Undecideds to decide Graham, Conley race

Undecideds to decide Graham, Conley race

There are 2 comments on the Myrtle Beach Online story from Oct 23, 2008, titled Undecideds to decide Graham, Conley race. In it, Myrtle Beach Online reports that:

Whom do you plan to vote for in South Carolina's U.S. Senate race? Graham? Conley? If you're like nearly half the 617 likely S.C. voters questioned in a Winthrop/ETV poll released Thursday, you don't know.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Myrtle Beach Online.

Scott Huffmon

Rock Hill, SC

#1 Oct 24, 2008
I really should have either not released these or sent out an explanation. They were asked who they would vote for…“last name” or “last name”.

The purpose was to gauge what I call “True” or “Core” support. This factors in any incumbency advantage for name recognition and captures those folks who REALLY support that individual candidate. But forces those who – in the end – will only support the party (not the man, but the party) to end up as undecided. i.e.“soft support” falls into undecided.

Why do this? Well…it is the political scientist in me…I plan to take these numbers and estimate what support would be in a “coattail free election” by counting every “undecided” who is a partisan or partisan leaner as supporting that party’s candidate and splitting the pure independent undecideds. I will compare this to the ACTUAL election totals after 11/4 and be able to estimate coattail effect. I am especially keen to do this in SC where there has been very little presidential or senate campaigning (relatively….compared to, say, NC on both counts).

Graham’s support was at 63.7% and Conley’s was at 36.3% using the support rubric described above. This is in line with other polling. The actual election numbers will likely have a good deal more votes for Conley. Since I used the method I did to measure exiting "core" support, I'll be able to measure a coattail effect by comparing these numbers to the final vote totals. I couldn't have done this had I not chosen the (quirky to the layman) methodology that I did.

I know that journalists and activists don’t care about the post-election analysis that geeky political scientists are keen to do so I apologize for the confusion. I REALLY should have made it clear.


--Scott Huffmon
Scott Huffmon

Rock Hill, SC

#2 Oct 24, 2008
More complete version of the above statement here:


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