By Sam Hall, Clarion Ledger, May 30, 2014
A poll released today by Chism Strategies has GOP primary challenger Chris McDaniel leading incumbent U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran by 2 percentage points.
The lead — 46.4 to 44.3 percent — is within the poll’s 3.4 percent margin of error. It was conducted by Chism Strategies, which is owned by Democratic pollster Brad Chism. Chism is based in Mississippi but has done extensive work across the country. He said he is not working for any candidate associated with this race; however, Chism did work with Travis Childers during his 2008 and 2010 Congressional races.
Here’s what Chism said in his polling memo:
McDaniel’s numbers have recovered after the initial drop in the wake of the arrests of campaign supporters.
Our earlier tracking surveys showed McDaniel leading Cochran within the margin of error before the scandal broke.
Chism said the race is too close to call.
An earlier poll from Harper Polling showed Cochran with a 5-point lead on McDaniel, but the overall results were clearly more encouraging for the challenger than the incumbent.
I’m going through the crosstabs now and will update soon.
UPDATE: The poll is weighted according to the following stats:
The sample is 92% Caucasian. The initial survey tabulations over sample women and older voters. We adjusted for anticipated turnout of 52% women, votes under age 45 at 21% voters; age 45 to 54 at 20%; voters age 55 to 64 at 23% and voters ages 65+ at 36%. The weighted candidate support total at the top of this page reflects these percentages.
The survey was conducted Thursday night and includes 813 respondents. All respondents were from landline phones.
One likely knock on the survey — at least from Cochran supporters — will be that it was conducted by a Democratic pollster. Here’s his methodology for selecting the sample:
These surveys have a three part screen for GOP primary voter participation. We surveyed only phone households with a voter participating in all three of the 2008, 2010 and 2012 GOP primaries. We asked each participant to self identify partisanship and excluded all Democrats and lean-Democrats. We then screened for probability of voting in the GOP June primary.
Looking at unweighted results, Cochran leads McDaniel 48 to 42 percent. However, the unweighted sample includes 69 percent who are 65 years or older.
To consider that 69 percent of Tuesday’s voters will be 65 years or older is out of line, I think to assume that age group will make up only 36 percent of those voting is too low.
When you compare this poll to the earlier Harper Polling survey, what you get is one poll where Cochran has a small lead with a sample that skews a little old and another survey where McDaniel has an even smaller lead with a sample that skews too young.
Cochran probably has a slight lead, but this race is extremely close. It’s going to come down to turn out efforts. Cochran has a team who knows how to turn out votes (I’m looking at the field teams of Gov. Phil Bryant and U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper — best in the state for both parties). McDaniel has a fired up and excited grassroots movement that feels their man has been slighted by the establishment.
This is going to be fun!