Analyzing today’s Survey USA poll – A single grain of salt

in Uncategorized by

As these surveys seem to be coming in fast and furiously, we will shorten our evaluations and hit the high points only, especially for established pollsters who we have already weighed in on their methodology.

With that, the latest serving from Survey USA, which has Charlie Crist up by four points, has two problems. First, the sample of likely voters is relatively small at only 566 likely voters. Second, it has an equal number of Republicans and Democrats – which is highly unlikely in an off-year election. Republicans should outnumber Democrats by at least three points.

So we give this poll a grain of salt.

When you tweak the partisan dial a bit and reweight the balance, this poll would have likely shown Crist up by a single point (not four) over Scott and Wyllie still in single digits.

As we said earlier today; different pollster … slightly different methodology … same story … this race is dead-locked.

What is the SPB Salt Shaker Scale? It’s our new measurement guide to reading polls. These are the ratings:

  • A full shaker: There are enough problems with the methodology to warrant serious concerns.
  • A few grains: There are some concerns with how this poll was conducted and/or with the Demographic make-up to raise some issues.
  • A single grain: There are only a few concerns with how the poll was conducted.
  • No salt needed: Solid pollster, solid methodology and the numbers look balanced.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.