Another poll has been released today in the race between Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and real estate tycoon-turned-perennial-candidate Dino Rossi (R). The FOX News poll taken on 30 October on 1,000 likely Washington voters (for a 3% MOE) has Patty Murray leading Rossi 49% to 47%.
That’s very interesting, because earlier today, I reported on a Public Policy Polling poll that had Rossi in the lead by +2%. Both were robopolls.
My usual Monte Carlo analysis of this poll has Murray wining 671,871 times, whereas Rossi wins 319,994 times. In other words, this poll alone gives Murray a 67.7% probability of winning to Rossi’s 32.3% chance.
Combining the last seven polls—all taken over the past two weeks—gives a total of 6,371 “votes” to work with. Of these, Murray received 3,073 (48.2%) of “votes” and Rossi received 3,052 (47.9%). The Monte Carlo analysis has Murray winning 568,596 simulated elections to Rossi’s 427,966 wins. That is, the polls support a Murray victory by 57.1% and a Rossi victory by 42.9%.
The result is close! Neither analysis presented here can be considered outside the margin of error. Here is, what I believe is, the final graph for this race: the last couple of months of polling results:
Make of it what you will. The polls say it is a tie or a very small Murray victory. So what do I think will really happen tomorrow? First, let me state that I obviously want Murray to win. Even so, in my professional life, I am a scientist, and evidence is exceedingly important to me, even if it goes against my desires or pet theories. So here goes….
As I outlined at the end of this post there is a discrepancy between live interview polls and robopolls in the Washington Senate race that has also been seen nationally. I offered an explanation (i.e. a theory) as to why the discrepancy exists. It all leads me to believe that robopolls are systematically underestimating Murray’s performance in this race. If the theory is correct, I expect Murray to come away with about a +5% advantage over Rossi after all the votes are counted. But I concede that tomorrow night, reality will confront theory.
Reality always wins.