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Salt Shaker Test on the new Monmouth poll: Donald Trump’s lead back down to earth

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A pattern is forming here.

According to the last rounds of polls, Donald Trump’s lead in the upcoming GOP primary appears to be larger in polls conducted via auto-dialers (a.k.a. IVR technology) than those conducted via live operators.

We saw late last month where the Quinnipiac numbers showed Trump up by a very strong 20 points over Marco Rubio while the AIF poll had it much closer at 7 points.

The difference? Q-pac was an IVR poll while AIF’s poll was conducted using live operators.

And while Groundhog day is more than a month behind us, this week’s déjà vu moment comes when analyzing the latest SurveyUSA poll (an IVR poll) showing Trump up by 20 points and a Monmouth poll (done by live callers) putting Trump’s lead at “only” 8 points.

Same findings. Different week.

We score the SurveyUSA poll as problematic as it wasn’t just a robo-poll, but mixed in visual devices as well. Further, there is no indication whether or not the voter file was used to ensure that the respondent was an actual voter and/or had at least some history of voting and the sample appears to be significantly younger than a likely primary electorate – and that makes sense given the methodology.

If we were to score the SurveyUSA poll, we would suggest you take it with a half-shaker of salt.

They seem to have the ballot order right, but the magnitude is likely wrong. (We explained the reasoning for that in the prior analysis of the Quinnipiac salt shaker test.)

The Monmouth poll, on the other hand – and probably of some relief to Rubio supporters – was conducted in a much more scientific manner and shows the race within reach. It was conducted with live callers, had a sample that was balanced to look like a primary election, the numbers pulled from the voter file, and respondents had a history of voting in primaries.

In short, the Monmouth poll is a good instrument. Good methods. Smart people at the switch.

Conclusion:  No salt needed with the latest Monmouth poll showing Trump up by 8.

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