Monday, June 23, 2014

Predicting Mississippi

I have a certain interest in Mississippi's U.S. Senate race. I worked for a couple of years as a reporter there -- my first job -- and met the incumbent once or twice. There's no need for me to repeat how interesting this runoff race is, with Sen. Thad Cochran facing Tea Party candidate Chris McDaniel for the Republican nomination (and basically, the office).

McDaniel is considered the favorite and a new poll reinforces that belief. The robo-poll has McDaniel ahead 52-44 percent, with 4 percent undecided. But hold on. This is a robo-poll, and those tend to lean right (inflating McDaniel's numbers), but they also tend to lean older (inflating Cochran's numbers). There's a 3.8 percent margin of error. At least in the news story I can't see any other poll details, but let's assume it's of likely Republican runoff voters. I can't see if the data were weighted in any fashion, especially to take into account no cell phones being called. Even so, it doesn't look good for Cochran, who is unlikely to convince enough black Democratic voters who did not vote in the earlier primary to get out and vote for him, a Republican.

Yes, stranger things have happened. That's why you play the game, or have the election. It's going to be a fun Tuesday evening.

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