Poll Findings by right wing Rasmussen reports, which even though it is to the right, I find this poll pretty on target, that is why I subscribe to it, while not as good as Zogby, generally pretty correct
Differences Between Polls
Full Week Tracking Update
Sept 2 Bush + 2.8 August 26 Bush + 0.3 August 19 Kerry + 1.2 August 12 Kerry + 2.8 August 5 Kerry + 1.9 RasmussenReports.com
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- September 6, 2004--We have been flooded with e-mails asking (in varying tones of politeness) why our poll results seem different from those released by Time and Newsweek.
There are two basic explanations, one involving our polling data and one involving the newsmagazines. For those who need to know the answer before the explanation, the bottom line is that the President is ahead by 4 to 5 points at this time. That's a significant improvement over the past few weeks, but not a double digit lead.
Our current poll (showing the President ahead by just over a point) includes a Saturday sample that is way out of synch with all the days before it and with the Sunday data that followed. In fact, Saturday's one-day sample showed a big day for Kerry while all the days surrounding it showed a decent lead for the President.
It seems likely that Saturday reflects a rogue sample (especially since it was over a holiday weekend). But, it remains in our 3-day rolling average for one more day (Tuesday's report). If we drop the Saturday sample from our data, Bush is currently ahead by about 4 percentage points in the Rasmussen Reports Tracking Poll.
That's still a smaller lead than shown by Time and Newsweek. Those polls appear to have the mirror image problem of a Los Angeles Times poll in June reportedly showing Kerry with a huge lead. That LA Times survey included too many Democrats in their sample. Today, it seems likely that Time and Newsweek included too many Republicans.
Time reports that Republicans will vote for Bush by an 89% to 9% margin; Democrats for Kerry by an 80% to 9% margin; and, unaffiliated voters for Bush 43% to 39%.
Four years ago, 35% of voters were Republicans, 39% were Democrats, and the rest were unaffiliated. If you apply those percentages to the Time internals, you find Bush up by about 3 percentage points. If you do the same with the Newsweek internal numbers, you find Bush with a six point lead. Those results are very close to the Rasmussen Reports data (excluding the Saturday sample).
All of this leads me to conclude that the President is currently ahead by 4 or 5 percentage points.
For those who say turnout might be different this time, I agree. It might be different. One of our great challenges between now and Election Day is to figure out how much (if at all) the turnout will change from historic norms. Partisans from both sides seem convinced that there are special circumstance that will increase turnout for their team. Others speculate that their may be a smaller number of unaffiliated voters since events of the past four years have caused people to take sides.
Whatever the turnout differences may be, they will not be big enough to match the implications of the Time and Newsweek polls.
As always, it's useful to use common sense when reviewing poll data. If a poll suggests that 10 or 20 percent of Americans are changing their mind on a regular basis, it should be viewed with caution. Most of the time, you will find that the partisan mix of the polling sample is changing more than the actual perceptions of voters.
Yesterday, we released a brief assessment of the Bush Bounce. Based upon our 7-day Tracking data (less susceptible to one-day rogue samples), it appears that the President has gained more than five points over a three week period of time. Given the Swift Boat issue and the Republican National Convention, that seems to be a reasonable measure of the shift.
During the Republican Convention week, the President's numbers improved across the board. He took the lead in the 16-Battleground States, his Job Approval ratings went up to their highest levels in six months, and the number saying the country is moving in the right direction increased to its highest level of the year.