Open Letter to Gov. Christie and Supporting Pundits

OK, Governor Christie and supporting pundits,

I have always viewed Christie’s street cred as that he is a straight shooter- willing to say the hard things so people don’t get the wrong impression.

Christie and his surrogates are pointing to his success against Bouno as indicative of future success in 2016 for a Republican like him that offers the willingness to compromise with Democrats as someone actually capable of beating the future Democratic nominee for President.

Where Christie moves away from his straight-shooting is when he moves from official election results and into the musings of the 2013 NJ Exit Poll results in relation to Republican’s perspectives for 2016. Anyone wanting to use 2013 NJ Exit Polling answers to discuss potential for 2016, need to start with the only question on the exit poll that mentions 2016 and once they have exhausted that question, and only if there is any time left, there could be extra credit discussion about how a large national known current governor that got the support of his party and had just gotten billions of federal dollars in aid for his state was able to be considered preferable to most NJ voters as compared to a relatively unknown contender that did not get serious support from her party.

Some might argue that the Exit poll question about a 2016 matchup with Clinton was only hypothetical and thus the respondents answers to it were less serious and thoughtful than their answers about who they voted for. Because only 4% omitted an answer, it would seem that those that finished the survey were serious enough to give an honest answer. Therefore, the question is not disqualified.

Based on that question NOT being disqualified, then it needs to be the first question and set of responses for those wanting to discuss Christie’s potential performance for 2016. They can point to the top level number that indicates Christie get 44% vs Clinton’s 48% which is clearly better than Romeny’s 41% vs Obama’s 58%. But in comparison to the Romney performance, it must be noted that the NJ data for the 2013 governor election compared to the 2012 presidential- it had 40% fewer total voters, 4% fewer Democrats, voters <$30K per family dropped from 15% of voters to 9%. All of these factors could potentially point to the 2013 Christie/Clinton question actually overestimating a Republican’s performance because the electorate is more Republican and independent with significant fewer lower income voters than in a presidential year.

Where the pundit discussion of the Exit Poll results goes completely off the rails is in the discussion of gender and racial demographics. That is because the respondents to the Exit Poll were much more likely to indicate a preference for Clinton over Christie as compared to Bouno over Christie if they identified as Hispanic or Black. This information was NOT provided in the base poll information distributed to the media. It was only obtained by citizen curiosity and NOT by curiosity of political reporters and pundits that are supposed to be paid to be curious and to eek out the best information available instead of just droning out talking point factoids that are clearly less illustrative of the currently measurable NJ voter preference for 2016.

I was able to coax the NYT to give me the data on the racial crosstab for the Clinton question. I followed that up with a request for the gender crosstab but have not been given a response back from the NYT.

It seems the Romney team admits its polling assessment team was using skewed results and that contributed to them not knowing which states they were on track to win and lose. We don’t need to start the 2016 cycle with using skewed factoids about comparison to Bouno when factoids about comparison to Clinton exist and we do not want skewed factoid to set Republicans up for a repeat of polling failure.

Good GOTV is totally dependent on good polling. What we really might want is a Nate Silver clone that wants a Republican to win. Even if we don’t get the Nate Silver clone, we need to be candid and not rely on factoids that we know misrepresents the situation.

For 2012, I found that Purple Strategies was the closest thing to useful polling for Republicans. (and I don’t work for them nor any other polling firm nor any politician).


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