HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - There have been several polls conducted since the allegations against Roy Moore first surfaced. Some show Doug Jones leading Moore, others show just the opposite. A new poll is due out Wednesday. WHNT News 19 spoke with the company conducting this latest poll for insight on how these polls are conducted.
Of course, the $64 question is what effect the allegations of sexual misconduct have had on Moore's campaign for the US Senate. Or maybe a better question would be will those allegations keep Alabamians from voting for him. Pollsters say it's all in how you ask the question.
“If I were to just use one example, say ultra right-wing Roy Moore or ultra-liberal Doug Jones, when preceding their name, that is introducing bias into the question,” according to John Couvillon, the president of Louisiana based JMC Analytics. He says they work to avoid that type of bias and says that’s one of the four primary aspects of each poll.
The other important aspects, ensuring a random sampling of the data, looking for neutral respondents, and checking the voting history of the respondents, when possible. Couvillon says it's a waste of time to poll unregistered voters.
He also insists upon a tight time frame. Couvillon says he likes to begin and complete his polls within just a couple of days so the results are as fresh as possible.
The latest poll from JMC Analytics on the Moore - Jones senate race will be released Wednesday, and we wanted to ask the pollsters a few questions.
What does it mean when one poll shows Moore well ahead of Jones, and the next poll shows him trailing by almost the same spread? And, do they look at the results of other polls in compiling their poll results?
“It would be more of a data point that would be tucked away in the back of my mind as to what the prevailing wisdom is,” Couvillon says.
Any reputable poll will have a published margin of error, and Couvillon indicated there are several factors at work in the race between Jones and Moore that could influence the outcome of the race.
“The first is the potential for write-in candidates to drain votes away from either Moore or Jones or both, number one. Number two, I’ve been reading stories about the lessened level of black voter intensity because, of course, with black voters voting nearly unanimously Democratic, a strong black turnout is what Doug Jones needs if he wants to have a chance to win,” Couvillon says.
In the end, the only poll of any significance will be the one taken on December 12th.
We will, of course, have the results of this latest poll as soon as it becomes available Wednesday.