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Media Decides 'Suburban Women' Suddenly Love GOP, Is Very Very Wrong
You gals weren't all that big on bodily autonomy, were you?
Oh boy! Time for more Garbage Polling, with just days to go before the election! Daily Kos data nerd Kerry Elevald, who first brought attention to all the junky GOP polling that's been distorting national poll averages, is back with a brief dissection of a truly crap poll that the Wall Street Journal trumpeted as a huge setback for Democrats.
According to the Journal's polling, white suburban women have allegedly had a complete change of heart on the generic congressional ballot, going from preferring a generic Democrat by 12 points in August to preferring Republicans by 15 points in their most recent poll, allegedly because of worries about the economy and inflation. That would be a 27-point swing, a massive shift in sentiment in just a bit over two months. If true, that could be terrible news for Democrats next week.
Spoiler warning: As you may have gathered, not very bloody likely. But let's see how dire the Journal wants readers to think the situation is for Democrats now that the price of frozen peas has outstripped any concerns about reproductive freedom:
“We’re talking about a collapse, if you will, in that group on the perceptions of the economy,” said Republican pollster Tony Fabrizio who conducted the poll with Democratic pollster John Anzalone. The poll showed that 54% of white suburban women think the U.S. is already in a recession and 74% think the economy is headed in the wrong direction.
Views of the economy among the group were substantially more negative than in the Journal’s most recent prior survey. In August, 43% thought the economy had entered a recession, and 59% said the economy was headed in the wrong direction
As Elevald notes, the data are pretty darn suspicious. Out of the 1500 participants in the poll, only 150 white suburban women took part, and the margin of error for that subgroup was nearly plus or minus six points overall. But wait, there's more! The article also notes that the margin of error on some of the policy questions was as much as eight points.
I'll just add that anytime you get a graph that looks like this, maybe you should question your own data, because unless something explosive has happened, the numbers probably shouldn't move like this:
Elevald notes that the poll gives Republicans a two-point advantage overall, "which is totally within the realm of possibility." But the idea that white suburban women suddenly reversed their preferences so quickly didn't sit right. Data from the Civiqs tracking poll, which doesn't use "suburban" as a descriptor but does include "College educated," showed a 4-point lead for Democrats, "a far cry from R+15 among the Journal ’s sample of 150 white suburban women."
Here, enjoy a screenshot of Elevald's graph, although it lacks the fun slider that lets you see the advantage for Dems widen a bit since the summer, as the "undecided" numbers decline.
In what could be even better news for Democrats, when the measure becomes Independent white college-educated women, the preference for a generic Democrat improves to 53 percent, over 36 percent for Republicans, a 17-point gap. We'd like to see the numbers for non-college-educated white women, though, since they probably lean more Republican. Maybe even in suburbs.
Elevald throws some logic at the matter, too, questioning whether economic concerns are all that likely to completely displace other reasons suburban women might be wary of Republicans:
Are suburban women worried about the economy? Yes, basically every voter has inflation on the brain right now. It's a question of whether the group actually believes Republicans are better for the economy and will prioritize that issue over a loss of critical freedoms such as making one's own reproductive decisions regarding family planning, pregnancy, and birth control. That tension may play differently in different states depending on whether abortion bans are in the offing if Republicans win governors’ races in places like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
But given the WSJ poll’s subsample and margin of error, a "collapse" among 150 white suburban women isn't much more meaningful than a fart in the wind
Also too, in an update to the article, Elevald notes that the latest NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll doesn't show anything like the "collapse" of support for Democrats among suburban women, as NewsHour correspondent Lisa Desjardins tweeted Wednesday. In August and early September, the poll showed suburban women's generic preference at 52 percent Democratic, 35 percent Republican. The November poll was nearly the same: 53 percent Democratic and 34 percent Republican, effectively identical within the margin of error. (The Marist results weren't differentiated by race, but if there had been a massive defection by white suburban women to Republicans, the topline numbers would have shifted, no?)
In conclusion, the Wall Street Journal poll's conclusions are weak sad poop, the end, have a nice weekend.
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