Non-candidate Thompson might win -- if you count non-voters | WisCommunity

Non-candidate Thompson might win -- if you count non-voters

The latest in a long series of meaningless political poll coverage by the Wisconsin media, courtesy of the Associated Press:

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A new poll suggests that if Republican Tommy Thompson decides to get into the U.S. Senate race, he would defeat Democratic incumbent Russ Feingold.

The St. Norbert College Survey Center Poll released Tuesday shows Thompson with 45 percent support compared with 33 percent for Feingold.

...Terrence Wall and Dave Westlake are running as Republicans but Thompson has flirted with getting into the race.

The telephone poll of 400 Wisconsin residents was done between March 23 and March 31 and has a margin of error of plus of minus 5 percentage points. It was sponsored by Wisconsin Public Radio.

A new technique -- interviewing non-voters about a non-candidate. (UPDATE: They didn't even ask about the two GOP candidates who actually are running, David Westlake and Terrence Wall.)

A recent poll by Daily Kos/Research 2000 had Feingold beating Thompson.

What's the difference? For one, Kos did its poll in three days, while St.Norbert took eight days. That's hardly a snapshot of public opinion, which is what a poll should be. And the Kos/Research 2000 poll actually screens for likely voters:

A total of 600 likely voters who vote regularly in state elections were interviewed statewide by telephone.

St. Norbert says it interviewed "Wisconsin residents." So, if you just talk to whoever answers the phone, whether they ever vote or not, Tommy does just great. He'll be a sure winner if they count the votes on Election Day of people who don't vote.

But that's not usually how we do it in Wisconsin.

Afterthought: Hard to imagine, but the poll on the governor's race


April 5, 2010 - 10:44pm