Two days ago, JMC Analytics and Polling conducted an independent poll on both the Presidential and US Senate races in Florida, and this poll was reviewed yesterday in the St Peters Blog by Bob Sparks, who characterized this poll as “eye popping.” However, while he was correct to perform due diligence on this poll (and hopefully, he has given other polls similar scrutiny), his conclusions were hastily reached, and I respectfully disagree with him in the following three areas:
(1) Mr. Sparks made a false assertion with regards to Hillary Clinton’s Democratic support. On Page 2 of my poll summary, I stated that “What will keep the race in Florida competitive is that Hillary Clinton’s Democratic voter base is solidly behind her as well, with an 81-6% lead among blacks, a 68-17% lead among Democrats (66-23% among white Democrats), and a 55-35% lead in South Florida, which voted 62-37% for Obama in 2012.”
A 4:1 (or a 41 point) lead among registered Democrats should hardly be a source of concern for the Clinton campaign (which is what I basically stated in the poll summary) but Bob incorrectly concluded that “according to JMC, Clinton has a big problem in Florida within her own party.” Not only is this a false conclusion, but I never made this statement in my poll summary. I would respectfully encourage him to re-read my analysis of Hillary Clinton’s Democratic support (it’s near the bottom of Page 2 of the poll release).
(2) Mr Sparks used 2012 data to question the legitimacy of the 44-42% Clinton preference of Hispanic respondents. Using 2012 is not necessarily an “apples to apples” comparison, for three reasons: (a) as a minority candidate, Barack Obama outperformed Democrats among this demographic both in 2008 and 2012, but to assume that Hillary Clinton (as a white candidate) can reach President Obama’s historic level of support among Florida’s Hispanics without using 2016 poll data to back up this assertion is a lazy assumption; (b) Florida’s Hispanics are not as monolitically partisan as they are in other states (the “Bookclosing report” generated by the Florida Secretary of State shows that 39% of Florida’s Hispanics are Democrats, 26% are Republicans, and the remaining 35% are not affiliated with either of the two major parties; and (c) the 42% Hispanic support Trump is getting in the poll is not that much different than the 42% John McCain received in 2008, the 39% Mitt Romney received in 2012, or the 38% Governor Rick Scott received in 2014. Furthermore, as an additional validation check, JMC poll tested Trump’s immigration statements and found that by a 40-39% margin, Florida’s Hispanics “support Donald Trumps immigration platform.”
(3) Finally, Mr Sparks considered it necessary to mention my “C” rating from noted statistician Nate Silver. I’m glad he did, although had he done some basic research from Nate’s detailed data, he might realized there is more to the story. The vast majority of my prior polling has been for down ballot races (countywide, legislative, and the like). That polling is typically NOT externally released, and even if it were, those polls would NOT be included in Nate’s analysis. In fact, my grade was based on five (yes, FIVE) of the polls I have conducted at the statewide/Congressional level between 2010 and 2015 that did get Nate Silver’s attention, and in the interest of transparency, here’s how I did:
(2010) MS CD2: 42-41 Dem (Actual: 61-38 Dem)
(2014) LA CD6: 61-35 Rep (Actual: 62-38 Rep)
(2014) LA Senate: 55-40 Rep (Actual: 56-44 Rep)
(2015) LA Governor: 51-35 Dem (54-38 Dem with “leaners” included) (Actual: 56-44 Dem)
(2015) LA Governor: 47-43 Dem (49-44 Dem with “leaners” included) (Actual: 56-44 Dem)
With regards to the other polls that are not considered as part of Nate Silver’s “grading system”, I can unequivocally say that I’ve been involved in numerous successful Congressional, legislative, and local races where my polling was used to enable campaign staff to make intelligent, well informed decisions about appropriate campaign strategy.
In conclusion, while I applaud Mr Sparks’ critique of my poll, I do respectfully ask that in the future, he perform some basic due diligence before making the hastily drawn conclusions that I listed above.