Is Texas Truly A Battleground State?
A new Presidential poll from the Washington Post has Texas in the tossup category, with Clinton leading Trump by one point in the Lone Star State.
I don't believe it for a nanosecond. Here's why:
"The survey of all 50 states is the largest sample ever undertaken by The Post, which joined with SurveyMonkey and its online polling resources to produce the results."
SurveyMonkey?! The people who do customer satisfaction surveys? Wow. How easy is that to manipulate?! And get this, from the Post's explanation:
"The new poll was conducted online as part of SurveyMonkey’s 2016 Election Tracking project, which recruits respondents from the large number people who take polls on the company’s do-it-yourself survey platform, roughly three million each day."
That's a very limited universe for sure. It's not exactly a representative sample of people who are actually registered to vote.
Polling has become more challenging as technology changes. In the old days, everyone had a land line phone and pollsters called the people who were likely to vote, asked them who they were voting for and that's it. A voter list was easy to come by.
Now that land lines are receding in prevalence, confusion reigns. Polling by cell phones and email leave the process open to shenanigans.
The article also touted larger sample sizes, claiming the more people they talk to, the more accurate the poll. The margin of error is reduced. This is generally the case but not more accurate by leaps and bounds. It's more like tenths of a percent more accurate. As I was told there would be no math, read more about sampling size arithmetic here.
Meanwhile, another poll has come out showing Trump ahead of Clinton. That poll "was conducted via landlines and cellphones from Sept. 1-4, surveying 1,001 adults with an overall margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, including 886 registered voters and 786 likely voters."
Using landlines skewers the total older, but that's okay: older Americans tend to be the most chronic kind of voters at the polling station.
A Fox News Poll released late last week showed Clinton ahead of Trump but Hillary's lead is nowhere near what it was.
There are reports, such as this one from the McClatchy News Service, which are touting these results. Still, columnist Elizabeth Koh points out, "Texas has not elected a single Democrat to statewide office in more than 20 years — the only Democrat to currently hold a statewide office changed his affiliation from Republican to Democrat after winning his seat on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals."
How this situation could change to allow Hillary Clinton to win the state is probably wishful thinking. Nobody can predict these as accurately with complete consistency each week. It all comes down to turnout on Election Day.