« Previous Story | Front Page | Next Story »


Dueling Kansas Governor's Polls

By Stuart Elliott
Opinion | July 31, 2014
There are now two recent polls with very contrasting results out on the Kansas Governors race. A poll from Survey USA showed the Democratic team of Paul Davis and Jill Docking with a 48-40 lead over incumbent Republican Governor Sam Brownback and Lt. Governor Jeff Coyler. Then, on Sunday a poll done by British YouGov polling firm for the New York Times and CBS News showed Brownback with 47 to 37 lead, and including leaners at 52 to 40 lead.

Naturally, this has prompted some questions. How can such divergent results, around a 20 percent swing, be explained? Which poll is most reliable?

The first thing I noticed is that the YouGov poll didn't include Libertarian candidate Keen Umbehr who draws about 5 percent of the vote in the Survey USA poll.

The NYT/CBS/YouGov poll is part of massive national poll of every Gubernatorial and Senate race in every state, with over 100,000 taking part.

Taniel at DailyKos notes

In 2012, the margin of YouGov's final polls favored Republicans by an average 5 points, including large errors in competitive races in Nevada, Wisconsin, Connecticut, and Virginia--all in the GOP's favor.
YouGov doesn't use the same random-digit dialing use by Survey USA and traditional pollsters. Instead they use a panel of respondents, who aren't random selected. In a scientifically valid poll every voter should have an equal chance of being randomly selected, making the sample representative.

Nate Cohn of the New York Times observes:
 YouGov attempts to build a large, diverse panel and then match its panelists to demographically similar respondents from the American Community Survey, an extremely rigorous probability survey conducted by the Census Bureau. This step is intended to mimic probability sampling. But it can require significant assumptions about the composition of the electorate, including partisanship. These assumptions are contestable and based on varying amounts of evidence.
Some groups tend to be underrepresented in web panels: the less educated, the less affluent, Hispanics and those over age 65. You Gov then blows up the under represented groups. So those in the subgroups in the panel, if they have unrepresentative views can skew the entire poll.

Comparing Internals/Crosstabs

Let's peer underneath the topline to understand the differences and see if there are signs that one or another poll is implausible.

 Black voters. One of the more implausible results in the YouGov poll is its claim that black voters prefer Davis by only a 53-46 margin.  There is no "race" breakdown in the latest Survey USA poll, but a November 2013 had Davis up by 65-21 margin.  I think the YouGov result  is implausible and quite likely that Davis-Docking will carry the black vote by a bigger margin.

If blacks are five percent of the electorate, the difference between a 50-50 split and a 90-10 split would be about 4 percent, about one-third of YouGov's Brownback edge.

By the way, YouGov interviewed only 31 black out of 1274, or 2.4% of the panel. In contrast blacks are estimated to have been 5 percent of the 2012 electorate.

YouGov also interviewed only 25 Hispanics.  

Women voters. Incredibly, the YouGov poll has Brownback leading Davis 50-41, while Survey USA has Davis up 51 to 35. 

A news report on an exit poll for the Kansas 2012 said that among women Obama was almost equal, while 69 percent of men favored Romney. That is a gender gap of about 20 points in 2012, compared to a YouGov gender gap of 6 and a Survey USA of 13 points.

Republicans.  YouGov, in contrast to Survey USA has Brownback doing exceptionally well with Republican voters grabbing 82 percent to only 9 for Davis. In contrast, Survey USA has Davis getting an impressive 29 percent of Republican voters, compared to only 60 percent for Brownback. It may just be a coincidence, but the Survey USA poll shows "some dudete" symbolic candidate Jennifer Winn drawing 30 percent in the Republican primary.

Independents.  YouGov shows this segment, breaking narrowly for Brownback 46 to 43, while Survey USA has Davis leading 48 to 27. (Independents are 36% of the YG panel and 24% of Survey USA.)

Senior Voters.  YouGov has Brownback leading 57-39, Survey USA has Davis on top 56-36. (65+ voters are  projected to be about 29% of voters.)

