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How does political polling work in Arizona?

Poll Workers
Posted at 5:02 PM, Jul 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-18 20:24:48-04

PHOENIX — With fifteen days until Arizona’s August 2nd primary election there is more coverage on political polling.

When it comes to political polling, a sentiment that is always expressed by voters is “I didn’t get polled, so how can it be accurate?"

Unfortunately, it’s cost prohibitive for polling companies to reach everyone. Instead, what they try to do is find people who accurately reflect where people that will vote live and what their beliefs might be.

How does it work?

Imagine a map of Arizona covered in little dots that represent people that took a primary election poll.

The poll’s goal is for the dots to be spread out geographically like Arizona’s actual population density.

This means about 62% of the dots should be in Maricopa County, 14% should be in Pima County, and the remaining should spread out in the rural counties. They also want to be as close to the demographics of those who will vote in August.

If either is off, the poll will almost certainly be wrong.

If the dots are mostly concentrated in the East Valley, like Mesa, Chandler, and Gilbert then the poll will only be useful as a snapshot of how people in the East Valley might vote.

If 80% of people who took the poll are women over 65, then even if the responses are geographically correct, the poll can only say how women over 65 may vote.

It is impossible for the poll to match the August primary electorate. To account for this, it has a margin of error.

A recent poll by OH Predictive Insights showed GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake ahead of her major opponent Karrin Taylor Robson 40% to 35%.

The poll surveyed 515 likely Arizona voters giving it a margin of error of plus or minus 4.3.

That means the poll believes that both candidates' actual numbers can likely be four points different in either direction, a total range of almost 14 points. However, the race is considered within the margins since there is an overlap in the middle.

Lake likely has the advantage heading into Election Day but a Robson victory is very much a possibility.

New this year are pollsters asking Republican voters if they are more supportive of Donald Trump or the Republican Party.

In Arizona, the responses are tightly packed. One recent poll from Alloy Analytics shows equal support and the OH Predictive poll shows voters slightly favor the party over Trump.

Mike Noble of OH Predictive Insights told ABC15 that this question is defining GOP primaries all over the country. “You have the Trump-backed candidate and then you have the Republican establishment candidate,” Noble said. “It’s really a battle we are seeing between the old versus the new.