05/22/2013 05:03 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

POLLSTER UPDATE: LA Mayoral Polls Get It Right


Pollsters catch a break in Los Angeles. One national poll shows increasing disapproval of Obama. And Jason Linkins takes on a less-than-unimpeachable World Net Daily survey. This is the HuffPost Pollster update for Wednesday, May 22, 2013.

POLLS GET IT RIGHT IN L.A. - Los Angeles chose a new mayor, as City Councilman Eric Garcetti defeated Controller Wendy Greuel by a comfortable margin. With all of the precincts reporting (but many provisional and late vote-by-mail ballots still uncounted), Garcetti led by an 8 percentage point margin (53.9 to 46.1 percent). Garcetti's unofficial margin roughly matched the findings of two public polls conducted during the final week of the campaign. The USC/LA Times poll had forecast a 7 point Garcetti advantage, while a SurveyUSA/KABC poll had showed him leading by 5. Earlier polls had shown a closer race. Polls take three weeks earlier, had indicated a much closer race, but late shifts in voter preference would not be surprising given that the low-turnout election involved a contest between two Democrats. [HuffPost, USC/LA Times poll, SurveyUSA]


Greuel pollster misfire - Over the final weekend of the campaign, Greuel had released a memo from her campaign's pollster, Lake Research Partners, attacking the USC/L.A. Times survey as "flawed." The memo claimed the poll had demonstrated a pattern of "understating Greuel's vote and overestimating Garcetti's." LA Weekly's Gene Maddaus had noted at the time, however, that the Greuel memo "did not cite any internal research that might contradict the USC/L.A. Times result," but rather referred back to earlier surveys showing a closer contest. "One possibility that the Greuel poll memo does not entertain," Maddaus added, "is that the race was indeed a dead heat two weeks ago, but that since then $2 million of negative ads from Garcetti have taken their toll." [LA Weekly]

Overlooked: Student exit pollsters nail the outcome - The Daily News of Los Angeles reported Tuesday on a day-of-election poll that correctly predicted Garcetti's 54 to 46 percent margin: "The school's Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Center for the Study of Los Angeles conducted exit polls around the city today and spoke by telephone earlier to voters who had cast ballots by mail, with surveys in English and Spanish." [Daily News]

FOX FINDS OBAMA 'DIP' - At about the moment our Update published yesterday, featuring the headline, "Obama Ratings Remain Unchanged," we received the latest Fox News poll with the headline, "Obama Ratings Dip." Fox news reported that their poll "finds disapproval of President Obama’s job performance is above 50 percent for the first time in a year." The disapproval percentage on Obama's job rating did jump, from 45 to 51 percent, since April. The drop in the the approval percentage, from 47 to 45 percent, was less dramatic and well within random sampling error. [Fox News]

'Fair and balanced' question? - Question number 6 on the Fox survey asked, "does it feel like the federal government has gotten out of control and is threatening the basic civil liberties of Americans, or doesn’t it feel this way to you?" Republican pollster Logan Dobson: "Some, uh, aggressive wording in question 6 of the FOX poll. Maybe down a notch, guys." [@LoganDobson]

CHRISTINE QUINN LEADING IN NYC MAYORAL PRIMARY - Quinnipiac: “City Council Speaker Christine Quinn leads the pack for the Democratic nomination for New York City mayor with 25 percent, with former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner at 15 percent, followed by Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and former Comptroller William Thompson in a horse race for third place, according to a Quinnipiac University poll today....If former Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chair Joseph Lhota wins the Republican nomination for mayor, only 13 percent of voters are more likely to vote for him in the general election, while 61 percent are more likely to vote for the Democratic candidate. Quinnipiac]

AMERICANS FEEL THE EFFECT OF HIGHER TAXES - HuffPost’s Emily Swanson: “A majority of working Americans are noticing smaller paychecks after the payroll tax cut expired this year, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll -- and a majority of those specifically cited the payroll tax as the culprit. According to the new survey, 56 percent of Americans who said that they work for pay have noticed the taxes withheld from their paychecks increasing this year.” [HuffPost]

IMPEACHMENT POLL GETS THE LINKINS TREATMENT - HuffPost's Jason Linkins examines a Wenzel Strategies poll claiming to find "nearly half" of Americans ready to impeach President Obama: "[H]ow reliable is Wenzel Strategies? That's like asking, 'How reliable are these six meth-tweakers I found in a mud hole, handed a pile of tin cans and a calculator, and told that they were now a polling organization?'" [HuffPost]

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

-Pew Research pollster Michael Dimock explores why three media polls produced very different reactions to news about Justice Department subpoenas of AP reporter phone records. [Pew Research]

-Recent scandal news has done little to alter views of President Obama. [Economist/YouGov]

-Michael Catalini says, wait about two months, then check Obama's approval ratings for scandal damage. [National Journal]

-Jonathan Bernstein says Catalini is "totally wrong...we shouldn't expect some sort of delayed reaction to the current scandalmania." [Bernstein]

-Democratic pollster Mark Mellman sees the "non-scandals" having no effect. [The Hill]

-Republican pollster David Hill thinks Republicans need to reframe the IRS scandal. [The Hill]

-Republican pollster Robert Blizzard thinks the 2014 midterm elections could mirror what happened in 2006. [POS]

-Sean Trende agrees with the political scientists on presidential power, but notes that Obama supporters thought they voted for the Green Lantern. []

-John Sides and Lynn Vavreck publish their final free "e-chapter" of their book on the 2012 election. [Monkey Cage]

-Azi Paybarah assesses the impact of Anthony Weiner's entrance in the NYC mayoral race. Capital New York]

-Pew Research launches "Fact Tank" blog. [Pew Research]

-SurveyPost charts the view from AAPOR's "Twittersphere." RTI

-Stephen Colbert takes on the Census Bureau (with a guest appearance by HuffPost’s Zach Carter). [Comedy Central]