By Lisa Vorderbrueggen
Thursday, August 13th, 2009 at 10:54 am in 2009 CD10 special election.
A new KPIX-TV poll says any of the top three Democrats — Lt. Gov. John Garamendi, state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier or Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan — could win the party’s nomination in the Sept. 1 special primary election in the 10th Congressional District.
The polling company based its conclusion on the difficulty of making predictions in a low turnout stand-along election coupled with what it called as the “bunching” of the top three Democrats: Garamendi is in the lead with 26 percent, followed by DeSaulnier at 15 percent and Buchanan at 12 percent.
Among the Republicans on the ticket, attorney David Harmer of Dougherty Valley is the prohibitive favorite at 18 percent.
Polling company SurveyUSA contacted by telephone 551 likely and actual voters on Monday and Tuesday. Democrats comprised 51 percent of those who responded, while 33 percent were Republicans and 16 percent were decline to state. The survey has an error rate of plus or minus 4.3 percent.
You may recall that the Gararmendi campaign released a few days ago portions of his internal poll that put him 10 percentage points ahead of DeSaulnier.
Clearly, both polls show Garamendi in the lead, although as SurveyUSA and just about every other political expert has observed, it is extremely to difficult to predict in a low turnout election who will actually vote.
It is also problematic to compare the results of the two polls.
Garamendi’s pollster called only Democrats and decline-to-state voters. With no Republicans in the mix, that probably drove up Garamendi’s positive numbers.
On the other hand, SurveyUSA uses a unique polling method. Unlike a conventional survey where a person calls a specific individual randomly selected for the sample and conducts a live interview, SurveyUSA uses an automated system to call randomly selected households selected for the sample. Anyone in the household can pick up the call and respond via the phone’s keypad to a pre-recorded set of questions.
Traditional pollsters are skeptical of the methodology although it has gained in popularity, largely because it is far cheaper than a conventional poll.