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Now that results show Clinton no longer ahead of Trump, Reuters is tinkering with its survey

by | Jul 29, 2016

By Dave Andrusko

reuterslogo03reWe’ve thoroughly covered the presidential surveys going back months. As NRL News Today wrote the other day, Reuters/Ipsos’s polls have consistently shown far more support for pro-abortion Hillary Clinton than for Donald Trump than have the other major polls.

Then, instead of being behind by as many as 12, points Trump took a two point lead earlier this week. There always had to be a reason for the discrepancy and a way (once it was found) to turn it into a plus for Mrs. Clinton.

In a story published today, Reuters attributed the “apparent skew” to having offered interviewees the “neither/other” option, according to reporter Maurice Tamman.

Given the choice, a relatively large group of voters opted for “Neither/Other” candidate compared with other major polls, leading to an underreporting of several percentage points for one or other of the two major contenders at times in the race.

So, Tamman tells us, Reuters is eliminating “neither.”

Reuters says this hurt Trump before the Republican convention—by “3 to 5 percentage points.” Now, we’re told it hurt Clinton leading up the Democratic convention—by “2 to 4 percentage points.”

I’m no pollster but I find the following explanation curious:

Tom W. Smith, director of the Center for the Study of Politics and Society at the University of Chicago, said the earlier Trump numbers in the Reuters/Ipsos poll could have indicated a softness of support for Trump among a relatively small group of conservative voters who had yet to come to terms with his candidacy.

It is plausible that a similar effect among Democratic voters may be hitting Clinton now when presented with the option of “Neither,” he said.

Going back a month or two (and I ask this sincerely), did polls indicate as many Democrats chose “neither” rather than Clinton as Republicans chose “neither” rather than Trump? If not, the “softness” factor would have hurt Trump considerably more than Clinton.

Reuters concludes by telling us that Clinton has assumed a 4 point lead when Reuters eliminating the “neither” option.

Which leaves us with two questions and the results of another poll for comparison.

Is the Reuters/Ipsos poll still weighted towards Democrats? And isn’t it true that when Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Green are included the 4 (or 5) point Clinton advantage disappears?

How does this stack up with the results of the daily USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Daybreak survey, which finds Trump with a 6.1 point lead—46.7 to 40.6%–this after three-days of the Democratic convention?

Categories: Politics Polling