Just after I get done explaining why Rasmussen’s first poll of Florida’s 2014 gubernatorial race is way off in its crosstabs, vindication comes in the form of a more balanced but still hard-to-swallow Mason-Dixon survey. That’s because a very smart observer of Florida politics shared with me their notes breaking down the M-D poll.
The two surveys were conducted at the same time (April 21-22), both by live telephone interview.
Mason Dixon’s top-line result shows a dead heat between Crist and Scott, but earning 42 percent of the vote. Libertarian Adrian Wyllie drew 4 percent, with another 12 percent undecided.
While the sampling stats in this survey of 700 likely voters paint a more realistic picture of Florida’s likely general electorate in 2014 than Rasmussen’s, it still isn’t a perfect take.
Like Rasmussen’s, Mason Dixon’s survey demographics tilt toward favoring a Democratic candidate — in terms of voter age, race, and partisan affiliation.
I’ll start with the most obvious: partisanship. The Mason-Dixon sample suggests that 42 percent of Florida voters are Democrats. This is two points higher than we saw in 2010 or 2012 turnout. I find it a little hard to believe that Democrats will have a larger makeup in 2014 than they did in the president’s re-election in 2012. So there’s that.
Then, take a look at the racial demographics, which appear too heavy on Hispanics (19 percent) and too light on Caucasians (65 percent). A more historically accurate selection would be closer to 12 percent and 70 percent, respectively.
Finally, there’s the age factor. Mason-Dixon’s sample was comprised of 42 percent under the age of 49, and 57 percent over the age of 50. A split of 30 percent and 70 percent would be more historically accurate.
Considering these demographic and sampling factors, a “tie” in Mason Dixon suggests a lead by Scott in reality. And we still have six months of the fiercest campaigning in Florida history ahead.