More on the Star Tribune

More on the Star Tribune Minnesota Poll: Today’s Star Tribune Minnesota Poll Mondale/Coleman results are reported in the long story by Patricia Lopez that we link to below in our first post today. That story refers repeatedly to the poll results as representing the views of “likely voters.” So do several captions on the Star Tribune’s graphic representations of the poll results. As we have explained previously, however, this description is highly misleading, if not false.
The fine print regarding how the poll was conducted is carried in a sidebar on page A15 of the paper under the heading “How the poll was conducted.” Today’s Minnesota Poll is based on a sample that included 915 respondents.
Here is the critical information: “The sample first was weighted to take into account unequal probability of selection from sampling: Weighting accounts for the number of telephone lines in a sampled household and the number of adults in the household. It also is weighted on certain demographic characteristics, including gender, age and education based on the 2000 census of the adult population, and on geography. It is assumed to be representative of adults in all English-speaking Minnesota households, within the margin of sampling error. The results also were weighted to account for likelihood to vote.
“Researchers modeled the likely electorate for the general election using four questions: past voting history, current registration status, interest in the election, and self-professed probability of voting. Summing the responses to those questions produced an 8-point index. Respondents were weighted according to their scores on the index. Those most likely to vote (registered, voted in ’98, definitely will vote, high interest) were assigned larger weights and those least likely to vote (not registered, didn’t vote in ’98, won’t vote and low interest) received smaller weights. Assignments are based on formulas verified in past elections. This model suggests a turnout of 60.2 percent of the voting age population, higher than estimates in June, September and October. In the last comparable election (U.S. Senate and governor in a non-presidential year, 1994) the turnout was 53.4 percent. However, in 1998, a gubernatorial-only election, 60.5 percent of the eligible adults turned out.”
As of the Star Tribune’s last Wellstone/Coleman poll, the Star Tribune was projecting a turnout of slightly over 55 percent. It appears that in addition to the usual adjustments made by the Minnesota Poll, today’s higher projection pads the Mondale lead reported by the Star Tribune Minnesota Poll.


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