I wish Nate Silver would do seminars teaching journalists how to report polls beyond just cutting and pasting the results.

Today, the Columbus Dispatch reported on a poll reported in the D.C. political paper, The Hill, which reportedly shows bank lobbyist Steve Stivers sitting on a nine-point lead over freshman Democratic Congresswoman Mary Jo Kilroy.  Incidentially, the poll was funded by the American Natural Gas Alliance.  No, I don’t what to make of that, either.

But I know that the poll has a fundamental flaw.  Like most of the polling we’ve seen in Ohio this year, it failed to include third-party candidates.  In this particular instance, that could be enough to cut Stivers’ lead entirely.

One of the most underreported facts about the 2008 race was the entire results:

image

Everyone was so preoccupied with reporting the vote margin, that most have simply overlooked that the two third-party candidates, both of whom ran to the right of Stivers, took…

roughly 9% of the vote from Stivers.

In other words, when you look at 2008 results, if you assume that the votes for the Libertarian and pro-life/social conservative independent candidates went mostly to Stivers (which is not that unreasonable of an assumption since you’d be hard pressed to believed they’d vote for Kilroy in any significant numbers given the obvious ideological differences) what would have happened?

Stivers would have won in 2008 by the same margin shown in today’s Hill poll but for two other right wing candidates in the race.

Oh, and did I mention that this year the Libertarian and the Constitution Party both have candidates in this race running to the right of Stivers?

Are you starting to see why this Hill poll’s failure to include them might be a BFD?

Let’s not forget that back in July the Dispatch noted that the Libertarian candidate in the nearby 12th District race was polling between 5% to 10% in that race, too.

Just something to keep your eye on Election night.  A poll that leaves out half the candidates in a race which recent history has shown has affected the outcome is fundamentally flawed and cannot be believed.

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  • David Ryon

    The poll numbers from the Hill are flawed. These polls fail to include myself, William Kammerer and Bill Buckel. As the real constitutional conservative/tea party candidate in the race and only 100% pro-life candidate, I will be a force in this election. Stivers supporters have sent me e-mails accusing me of handing this race to Kilroy which is a red herring. Steve Stivers the Cowardly RINO is the real problem not me. Conservatives in Ohio’s 15th congressional district know the real constitutional conservative/tea party candidate is me.

    GOTO Project Vote Smart and compare your beliefs with the candidates: http://www.votesmart.org/voteeasy/#/state=oh&district=15

    David Ryon
    2010 Constitution Party Nominee
    Ohio’s 15th Congressional District

    Ryon for Congress Committee
    5035 Magnolia Blossom Blvd.
    Columbus, Ohio 43230-4068
    Phone: 614.890.1362
    http://www.RyonforCongress.com

  • Anonymous

    You were just the candidate I had in mind when I wrote this post.

  • Anonymous

    I can figure out this one. Those big contributors like the American Natural Gas Alliance wanted to see how much to give Stivers since he is anti-environment (Kilroy has the endorsement of the Sierra Club). According to an article in the Wall Street Journal (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123552499920765485.html), the American Natural Gas Alliance is a lobbying group. The Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/02/natural-gas-critics-raisi_n_666818.html) has a story about how the American Natural Gas Alliance has spent $1.6 million trying to stop legislation banning “hydraulic fracturing” and since Stivers is anti-environment and thinks that global warming is a myth…… You get the picture.

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