]

-RealClearPolitics now includes online, non-probability polls in its Obama job approval average. [@ForecasterEnten]

-Annie Petit blogs insights shared by AAPOR women leaders. [LoveStats]

-Jeffrey Henning summarizes highlights from AAPOR conference panels on transparency, data blogs, non-probability samples, weighting, and reaction to Google Consumer Surveys. [Research]

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