Earlier this afternoon Saint Petersblog released new polling in several House races which caught my eye. The polling shows wide Republican leads in several seats which sources in both parties acknowledge are more competitive than this particular set of polls shows. Also interestingly the numbers seem to not correspond with the daily memos from Steve Schale that have been blasted around the state and published in Saint Petersblog.
Saint Petersblog is an indispensable resource for those of us who love Florida politics. But today I am getting mixed signals from the site. The Schale memos demonstrate a clear trend towards competitive elections that might slightly tilt towards the Democrats. These memos are based on actual data from early voting and vote by mail. The St Pete Polls survey cited in the Saint Petersblog story use a 2010 turnout model and for example in House District 30 gave Republicans a 16% advantage while under-sampling NPAs.
Saint Petersblog generally does fantastic work, but the continued skewed polling in State House races sticks out like a sore thumb in what has been an otherwise solid cycle for the website. It is entirely possible Republicans pick up every seat projected in these surveys. But I can guarantee to every one of our readers the GOP will not carry the marginal districts surveyed by the kind of margins these polls are claiming. Moreover, if they were in these sorts of commanding positions the RPOF is wasting a lot of cash on State House races they have already won. My sources indicate that the internal Republican numbers show much tighter numbers in every “marginal” race surveyed with the exception of HD-29.
In a somewhat related development Dave Trotter’s The Political Hurricane has returned to life and has made State House predictions. I am not sure I buy all of the numbers here either, but they are at least less partisanly skewed.
Credit should be given to both blog sites for attempting to give the public a view into potential results in State House races. In time, we trust that the methodology of these sorts of surveys will improve. Polling in small House districts where incumbent name ID tends to be low is difficult and St Pete Polls deserve credit for making the effort to conduct public polling in these areas.