The Wall Street Journal ran a piece today about how the young folks are excited about Obama, but might not actually vote for him. The piece is based on a poll by conducted by the Wall Street Journal, NBC News and MySpace. Two interesting things about how the poll results are spun. First the lede:
This year's flood of newly registered voters heavily favor Sen. Barack Obama in the presidential contest, but they won't necessarily show up to support him on Election Day, a new survey indicates.OK, so what's the evidence that new voters won't support Obama on election day?
The first bit of evidence comes from , a completely different poll asking a completely different question:
When asked to rank their interest in the Nov. 4 election, just 49% said they were "very interested." By comparison, 70% of voters of all age groups said they were "very interested," according to a separate Journal/NBC News national poll taken a week ago.It's not obvious that disinterest in the election translates to not voting.
Second, the actual poll that they are talking aboutreports that
54% of the new voters said they would definitely vote Nov. 4.That does seem low. And would be cause for alarm, if it were close to true.
But, WSJ does something stoopid--they link to the actual poll results! Here we find, that it's really 84% of responders that are likely to vote on November 4th.
Using a ten-point scale, please tell me how likely you are to vote in the November fourth elections for president and Congress. If you are certain that you will vote, pick a number closer to "eight," "nine," or "ten." If it is less likely that you will vote, use a number closer to "one," "two," or "three." You may choose any number from one to ten.Sure, if you only look at the people who responded with a 10, then it's 54%. But the instructions put the cutoff at 8. If you count 8 through 10, it's 84%!
10, definitely vote 54 [142-143]
1, definitely NOT vote 3
Not sure -
When the poll results weren't interesting enough, the WSJ simply distracted us with the answer to a different question and then cherry-picked the data they were going to show us. Don't be too worried about first time voters showing up on the 4th.