Monday, April 29, 2013

It's Close. Peduto flirting with 40%, gains Possession Arrow.

Philly Philms

New public poll:

Current Councilman Bill Peduto leads former Auditor General Jack Wagner by two points, 38 percent to 36 percent, which is within the margin of error of +/-4.89. (via KeystonePolitics)

Wagner at 36 is actually down a titch from Keystone Analytic's last poll. Peduto has moved up eight points.

Best news yet: to read KP's analysis, KA's poll's model might be skewing unfavorably against younger demographics -- indeed, relative even to recent elections. And you've got to figure if this is being considered, either Wagner or Ravenstahl is convinced the prospects for Peduto look good.

PRESCRIPTION: No change. Letters to the editor. Yard signs. Buttons on shirts and bags. Conversations with friends and new acquaintances. Positive visions. Sound science.

FEARFUL OF ATTACKS?: Set your mind at ease.


  1. Even reweighting the sample (a pretty dangerous game to begin with, as many recently learned) wouldn't do all that much to increase Peduto's total margin.

    On the other hand, being ahead in any decent poll means you have a better than even chance of actually being ahead (you would think that should be obvious, but the whole "within the MOE" throws some people off).

    On the third hand, primary polling can be very volatile, much more so than general election polling in many cases.

    So the upshot is this is legitimate good news for Peduto, but also indicates this is the sort of situation where the remainder of the campaign could easily determine the outcome.

    1. The best news for him his, he clearly has the momentum. And Wagner seems to have stagnated during this period.

    2. It is a positive change in Peduto's favor from the last poll, of a significant enough magnitude that it is unlikely to be merely statistical fluctuation. "Momentum"? That's a prediction that the polling will automatically continue to move in Peduto's favor barring a new force exerting itself on the contest, and you can't really draw such a conclusion from this sort of data.

      In general, "momentum" in that sense is much rarer than many activists and pundits like to claim, and instead in most cases whatever reason there might be for a significant polling shift in favor of one candidate tends to show up most or all of the way fairly quickly, such that such polling shifts are typically followed by a period of stability unless and until a new reason for a shift occurs, which in fact could be in either direction notwithstanding the direction of the last shift.

      Of course even sophisticated campaigns that privately know all this may publicly try to encourage the notion that they have "momentum" after a favorable polling change, in part on the theory that if voters buy into the idea, it can actually become a reality. But in fact that is such a common tactic that if it typically worked, you would see more cases of real momentum, and again they are actually quite rare.

      The point of all this is that as a rule you should typically avoid assuming any recent polling trends will continue, and also that "working the refs" whenever you get a better-than-expected poll result is usually pretty fruitless. A better idea is to try to figure out what might have caused the move in your favor, and learn something from that which you can use to guide the remainder of your campaign.

    3. He has more momentum than his opponent?

    4. He certainly doesn't have less.

      By the way, to be more constructive--I personally suspect "going negative" on Wagner was working, particularly since Wagner has given Peduto too much room to define him in the ideological/policy space. And merely complaining about Peduto "going negative" was not an effective response, because the sort of "negative" Peduto was going was clearly fair game.

      So now Wagner is going to step up his own version of "going negative" on Peduto, and we'll see how that works out. But if I were Wagner I would not be at all happy about mysterious outside groups participating in that effort, and I would be doing everything I could to shut that down.

  2. Funny, last night at Brookline Community Council's Candidate forum one of the things Mr. Wagner said was something like---Who went negative first?---Might that be the defense tactic for the anonymous Wagner supporters or his own camp going negative whole hog now?