Candidate Intensity Scoring Flaws
As with the Rasmussen presidential approval index, the Gallup intensity scoring does not consider those with moderate approval or disapproval of the candidates, and therefore should not be used as a predictor of election results, since middle-of-the-road voters consistently sway results. However, these scores are beneficial when used to predict turnout probabilities for the political bases on both sides. When the intensity score is considered along with traditional polling results, it can provide a richer understanding of why respondents answered questions in certain ways. However, forming conclusions off these types of scores themselves will often lead to confusion and inaccuracy, since party affiliations are flux, and respondents’ inclination to select the “strongly” in front of “approve” or “disapprove” may change depending on events occurring at the the time the poll is delivered.
Gallup Poll Results: Interpretation
Results from the most recent Gallup intensity score indicate that Obama and Gingrich consistently spark the most intense feelings on both sides, while Romney and Paul have the most mild numbers. Among general voters, the only candidates to ignite more negative intensity than Obama were Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry. Gallup used different sample sets for rating Obama and Republicans, which was a good polling practice, since respondents may otherwise have parlayed their approval or disapproval for Democrats into one candidate, while the Republican side offered several options who vary in political views. Due to this division of samples, and the scientific accuracy of Gallup’s polling, the intensity score results can be a valuable tool, as long as they are solely used to analyze intense opinions within a set of data, instead of being touted as an election predictor.
Gallup. Romney Less Polarizing than Gingrich or Obama. Accessed December 22, 2011.
Gallup. How Does Gallup Daily Tracking Work? Accessed December 22, 2011.
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