VA-05: SurveyUSA Revises Its Methodology

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    It’s stories like this why we need to take polling with a huge grain of salt.

    Republican Robert Hurt still enjoys a double digit lead, but Democrat Tom Perriello has pulled closer in the race for the 5th Congressional District.

    The latest News7 SurveyUSA poll found an 11 point lead for the challenger Hurt.  That’s a significant difference from our last two polls, which showed leads of more than 20-points for Hurt.

    Why the difference?  Part of the answer involves how SurveyUSA conducted the research.  Tuesday’s poll used a different survey method from the previous two.

    If the same methodology was used, Hurt’s lead would stand at 17-points, down from 23 points in late September.

    In other words, polling’s at least as much an “art” as a “science.” So now we have three recent polls, this one (Hurt +11), Custom Research Strategies (Hurt +1), and The Hill/ANGA (Hurt +1). Take the average of those three polls, and perhaps Hurt is ahead by 4 points or so, with the race continuing to tighten? Can Tom Perriello be the “comeback kid” this year, as he was in 2008 (when he was down big to Virgil Goode but ended up squeaking out a win)?  I see no reason why not. Go Tom!