Tag Archives: polling

GOP Nevada Caucus Results in Accusations of Polling Irregularities, Double Voting

GOP officials are reportedly looking into accusations of voting irregularities including ballot shortages and double voting, after reports of a chaotic scene unfolded during Tuesday’s Nevada Caucus.

RNC spokesman Fred Brown acknowledged that there were reports of “long lines and not enough ballots at Palo Verde High School” Tuesday night, which resulted in some voters being “turned away and directed to another location.”

In response to reports of double-voting, political reporter and commentator Jon Ralston reported that one GOP official said the party takes “reports of double voting very seriously and we will be reviewing ballots.”

[pull_quote_center]Obviously we take reports of double voting very seriously and we will be reviewing ballots. There is a master sign in and that we will be checking closely as well. In terms of running out of ballots, we were prepared for that, and more were on site in a matter or minutes. Other thing to know is because you have multiple precincts in one spot, not the entire place was in chaos, just a select few that were rushed, which contained the problems.[/pull_quote_center]

Business mogul Donald Trump was declared the winner of the Nevada Caucus, taking 45.9% of the vote.

In a rally prior to the caucus, Trump warned voters to watch out for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, claiming that he is the “single biggest liar” Trump has ever known.

“Watch out for dishonest stuff because I’ll tell you what, a lot of dishonesty with this,” Trump said. “You just gotta be careful. They have paper ballots. They have the whole deal going. So just watch out.”

Trump claimed Cruz is “the best I’ve ever seen” when it comes to lying, and then added, “Of course, really, the great liars are the ones that don’t get caught, right?”

However, many of the polling irregularities that were reported Tuesday night were in connection with Trump supporters.

Twitter user Josh Jordan posted a series of pictures of caucus-goers in Trump gear, claiming that ballots were “being tucked under envelopes,” and voters were “not being checked for ID.”

National Review reporter Elaina Plott posted on Twitter that one Nevada precinct did not have its site set up, while another precinct had “40-50 loose ballots on the table” that were put under envelopes.



Campus Reform correspondent and Marco Rubio supporter Letty Burgin posted on Twitter claiming that some of the poll workers at her precinct were wearing Trump pins and t-shirts.


According to the National Association of Secretaries of State, in the state of Nevada, electioneering activities including “wearing or displaying any badge, button or other insigne which is designed or tends to aid or promote the success or defeat of any political party or a candidate or ballot question to be voted upon at that election,” is prohibited.

In response to the accusations, the Nevada GOP claimed, “It’s not against the rules for volunteers to wear candidate gear.”
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Gallup Quits Presidential Primary Horse Race Polling, Will Continue Issue-Based Polls

Top pollster Gallup will not be conducting presidential horse race polls during the 2016 primary season and may also abandon them for the general election. Instead, the company will focus on polls that test voters’ opinions on key issues.

According to Politico, the shift in priorities follows Gallup’s poor 2012 polling performance in which its polls overestimated Mitt Romney’s level of support. Politico’s Steven Shepard characterized Gallup as “the country’s gold standard for horse-race election polling ever since its legendary founder, George Gallup, predicted Franklin Roosevelt’s landslide reelection in 1936,” emphasizing the historic nature of the company’s current transition, which comes as many top pollsters question the usefulness of modern presidential horse race polls for applications such as narrowing down the participants in presidential debates.

[RELATED: DONEGAN: If GOP Debate Stage Can Fit 11, Let Third Parties In General Election Debates]

Gallup editor-in-chief Frank Newport said that “to date” his company has decided to abandon presidential primary horse race polling for the 2016 season and it has not yet decided whether to do them for the general election. “We believe to put our time and money and brainpower into understanding the issues and priorities is where we can most have an impact,” said Newport.

The New York Times notes that Newport told a gathering of reporters and pollsters in June of 2013 that “there is something going on in the industry, and Gallup was at the bottom of that [in 2012],” referring to the changing nature of polling as voters shift from using land lines to smartphones and web technology at varying rates across different demographics.

Though Gallup is reportedly beginning to experiment with internet and smartphone-based polling, questions remain about the effectiveness of such methods. Consequently, Newport said that for this election cycle the focus will be on “understanding where the public stands on the issues of the day, how they are reacting to the proposals put forth by the candidates, what it is they want the candidates to do, and what messages or images of the candidates are seeping into the public’s consciousness.

