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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Have the Republicans Really Achieved Parity on Party ID?

According to the 2004 NEP exit poll, Democrats and Republicans were dead-even on party ID (37-37) in the 2004 election, a 4 point shift from the 39-35 Democratic advantage registered by NEP’s predecessor, VNS, in the 2000 election.
Did a shift of this size really take place in partisan allegiances of the American electorate? Given how much the NEP poll apparently had to weight down Kerry voters and weight up Bush voters to conform to the election result, there are certainly reasons to be cautious about that poll’s measurement of a characteristic so closely correlated with the presidential vote. It is also possible the NEP’s measurement reflects less a change in underlying sentiment among the electorate and more a change in who showed up at the polls on election day.
It doesn’t exactly settle the issue, but it’s worth drawing people’s attention to a report on party ID trends recently released by the Annenberg Election Survey. According to the report, in about 45,000 interviews of registered voters (RVs) conducted from December, 1999 through January, 2001, Democratic identifiers led Republican identifiers by 33.7 percent to 29.9 percent, a 3.8 point Democratic advantage essentially identical in size to that measured by VNS in the 2000 exit poll.
Annenberg conducted about 68,000 interviews of RVs from October 2003 to mid-Novmber, 2004 and found only a slight diminution in the Democratic party ID advantage to 2.8 points (34.6 percent Democratic to 31.8 percent Republican). That’s quite a different story than the one implied by 2004 NEP exit poll and, given the huge sample sizes in the Annenberg study, is certainly worthy of consideration.

6 comments on “Have the Republicans Really Achieved Parity on Party ID?

  1. The Fool on

    Yeah but Annenberg’s numbers are among registered voters while the exit poll’s numbers are among (absolutely) certain voters. If Republicans are more certain voters then the average registered voter, you would expect the number among registered voters to be inflated.

  2. cloudy on

    What about the rising tide of evidence that the exit polls predicting a Kerry victory not only in Ohio but elsewhere were RIGHT? Doesn’t all this poll analysis ASSUME that the theories of election fraud (eg the computer scams, the hacking issue in Fla, and numerous other issues, on top of the huge number of not only spoiled ballots but PROVISIONAL ballots that were reportedly “handed out like candy” in New Mexico? etc etc)
    No analysis of poll results that does not keep up with the election fraud issue (subject to a media lockdown) DAILY is really more than itself doing what the media is now doing, namely justifying the lying. The fraud issue has info coming out constantly — that the exit polls were reliable not only in the morning but in the afternoon, that there were EXTREMELY fishy voting patterns explicable by hacking in Florida and exploding the “Dixiecrat County” theory, that there were massive e-vote “gifts” to Bush not only in Florida but elsewhere in the country. When you ASSUME that all these theories are false by ignoring them as factors in your analysis, you bias your analysis massively and unscientifically.
    At the very least, two separate analyses should be put forward from here on out — one of the exit polls and another of the tabulated results, so we can see just what the situation might be if the presumptive “tin-foil hat” theory of election fraud is in fact even half as true as the evidence suggests.

  3. smartliberal on

    Frankly, I don’t think it’s worth any consideration. If a plurality still identify themselves as Democrats but either vote Republican or don’t show up to vote, then their self-identification really doesn’t matter, does it? And since when are we drawing a distinction between party ID among those who showed up to vote and party ID among adults generally? The whole premise of the weighing-by party ID thesis was that it was the party ID of those who showed up to vote that mattered. After all, it was the party ID among 2000 voters as measured by the 2000 exit polls that was our benchmark. Either we have to reject this approach/thesis or accept it. We can’t suddenly start resorting to party ID as measured across all adults generally.

  4. coldeye on

    We need to stop obsessing over party ID percentages. Most people vote for candidates, not party allegiance. In my opinion this last election has put to rest the issue of weighting polls according to party ID. The professionals at Gallup were correct that party ID is fungible.


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