Summing up: YouGov has a historical +5 GOP bias, excluding the Libertarian candidate likely gives another +5 bias for Brownback.  Adding in the very suspicious cross tabs for blacks (and Hispanics) and women, not to mention the other categories, makes a strong case that the Survey USA poll is closer to the truth and that the Davis-Docking

Post your own comment here


Do you want to read more? You've only just scratched the surface at the Kansas Free Press. We have so much more to read! Nearly all of the pieces published here are timeless and relevant, regardless of when the articles were first published. To discover more, please take a look at our Table of Contents or go back to our Front Page.


Our sponsors help us stay online to serve you. Thank you for doing your part! By using the specific links below (clicking through from our site) to start any of your online shopping, you are making a tremendous difference. By using the shopping links provided on a Kansas Free Press page, you are directly helping to support the Kansas Free Press:



About This Page

This page contains just one story published on July 31, 2014. The one written previous to this is titled "Red State Blues--Again" and the story published right after this one is "The state of small "d" democracy in Kansas"

Our most current stories are always updated on our Front Page.

Other Archives

Interested in other topics? You may wish to poke around in our Table of Contents to find other sections and archives.

Do you want to explore pieces written by specific authors? You can find archives for KFP writers by reviewing our complete Directory of Authors and Writers here.

Recently Featured Stories

The state of small "d" democracy in Kansas

With the August 5 primary only a day away, some thoughts of the state of democracy in Kansas seem appropriate. An article in Friday's Wichita Eagle predicting  low turnout for Tuesday's primary, despite heated US Senate and House Republican …
Dueling Kansas Governor's Polls

There are now two recent polls with very contrasting results out on the Kansas Governors race. A poll from Survey USA showed the Democratic team of Paul Davis and Jill Docking with a 48-40 lead over incumbent Republican Governor …
Red State Blues--Again

Yes, here we are again. Election time around the country. Not for president, this time, but for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, as well as for state offices everywhere. For those of us who are Democrats in …
Kansas Senator Pat Roberts Re-ignites Residency Controversy

  With the Kansas primary only a month away, it  looks like Senator Pat Roberts has "Lugared" himself with what the right-wing media outlet Breitbart,com  called a "Freudian slip" in an interview on radio station KCMO and reported …
Representative Tim's bragging rights. ??

I copied and pasted from Rep. Huelskamp's news letter the following. "On Thursday afternoon, a strong bipartisan majority of the House of Representatives joined me to pass America's Small Business Tax Relief Act of 2014 (HR 4457). This needed …

News and Opinion





Get Connected

See our FB page!
Subscribe for free!
[Feeds & Readers...]
Follow Kansas Free Press on Twitter, too!
Make Kansas Free Press your home page!

Journalists, sign in.

We're reader supported!

Whenever you use the specific links below to begin any of your online shopping, a portion of your sale goes directly towards the support of this site.

Tech Depot - An Office Depot Co.


Our sponsors help us stay online to serve you. Thank you for doing your part! By using the specific links above (clicking through from our site) to start any of your online shopping, you are making a tremendous difference. By using the shopping links provided on a Kansas Free Press page, you are directly helping to support the Kansas Free Press.

Thank you for your help!

Notices & Policies

All of our Kansas Free Press journalists are delighted that you are here. We all hope that you come here often, sign in and leave us comments, and become an active part of our community. Welcome!

Our writers are credentialed after referral to, and approval by, the editor/publisher of KansasFreePress.com. If you are interested in writing with us, please feel free to let us know here. We are always looking for Kansans who want to write about Kansas!

All authors here retain their own copyrights for their original written works, original photographs and art works. They welcome others to copy, reference or quote from the content of their stories, provided that the reprints include obvious author and website attribution and links to the original page, in accordance with this publication's Creative Commons License.

Our editor primarily reviews stories for spelling, grammar, punctuation and formatting and is not liable or responsible for the opinions expressed by individual authors. The opinions and accuracy of information in the individual stories on this site are the sole responsibility of each of the individual authors. For complete site policies, including privacy, see our Frequently Asked Questions. This site is designed, maintained, and owned by its publisher, Everyday Citizen Media. The Kansas Free Press, KansasFreePress.com, and Kansas Free Press are trademarked names.

© Copyright, 2008-2012, all rights reserved, unless otherwise specified, first by the respective author, and then by KFP's publisher and owner for any otherwise unreserved and all other content.