Pew Research Center also appears to be shifting away from horse race polling, as the nonprofit pollster has not conducted a traditional horse race poll so far during this presidential cycle. Carroll Doherty, director of political research at Pew Research Center, confirmed the change and said, “We’re not going to track the horse race in the same way we have in the past.

Rutgers professor and former American Association for Public Opinion Research president Cliff Zukin told Politico, “In this case, the problem is both cause and effect. The difficulty in doing this well has caused major players to not participate. That means there’s even less legitimacy [in presidential horse race polling] because people who know how to do this right aren’t doing it.

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Pollsters Criticize Use of Polling Minimums to Exclude Candidates from Debates

Amid widespread dispute over the usefulness of polling in determining who should be allowed to appear in presidential debates, a survey of top pollsters suggests that some leading professionals in the polling industry believe that their product is not an effective tool for that purpose.

The issue of minimum polling requirements being used as a qualifier for debates is currently causing significant controversy in both major political parties’ primaries, as both of them now use ever-changing polling minimums to narrow down the number of candidates throughout the election cycle, and in the general election, in which the Republican and Democrat controlled Commission on Presidential Debates requires independent candidates to meet a nigh-impossible 15 percent minimum threshold of support in national polls.

Politico conducted a survey of the opinions of top pollsters and found that many of them believe that public opinion polls lack the precision to measure the small-scale changes in support that determine the rankings between candidates.

Rutgers University professor and former president of the American Association for Public Opinion Research said, “Polls are being used to do a job that they’re really not intended for — and they’re not as qualified for as they used to be. It’s like asking a scale that can only tell pounds to measure ounces. They’re just not that finely calibrated. … I think polls can do a good job talking about tiers of candidates in name recognition. That’s all that polls can do. But they can’t tell the difference between Bobby Jindal, who’s not in the [Republican primary] debate, and Chris Christie, who is.

Pew Research Center associate director Jocelyn Kiley cautioned, “These numbers all have a margin of error around them. We try very hard, as do most of our colleagues in the field, to make clear when there are significant differences and when there aren’t.

In a packed Republican primary, the differences between the amounts of support obtained by, for example, a fourth place candidate and a sixth place candidate often fall within the survey’s margin of error.

[RELATED: DONEGAN: If GOP Debate Stage Can Fit 11, Let Third Parties In General Election Debates]

Worse still, some otherwise-eligible candidates are not included in nationwide polls in the first place. Presidential Debate News notes that Democratic presidential candidate and Harvard Law School professor Larry Lessig is on pace to be excluded from CNN’s October 13 Democratic presidential debate due to the fact that he has not obtained at least 1 percent support in a specific set of polls that do not include him as a response. Lessig did garner 1 percent support in a September Public Policy Polling survey that is not included in the Democratic National Committee’s list of qualified polls.

Politico’s Steven Shepard pointed out the fact that Senator Rand Paul’s ability to qualify for CNBC’s upcoming October 28 Republican presidential debate hangs in the balance over a statistically-insignificant “0.25 percent — essentially, a matter of two respondents in all the [qualified] polls put together.

[RELATED: Petition: A Joint Town Hall with Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders]

Marist College Institute for Public Opinion director Lee Miringoff suspended GOP polling in advance of Fox News’ first Republican presidential debate of the season in protest as he objected to excluding candidates on the basis of early polls. “It’s a problem when it’s shaping who gets to sit at the table,” Miringoff told Politico.

The issue is particularly alienating for independent voters, who are forced through taxation to fund the primaries of the Democratic and Republican parties. The top two parties’ nominees automatically qualify for general election presidential debates. However, independent candidates must obtain 15 percent support in nationwide polls to qualify for participation in presidential debates, fifteen times the level of support required for entry-level qualifications for many Democratic and Republican party presidential primary contests. That minimum 15 percent requirement effectively blocks independents, like Green and Libertarian Party candidates who lack the wealth to promote themselves to celebrity status but who sometimes qualify for nationwide ballot access, from appearing in even one presidential debate, preventing them from having an opportunity to share their platforms with voters.

For context, the Truth in Media Project released a Consider This video earlier this year highlighting the fact that independent voters now outnumber Republicans and Democrats. Watch it in the below-embedded video player.