Our polling has passed the test of time, but someone always challenges them

There’s always someone dissing our polls.

Sure as the dew on Dixie, this morning’s mailbag had the usual whining from someone who doesn’t know anyone who doesn’t support Harry Reid, even though our poll shows Reid losing against each of the top three GOP challengers if the election were held today.

Joseph writes to say: "Please, enough of your one sided polls. Do you always poll the minority to speak for the majority. Certainly Sen. Reid doesn’t do well in your polls, you only poll Consevatives. And then you print it like it’s actually news. No wonder print media is going under. You consevatives support ‘smaller’ govt because you want to be dictated to by the corporate aristocracy, the majority of us reject this idea. Corporations do not create jobs, governments do by regulating markets, creating a stable currancy, and enforcing trade regulations. Free trade isn’t free and your polls are misleading. Whatever happened to printing the truth?"

I don’t think he is from the Austrian school of economic thought, but never mind that.

Harry Reid says his polling has him the winner in all match-ups, but he won’t show his cards. Ours are all on the table and we have decades of results with our pollster Mason-Dixon Polling & Research showing the polls closest to the election closely predict the outcome. For example, in 2008 Mason-Dixon’s final poll before the election showed Obama winning Nevada by 4 points. The undecideds swept left for Obama and he won by 7, within the margin of error. Of course no one can call the November election in January, but our track record suggests the poll reflects the current mood of the Nevada electorate.

You can protest all you like. Our editorial page swings from the right side of the plate, but we pride ourselves on the news side in reporting fairly and accurately. Let the chips fall where they may. If we were constantly wrong, we’d lose our credibility. I’m not going to let that happen. If someone has poll numbers showing something different, tell us. But also show us your methodology.

Here is the methodology for our poll:

_____________________

    HOW THE POLL WAS CONDUCTED

This poll was conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, Inc. of Washington, D.C. from January 5 through January 7, 2009.  A total of 625 registered Nevada voters were interviewed statewide by telephone. All stated they vote regularly in state elections.  

Those interviewed were selected by the random variation of the last four digits of telephone numbers.  A cross-section of exchanges was utilized in order to ensure an accurate reflection of the state.  Quotas were assigned to reflect voter turn-out by county.

The margin for error, according to standards customarily used by statisticians, is no more than plus or minus 4 percentage points. This means that there is a 95 percent probability that the "true" figure would fall within that range if the entire population were sampled.  The margin for error is higher for any subgroup, such as a gender or regional grouping.

This section of the survey also includes an over-sampling of 300 Republican voters.  These over-sampled voters were only asked the questions relative to the Republican primary election and not the other statewide questions dealing with the general election and issues.  The margin for error on the GOP primary results is plus or minus 6%.

—————————————————————-
SAMPLE FIGURES:

Men 307 (49%)        Women 318 (51%)

Democrats 265 (42%)  Republicans 231 (37%)  Independents 129 (21%)

REGION

Clark County                    425 interviews             
Washoe County               120 interviews             
Rural Nevada                     80 interviews                      

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