No doubt I like the results of SurveyUSA’s post-debate poll of Washington state voters better than that of the first debate, but it still strikes me as a load of bullshit. Two weeks ago SurveyUSA told us that WA bucked the national trend, with respondents giving McCain a narrow 40%-38% edge on the question of who won the first debate. After the second presidential debate we’re told that Washingtonians mirrored their national counterparts, handing Obama a decisive 54%-29% victory.
My problem though is not with the results—I suppose either represents a believable margin—but rather with the sample, which seems to indicate Washington’s citizens are by far the most politically engaged in the nation, with over 63% of WA adults supposedly watching the first debate, and now a stunning 74% of those interviewed claiming to have watched the second.
Wow. That would be astounding, if true. But unfortunately for SurveyUSA, Neilsen, whose business it is to measure TV viewership, reports that only about a third of WA households were tuned into the debate last night, up from about 30% for the first contest. And once again the Seattle-Tacoma market ranks amongst the lowest top-55 markets in the nation.
Of course, Neilsen and SurveyUSA aren’t quite measuring the same thing, but when you look at the rough math I did last time around, it’s clear that these two sets of conflicting results can’t possibly mesh.
Not that this means anything, but it does make one wonder about the dataset for SurveyUSA’s other polls.