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PPP Polling, Minnesota editorial pages nail state election

MinnPost photo by Terry Gydesen
Marriage amendment opponents reacting to the close contest on Tuesday night. The amendment, which ultimately failed, went almost unanimously opposed by Minnesota's newspapers.

While they weren’t quite Nate Silver, North Carolina-based pollster PPP Polling had quite a night, basically nailing Minnesota’s presidential and amendment contests.

And while they didn’t make predictions, Minnesota’s editorial pages proved a bellwether in the defeat of both the marriage and Photo I.D. amendments.

PPP first: Their final pre-election poll, taken three days before the race, called Minnesota for Obama by 8 percentage points. The voters, as of 6 a.m. Wednesday, made it Obama by 8. PPP showed the marriage amendment losing by 7 (the only pollster show that large a defeat); it lost by 5. And PPP had Photo I.D. down 5; it lost by 7.

So much for oversampling Democrats.

Minnesota newspapers’ near-unanimity opposing the marriage and I.D. amendments didn’t decide those contests. But papers in deep-red Minnesota were unafraid to oppose “common sense” I.D. and support (often tacitly) culturally uncomfortable gay rights. In this, papers actually led the polls, and may have swelled the “Vote No” margin.

Victory is often unkind to the losers. The Pioneer Press — which disingenuously supported I.D. and scrambled back a Wikipedia-fueled gay marriage screed — now is indelibly stamped on the wrong side of discrimination, a position that may linger among readers in their three core east-metro counties, which all voted no.

On the polling side, critics wondered if FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver had overplayed his statistically modeled hand. That scorn should be heaped on GOP pollsters who lent their names to late-election polls showing 8th District incumbent Chip Cravaack up by 10 points (only off by 20) and Romney winning Minnesota by 1 (a near-double-digit whiff).

Given that they nailed 2010’s low-turnout GOP romp, let’s hope the Republican pollsters’ models were merely terrible. The alternative? They were lying to their clients and the public. In the end, the voters provided the ultimate B.S. check.

Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by Richard Mensing on 11/07/2012 - 12:44 pm.

    Star Tribune’s Mason Dixon clunker

    The Strib needs to drop Mason Dixon as its pollster. The polls published the last weekend of October were outlying to the point of being disingenuous. The 3 point advantage they gave to Obama was way off, but I suppose one could argue it was remotely within the margin of error. But the previous days poll showed the voter restriction amendment gaining support when in fact support for it was plummeting.

    What I found interesting then was this bit of explanation about the sample:
    “A month ago, the poll’s sample was 41 percent Democrat, 28 percent Republican and 31 percent independent or other. In this survey, 38 percent of respondents identified themselves as Democrat, 33 percent Republican and 29 percent independent or other.”

    In other words this time we decided to call more Republicans.

  2. Submitted by Stan Daniels on 11/07/2012 - 06:43 pm.

    Pollsters underestimated the MN amendments

    Nice job breaking all of this down over the past couple of weeks David. I learned something from this election that I should have seen and I think most of the polls missed it also.

    The Republicans overstepped by putting the two amendments on the ballot. It gave socially moderate or liberal voters a cause to show up at the polls. Those votes not only voted no to the amendments, they also checked the D box for the state races.

    The 76% turnout is amazing. Something Minnesota should be proud of.

    I know I took some heat in some discussions from commentators during the last couple of weeks. For the record I am a Republican who checked no. Actually I’m not sure what I am since I am a fiscal conservative and social moderate. Pollsters have no way to classify me.

    • Submitted by Tom Anderson on 11/08/2012 - 08:31 pm.

      76% is amazing

      In today’s Strib I count 7 counties with turnout at 76% or higher, the other 80 counties below 76%. Guess those seven counties have the bulk of the state’s population.

  3. Submitted by Joe Musich on 11/08/2012 - 12:50 pm.

    will you get called out ?

    Will you get called out by your bosses for this comment :

    The Pioneer Press — which disingenuously supported I.D. and scrambled back a Wikipedia-fueled gay marriage screed — now is indelibly stamped on the wrong side of discrimination, a position that may linger among readers in their three core east-metro counties, which all voted no.

    But I like it.

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