My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


Nothing To See Here

The Denver Post, in conjunction with Mason-Dixon Polling, put out a new poll today. In it, Dem. Bill Ritter is ahead of Rep. Bob Beauprez in the Governor's race by a margin of 42%-35%.

Not good news, but not really much news here at all, it turns out.

In the first place, the margin of error is plus or minus 4%. That, for the non-statisticians out there, is a pretty big margin of error. To put that in terms that might be easier to grasp, imagine if somebody said Todd Helton's batting average was .300, plus or minus 4%. In other words, Helton's average could be .260, or it could also be .340.

Think that makes a difference? Ask a sports agent if there's a difference between a .340 hitter and a .260 hitter.

So, back to the poll, what that really means is that Beauprez is polling right now somewhere between 31 and 39%, while Ritter is between 38 and 46%. Statistically, this poll shows nothing except that this race is close right now.

Secondly, look at the internal numbers a bit: polling sample of 36% Dem, 40% Rep, and 24% Ind. Current actual voter registration numbers are 30% Dem, 36% Rep, and 34% Ind. (Note: I tried to find voter turnout numbers by party affiliation for the past couple elections, but could not find that anywhere. A link, if you know one, would be much appreciated).

Now, while that looks like both parties got over-sampled (and that would be true), it does skew a little towards the Democrats: they were over-sampled by 20%, while the GOP was oversampled by just 10%. Admittedly, not enough to want to throw the whole thing out, but certainly enough to make you wonder.

And, lastly, the really interesting thing that shows up in this poll is the little detail that Bill Ritter, past District Attorney of the largest city in the state, is an unknown to 25% of all voters in the state. That strikes me as an awfully high number for someone who has less than four months until the election--maybe he should ask John Kerry for some advice about introducing himself to the voters.

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