The poll was conducted by Wisconsin Public Radio and the St. Norbert College Survey Center and showed that 51% of respondents said they would likely vote for Doyle, compared with 38% who favored Green. Green Party candidate Nelson Eisman was the choice of 1% of respondents, 4% favored another candidate and the rest weren't sure.The possible oversampling of Dems slightly worries me. However, I haven't seen any polling on self-identification in the state lately; the results of the primary in September showed more Dem turnout, and the national trend of late is for more people to self-identify as Democrats. They may just be accounting for those factors. And I found this explanation compelling:
The telephone poll surveyed 400 likely Wisconsin voters from Oct. 9 to 16 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points. [. . .] The random sample also included more Democrats than Republicans, [poll director Wendy] Scattergood said.
Scattergood said that in the St. Norbert survey, participants have their phone numbers randomly drawn by computer, and they are asked if they are likely to vote in the election. If not, the interview is ended.Moreover, this news reinforces what I've been saying all along: Mark Green just isn't pushing Jim Doyle below the same approximate level he's been at for more than a year. While this is the first time I've seen Doyle over 50% in a head-to-head, there's no question that the results match what we've basically been seeing in the race. (Also, as of this morning, pollster.com hadn't included this poll, so I expect to see the five-poll average inching back up for Doyle.)
She said the latest poll came out with a slightly higher percentage of Democrats in the sample, which could have some effect on the results but might show some Republicans weren't as definite about voting when they were contacted.
"Maybe they're a little bit disaffected and more likely to be staying home," she said. "If that's the case when we're contacting people and saying how likely are you to vote, they may be saying they're less likely." But that won't be known until Election Day, she said.
Other results from the poll (here's the memo): Kathy Falk is up on JB Van Hollen, 44-38. The anti-gay-marriage-and-civil-unions-and-any-other-substantially-similar-legal-arrangement amendment is passing 51-44 (c'mon, people!). And, perhaps most surprising, the death penalty advisory referendum is up just 50-45; I've been dreading that it would pass easily, but that's really quite encouraging.
No doubt there will be more polls before the important one on November 7. Until then, you can still help Doyle and Falk and the other deserving candidates through their own sites (see the sidebar) or through my ActBlue page.