That Sinking Feeling

THAT SINKING FEELING….So how is the Republican Party doing since George Bush started his second term? Charles Franklin doesn’t merely crunch the numbers to find the answer, he batters them into submission ? and eventually delivers the goods:

Between January 1, 2005 and March 12, 2006, Republican partisan identification declined by an estimated 3.6%. The percentage of the adult population calling themselves Independent rose by 4.6%, and the percentage of Democrats declined by a statistically insignificant 0.4%.

It turns out that not only has party ID shifted a fair amount in the past year, but also that party ID differs wildly between polls. Fox News, for example, asks “Do you think of yourself as a Democrat or a Republican?” while Pew asks “Do you consider yourself a Republican, Democrat, or Independent?” Just adding the option to the question increases the number of people who respond “Independent” from 17% (Fox) to 31% (Pew).

Both of the linked posts are long and eye glazing, but the bottom line is that party ID is surprisingly hard to measure. Keep that in mind the next time someone swears a poll must be wrong because its party weighting doesn’t match the exit polls from a year and a half ago.