Q&A of the Day – Florida’s Political Polling 

Today’s entry: @brianmuddradio Something is up with these polls Brian!!!! Decker just told you Rubio is a lock now they’re saying there are polls showing them tied?! In a mid term with this inflation??????!!!! No freakin way brother, no way! 

Bottom Line: I hear you and understand. And your instincts are right here. One of the oldest, laziest methods of reporting is to take a one-off poll and report it at face value as though it represents “news”. It’s nothing new but has been increasingly pervasive this midterm cycle in Florida thus far. And that’s predominantly for one reason. There’s less of it being conducted, and even less that’s been conducted that’s being reported. You’d suspect with Florida’s primary day being under two weeks away – with many motivated voters having already cast their ballots – that there would be a steady stream of polling. That has typically been the norm. Well, not this year. Why? Two reasons. And they’re the primary reasons why polls are conducted in the first place. There are fewer anticipated close races in Florida this year – leading to fewer politicos and pollsters paying to have polls conducted in Florida and...far fewer that have been conducted are being publicly released.  

Democrats have been the most likely to conduct internal/partisan polling thus far this cycle, in large part due to democrats having more, and higher profile primary races, than republicans. You’ve seldom heard these internal polls released. That’s for one big reason. They generally haven’t been favorable for Democrats. The reason politicos release internal polls is two-fold. Get news media types to write stories that create favorable coverage of their campaigns and for fundraising purposes. Florida’s Democrats have been struggling to say the least this cycle. Because of the historical trends in play within this state – including Republicans holding a voter registration advantage for the first time ever, Democrats have had their hardest time fundraising yet. While money has been pouring in from leftist interest groups in tight races across the country, that money hasn’t been flowing for Florida’s Democrats. The rare, released statewide polls these days have been designed to show donors there’s hope in key Florida races this year. And that takes us to the context of the polls you’re referencing.  

Democrat polling firm Clarity Campaign Labs recently conducted a poll paid for by two leftist interest groups. Florida Watch and Progress Florida. And the publicly released and subsequently reported on results? In the Governor’s race:  

  • DeSantis +6 vs Fried – 49% to 43% 
  • DeSantis +3 vs Crist – 47% to 44% 

This was worthy of the public release in their view for two reasons. First, it shows what appear to be closer races than many have perceived. Second, the poll shows DeSantis under 50% against both candidates – indicating that he’s vulnerable. This netted the predictable, desired results. Headlines like this... 

Misson accomplished by the pollster regarding the governor’s race. That might attract a few extra donors to that race. And then there’s the race you referenced, the senate race. The survey said... 

  •  Demings 45% - Rubio 45% 

Well, that’s as good as gold for the objective of this exercise. That netted headlines lines this... 

If anything is bound to get the gravy train flowing into the Demings campaign it’s that one, right? Now, here’s the thing. And once again it’s a big one. The track record of this pollster – which has not been accounted for in any story I’ve found on the survey results. The track record of this pollster is among the worst in the business. Their historical accuracy with their final polls for election day is a paltry 54%. Meaning their results are essentially no better than flipping a coin. And what’s their average margin of error historically? Their average miss is by 4.4% in favor of Democrats. That’s the context which should be provided with any news entity who deems the poll worthy of reporting on. That’s the difference between doing the research required to provide real reporting and lazy reporting. So, in reality, if we applied their average miss to the outcomes in their polling, DeSantis would be showing leads of over 7% against Crist, and double digits against Fried and Rubio would be showing a 4.4% lead. So, to echo your words. No freakin way brother. You’re right.  

Each day I feature a listener question sent by one of these methods.  

Email: brianmudd@iheartmedia.com  

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