Can the Polls Be Wrong?

Can the polls be wrong? Consider this.

On October 5, 2002, the Atlanta Journal and WSB-TV conducted a poll showing Roy Barnes at 49% and Sonny Perdue at 42%. In mid-October of 2002, Mason-Dixon showed Roy Barnes at 48% and Sonny Perdue at 39%. On November 4, 2002, one day before the election, the Atlanta Journal/WSB-TV poll showed Roy Barnes at 51% and Sonny Perdue at 40%. The internal polling of the Barnes campaign showed similar results. So did the internals of the Perdue campaign, except the Perdue campaign was no longer looking at its internal polling. Instead, the campaign was looking at its GOTV ground game data and knew Perdue would win.

On November 5, 20062, Sonny Perdue beat Roy Barnes 51.4% to 46.3% with the Libertarian taking 2.3% of the vote.

The polls were wrong. Well, the polls, per say, were not wrong. They measured the temperature in the state at the time they were taken. But one day before the election a credible poll showed the Democrat winning and the actual results were a mirror image, with the Republican winning. Why?

Because the polls cannot measure the intensity of the GOP’s ground game and that ground game is that good. It was put in place in 2000. It was refined in places like Georgia in 2002 and in Ohio in 2004. And now the GOP is set to unleash it again.

So keep this in mind — the polls may be an accurate indicator of public sentiment, but the only result that counts occurs on November 7th inside polling booths. And that is to the GOP’s advantage.


  1. SurveyUSA and a lot of other outfits correctly pegged the ’04 top of ticket stuff at least a month in advance. Ground game is overated. In ’02 they turned out the flaggers, in ’04 the evangelical Bush lovers. Neither group exists for the Republicans in Georgia anymore.

  2. Mad Dog says:


    I agree with you. “Neither group exists for the Republicans in Georgia anymore.”

    The evangelical Bush lovers aren’t feeling the love. Neither is Bush. Republicans in Georgia, as you say, are making a mistake to depend on these groups as a partisan base.

    GOTV for the Republicans is more like Send Out the Absentee Ballots (SOAB) which has been done to death.

    Is there any Republican candidate not sending out absentee information with smear literature to registered voters in this state?

  3. Decaturguy says:

    I’d have to say that I probably agree with you Erick since the top of the Democratic ticket (Mark Taylor) has done absolutely nothing to motivate Democrats to go out and vote for him. Ride around Dekalb County and see how many Taylor signs you see. Not too many I’d bet.

  4. At the risk if opening up a can of worms here, since there aren’t any Taylor signs in DeKalb County, why don’t you go down to Taylor HQ and pick up a batch of yard signs.

    Better yet, come down to the DPG’s HQ and pick up yard signs and literature for all of the statewide Democratic candidates.

    Instead of sitting on your ass and waiting for Taylor to come to you, how about you go to them.

    Do something about it.

  5. Decaturguy says:

    Um, Andre, I don’t think the lack of Taylor signs in Dekalb has anything to do with lack of manpower or anything, it has more to do with the fact that Democrats (including myself) are not excited about his candidacy and don’t really want his sign in their yard. So, again, you have missed the point.

    It is the job of the candidate to convince voters that they are worthy of their vote. Taylor hasn’t done it.

    Sure, Taylor will win Dekalb, as he will other Democratic strongholds. But, how will the turnout be? How many votes statewide will be lost?

  6. JMG6567 says:

    If the voter i.d. law is ruled consitutional, which it is, Sonny will win. He has to, that is why the law was created. It is called voter suppression. We used it in Florida back in 2000. Why did we use i.d. requirements? Because poor people and old people do not usually have one of the necessary ids. It costs money, and when you must choose between food and voting, you can bet your ass you will want to eat first and foremost. We tried to lower contribution limits from Unions in California, but couldn’t get past their activist judges. Georgia…well GOP can get away with almost anything now. To the topic of debate, can the polls be wrong? Yes, they always are. Unless you register with the polling companies, you will not be polled. Zogby, for instance. A conservative poll advertized by conservative media. Who signs up for Zogby? Conservative individuals. Who is polled? These same conservative individuals. Naturally the poll will be biased. What is fun though is to take all of the polls, if you can get their raw data even better, then average the polls or create a new data set from the raw data gather by all of the polling orgs. When you do this. Taylor about 43%, Perdue about 47%, Hayes 2&, Undecided 7%. The error ends up around 2.5%. Research shows that Undecided favor the challenger between 80%-85% of the time. The Georgia governors race is very close, and is one of the more competitive race in the country. If the voter i.d. law stays Perdue will hopefully win it. Do not feel bad about the Georgians that rightfully show vote, remember we have to what is right for the GOP not democracy.

  7. David says:

    Voter supression? Cry me a a river! Most “old folks” have an ID of some sort and if not the gov’t will provide them one at no cost. The reason you Dems are crying like stuck pigs is that it is your party that benefits more by those who vote illegally. Sorry, the party is over in that regard or soon will be. Imagine that, you will actually have to come up with ideas and convince the people to vote for you instead of using massive voter fraud to propel yourselves into office. Good luck, y’all are going to need it!

  8. atlantaman says:

    “Because poor people and old people do not usually have one of the necessary ids.”

    Could you please expand on where you got your data, I didn’t realize the majority of old people in the State of GA don’t have a picture ID.

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