Another survey sparks debate about polling company
A new survey from the left-leaning Public Policy Polling shows high approval for Gov. Susana Martinez, but not nearly as high as a Republican poll shows, so its Tuesday release sparked another debate about PPP’s work.
Martinez’s approval in the PPP poll was 50 percent, while 39 percent said they disapprove of the job she’s doing – down only slightly from June, when she polled at 52/37.
The survey of 500 New Mexico voters was conducted from Dec. 11-13 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percent.
“Susana Martinez continues to have some of the most impressive approval numbers in the country. We find 50% of voters approving of her to 39% who disapprove. She’s only of only 11 Governors PPP has found this year with an approval at 50% or higher, and she’s the most popular out of the new Republican Governors elected last fall that we’ve polled on.
“What makes Martinez’s numbers so noteworthy is that she’s doing it as a Republican in a state that voted for Barack Obama by 15 points in 2008 and appears ready to do so again next year. In addition to universal support from Republicans, an unusually high 32% of Democrats give her good marks and independents approve of her by a 48/38 margin as well.”
GOP fires back
On Monday, the Republican firm Public Opinion Strategies released a poll showing Martinez’s approval at 65, with 29 percent disapproving of the job she’s doing.
So the state GOP was ready to fire when PPP came out with its poll on Tuesday:
“PPP admits that it was founded to conduct ‘free’ polls and then promote them in the media to ‘counter Republicans.’ Unlike credible polling firms on both sides of the aisle, the goal of PPP’s robocall polls is not to accurately measure public opinion, but rather to create public opinion against Republicans.
“This year, PPP has consistently skewed approval rating surveys against Republican Governors across the country to create unfavorable media stories in their states.
“This is clearly demonstrated by comparing the approval ratings of GOP governors in PPP polls with their approval ratings in other polls, including independent public and media polls.
“While every poll has a margin of error of a few points, PPP has reported Republican approval ratings as much as 28 points lower than other surveys done at the same time.”
The GOP released a chart you can view here that shows recent polling in seven states in which another survey (sometimes a Republican poll, sometimes a university poll) found the GOP governor more popular than did the PPP survey.
From the GOP news release:
“How does PPP perpetrate the fraud? Aside from using cheap robocall methodology, one blatant tactic has been to include more Democrat voters in their approval polls than is representative of the state.
“Ironically, whenever PPP’s numbers are challenged, they point to the accuracy of their surveys done before the elections in the respective state. But those pre-election polls are conducted using completely different samples.
“In each of these states, PPP has significantly and indefensibly shifted the survey samples to include more Democrat voters in their job approval polls than in their election polls. Not surprisingly, the polls produce the type of anti-Republican numbers PPP is looking for.”
Twitter debate ensues
I asked PPP to respond via Twitter. That sparked another public debate about PPP surveys.
“Bill Richardson said all sorts of insulting stuff about us last year too,” PPP said in one tweet, then followed it up with “New Mexico just has unusually whiny Governor’s staffs I guess, we don’t get this in other states,” and “Governor Martinez is popular across the spectrum of our polling, we don’t have any Governor with an approval over 60%.”
State GOP Executive Director Bryan Watkins tweeted to PPP, “we understand that you under sampled ind and GOP voters again where reputable firms have these numbers on pace with a bad GOP year.” But Matt Reichbach, a former colleague of mine at The New Mexico Independent, tweeted that he was “Trying to figure out if the NM GOP doesn’t understand polling or just hopes reporters who get the press release don’t.”
Then he explained his three-point disagreement with the GOP: In one tweet, “1) Referring to ‘cheap robocall methodology’ 2) Not mentioning difference in samples is from likely voters to registered voters,” and in another, “3) Say PPP is slanted against GOP but tend to be within range of other polls (http://bit.ly/uCF5jS).”
2012 will be fascinating
At any rate, you can read more on the debate about PPP from an article I posted earlier in the week.
The bottom line? New Mexico’s Republican governor remains popular in a swing state where the Democratic president also remains reasonably popular. Headed into a presidential election year, that makes New Mexico unique. 2012 is going to be fascinating.
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