February 18, 2007

CBS Poll: Giuliani Up 50-21 Over McCain

I guess if we're going to have to have an early primary race, we'll have to have early primary polls. CBS indulges us with its latest poll of Republican primary voters, although in the end that sample seems very small. CBS News polled 1142 adults, only 314 of which were Republican primary voters, too small to make a substantial national correlation.

For what it's worth, then, here's how CBS sees Republican primary voters swinging:

Senator John McCain of Arizona and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani – two of the front-runners for the Republican Presidential nomination in 2008 – both enjoy favorable views from both Republican primary voters, a new CBS News poll finds, but early on in the race, voters favor Giuliani in a head-to-head match up.

Views of Giuliani are especially positive among both moderates and the conservatives that he and McCain are courting. ...

If the GOP nomination battle came down solely to McCain versus Giuliani, Republican primary voters would pick Giuliani by a wide 50% to 29% margin. In that hypothetical scenario 13% would still favor someone else. Both moderates and conservative primary voters today say they would prefer Giuliani.

In fact, self-identified conservatives would select Rudy over McCain 48-21, a wider split than the overall number. Moderates give a majority to Rudy but the split is a little smaller, 55-37. Nineteen percent of conservatives would vote for neither candidate in the primary if the race only included those two choices.

On questions of temperament, both men score majorities among the GOP for sharing their values and having the temperament to serve as President. On temperament, Rudy outscores McCain 76-59, and on values McCain prevails by a thin margin, 60-57.

The poll starts to falter once they include all respondents, once again because the polling sample gets skewed towards the Democrats. The poll oversamples Democrats -- again -- and then weights the results even father towards the Democrats -- again. MS-NBC reported on a National Journal story that shows the GOP slipping in party identification, with the Democrats at 34.3%, independents at 33.9%, and the GOP at 30.4% for 2006.

However, in the CBS poll, the numbers vary widely from this model. The weighted sample puts the GOP at 27.5%, while the Democrats get 35% and independents get 37.6%. They have created an alternate universe with their weighting system, and the rest of the analyses suffer as a result. It looks like we are going to be in for the same kind of shenanigans with the CBS poll for the 2008 cycle that we have seen with the 2004 and 2006 cycles.


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