Times polls on Kerry, war *

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After Bush's pollster complained, Mickey Kaus went right to Los Angeles Times Poll director Susan Pinkus for an explanation of this morning's story that has Kerry ahead by 7 points nationally. The Bush camp doesn't believe it (or is spinning, as political campaigns do) and argues the random polling phone calls picked up too many Democrats. In national polls of registered and likely voters, more respondents call themselves Democrats than Republicans; but Bush's Matt Dowd says the poll overcounted Democrats by 10 to 12 points. In any case, the last Gallup poll also showed Kerry leading nationally by similar numbers. Writes Kaus:

The party breakdown in the LAT poll was 38% Democratic, 25% Republican, 24% Independent. That's about the same as the 38/19/26 breakdown of a year ago, but it's a big increase in Democrats since March of this year, when they were only 33 percent of the sample. Pinkus argues her latest numbers are not that different from an ABC poll that she said showed Democrats with a 37/27 percent edge. And she says her overall horse-race result isn't much different from the latest Gallup poll, which had Kerry up 6 in a three-way race. (That was among "likely" voters. The Times surveyed "registered" voters--and Gallup only had Kerry up by 3 in that broader group.)

Last week's Gallup poll had Kerry up by 20 points among registered voters in the blue states that voted for Gore last time, and Bush up by four points in the red states he won in 2000. The Times, meanwhile, has a poll in Friday's paper saying most voters now feel the Iraq war was not worth it, but overwhelmingly reject setting a deadline to withdraw U.S. forces.

* Friday morning: Pinkus also replies at length to ABC's The Note, providing numbers that show the LAT's breakdown of Dems and Reps has been about the same in polls back to 2001:

His [Dowd's] negative spin of this poll is, quite truthfully, not unexpected. The Times makes every effort to use sound methodological techniques that are used by most reputable research and polling organizations. The questionnaire and methodology is available for anyone to see and conforms to the guidelines set forth by the National Council on Public Polls and the American Association for Public Opinion Research. Although Dowd does not like the results of the Times poll, I stand behind the poll's results and the sound statistical methods used.

If Dowd doesn't like the Times results, did he have a problem with the latest Gallup and CBS/New York Times polls? The horserace numbers are similar to the results of these two latest polls. Gallup had Kerry ahead by 5 points in the two-way race and CBS had Kerry up by 8 points.


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