Yesterday evening, I noted that a Survey USA today poll had Democrat Tim Kaine leading Republican Jerry Kilgore by 9 points. However, Survey USA added some caveats about its poll that call the 9 point spread into question, to say the least:
Interviews in the Virginia governor’s race conducted by SurveyUSA tonight Monday 11/7 (but before President Bush appeared in Richmond) show a swing back towards Republican candidate Jerry Kilgore, causing SurveyUSA to now update its final projection in the Virginia Governor’s Contest. This morning, based on interviews conducted Friday, Saturday and Sunday (11/4/05 through 11/6/05), SurveyUSA released data that showed Democrat Tim Kaine 9 points ahead of Kilgore. However, because of intra-day volatility in that data, SurveyUSA continued to poll throughout the afternoon and evening today Monday 11/7. When interviews from the most recent 3 days — Saturday, Sunday and today Monday — are averaged, Kaine’s lead shrinks now to 5 points. When interviews from just the past two days — Sunday and today Monday — are averaged, the contest is closer yet. When interviews from Monday only are considered, the contest is tied, but the Margin of Sampling error from just the one day of interviewing is high enough, and the results aberrant enough, that SurveyUSA is uncomfortable reporting just Monday-only data. For the record, SurveyUSA goes into the clubhouse with its final projection (based on Saturday, Sunday and Monday polling): Kaine 50%, Kilgore 45%. A closer outcome still is possible.
The Kilgore camp notes that “polls taken over weekends are typically discounted because they are not an accurate representation of the views of the electorate,” and concludes that the Survey USA poll “should not have been taken seriously.”
The poll that counts is now underway, so we’ll soon know who Virginians really want to be their governor.