San Diego Mayor’s Race Still Up For Grabs, SDSU Professor Says
Monday, October 22, 2012
Aired 10/23/12 on KPBS News.
Recent polls on the San Diego mayor’s race are all over the map. But a local professor says you should take the results with a grain of salt.
SAN DIEGO A poll commissioned by 10News on the San Diego mayor’s race showed Congressman Bob Filner up by seven points in mid-October. A poll from U-T San Diego released on Sunday gave City Councilman Carl DeMaio a 10-point advantage. So who’s in the lead?
Special Feature KPBS Election Coverage
Special Feature San Diego Mayor's Race
San Diego State political science professor Ron King said the only clear conclusion is that a likely winner cannot be determined at this point. He said the relatively small sample sizes and large margins of error make it difficult to get an accurate understanding of where the voters stand.
“You’re only surveying 600, 800 people, so your range of error is enormous, “ King said. “In addition to that, the undecided rate is between 13 and 18 percent. And so, there is no result that comes out clear.”
Both the U-T San Diego and 10News polls surveyed just over 600 people and had margins of error of about plus or minus 4 percent.
King said it would be more accurate to study a pool of surveys and weigh their combined result. He said looking at one poll is like looking at a snapshot of a horse race. You have no idea if the horse in the lead actually went on to win.