VPR rolled out its latest poll today, conducted by the Castleton Polling Institute. I dutifully pored over the results, about which more later. But for now, one simple stupid thing.
There was an impressive array of questions about issues of concern, Vermonters’ impressions of candidates, how they feel about the presidential election…
… but nothing about voter preferences on the August primary races. No head-to-head numbers. No question asking “If the primary were today, who would you vote for?”
(Or, “for whom would you vote” if you insist.)
So I Tweeted an inquiry and got the following, stupefying response.
— Vermont Edition (@vermontedition) July 27, 2016
“We didn’t do a head-to-head.”
As in, “We didn’t ask the question that would be foremost on the minds of those who care about the polls.”
Double-u Tee Eff.
The question was further aired during “Vermont Edition.” Pollster Rich Clark said that the primary electorate is too small and unpredictable. With no real idea how many people will vote and who’s more likely to show up, “We’d need a much larger sample size” to get accurate results, he explained.
Well, shit, folks. VPR and Clark did a poll back in February and they asked for voters’ preferences for governor and Lite-Guv. Why was it okay months ago, but not okay immediately before the primary? Wouldn’t this poll be at least as accurate as its predecessor?
I accept the idea that the results would be particularly iffy, but reading poll results is always an exercise in camel-swallowing. Now you’re straining out a gnat?
And even if the results were only rough indications of voter sentiment, to be taken with a truckload of salt, isn’t it better than nothing?
VPR is the only media outlet that’s paid for an opinion poll so far this year. This is the only available window onto the mood of the electorate.
And they didn’t ask the respondents how they plan to vote for governor.
This may go down in the headlines as “the poll that didn’t ask the biggest question.”
The Things. You Say.