Tag Archive: Patrick Murray

Polls. Damn Polls.

With the first presidential primary six months away and the election more than 14 months away we are besieged by polls. There appears to be little doubt that Governor Christie will be included in Thursday’s Fox debate open to the top-ten poll-ranked candidates. The aggregator of polls, Real Clear Politics, Politico, and Huffington Post today all rank him at 9th place. Fox’s poll yesterday ranks him tied at 8th place. The fact that Christie’s PAC recently paid Fox $741,000 for national campaign ads can only help his chances.

Patrick Murray, Director of the Monmouth University Poll, raises serious questions. He says, “Only five candidates – Trump, Bush, Walker, Cruz, and Huckabee – are definitely in the top tier of candidates, while just two – Pataki and Gilmore – would not make it into the top ten even when margin of error is taken into account. The poll results for the remaining 10 candidates overlap when the margin of error is considered, making it unclear who is truly in the top ten.”

With so many candidates in the running, many close to each other in ranking, the margin of error negates differences. Also polls often round up to whole numbers such that one candidate at 3.6 and another at 3.9 are both rounded up equally to 4.0. Lee Miringoff of Marist Poll, points out: “Some polls take out undecided voters and recalculate based on 100%. Some polls are based on “likely voters,” others on registered voters. Some polls probe undecided voters to include “leaners,” while others do not.”

Marist Poll decided not to query respondents on their choice for President. It believes polls are not designed to pick the top ten and should not be used to determine who will be on Fox’s top-ten stage. Lee  Miringoff says, “Herding is for horses. Not for pollsters doing horserace polls. Neither should the media herd the field in a political horserace via debates.” However, the show must go on.

Let’s celebrate the 5th anniversary of the ACA

Patrick Murray’s Monmouth University Polling Institute held a panel discussion yesterday on the fifth anniversary of the signing of the Affordable Care Act. Its ominous title was: “Is it working in New Jersey?” Apparently not so well according to three businessmen on the panel – the presidents of Meridian Health, Monmouth Medical Center, and NJ Association of Health Plans. There was no ACA representative (such as  U.S. Health and Human Services Regional Director Jackie Cornell-Bechelli who manages ACA locally), nor advocates who advise and help people enroll and who are more aware of of the impact on patients for whom the ACA is designed. Nor were there individuals from large inner cities like Paterson or Newark where the need and problems are more severe. 

Fortunately, former Governor James Florio, the fourth panelist, was there to provide a broader perspective. So despite the doom and gloom from some quarters, there is good reason to celebrate this anniversary.  

2 years post-Sandy: How are we doing?

Two years ago today, Hurricane Sandy made landfall in New Jersey. More than 2 million households lost power. Almost 350,000 homes destroyed or damaged. Thirty-seven died. Gov. Chris Christie, a smart politician who’d already been criticized for failing to come back from Disney during a blizzard (with LG Gaudagno already out of state with her terminally ill father), put on a fleece and set off to redefine himself. Christie turned a moment of crisis doing nothing more or less than what his job required into a persona; the nation’s governor, fleece unwashed, brow sweaty, ready to help.

NJ05. Yup. This is now a thing:

Moderate Republicans for Roy Cho

And so is this.

The Cho campaign is calling in their chits. They want, and deserve, a big supportive crowd tonight. A skittish Scott Garrett has declined to attend a candidate forum that Roy Cho will walk into with boffo national press, polling showing him hot on Garrett’s heels, and a formal request from his state party chair for merited DCCC resources. It’s a bad week to be Scott Garrett. Al Doblin’s even reminding voters that in 2008 the debate-phobic – and, uh, tone-deaf – Garrett sent a blind Jewish man to speak for him at a temple against opponent Dennis Shulman, a blind rabbi. Awkward.

TONIGHT: 5th Congressional District Candidate Forum

7:00 – 9:00pm

Temple Israel and Jewish Community Center

475 Grove Street

Ridgewood, NJ

How’s NJTV Doing?

NJTV, the only state-wide television network, rose out of the ashes of the highly-acclaimed state-funded New Jersey Network (NJN) in mid-2010. As a news junkie and amateur pundit, I’ve been a loyal watcher of NJTV’s 6 PM newscast.

Despite the fact that the level of funding for state-wide news has gone down significantly since the demise of NJN, I’m happy that the quality of the newscasts is getting better, albeit with much more room for improvement. Anchor Mike Schneider is an excellent interviewer and he usually presents a neutral tone on even the most contentious issues in Trenton. The extended interviews with New Jersey’s movers and shakers are something that no other outlet (except Blue Jersey) currently provides across the state. The network has invested in state-of-the-art equipment that enables it to report from remote sites over conventional telephone circuits, giving reporters the opportunity to go where the news happens. The major challenge that NJTV News faces is a small staff of reporters and technical people. With all that’s happening in the state, they can’t cover as much breaking news as they should.

Of course, the nightly newscast has to compete with other news outlets like the New York and Philadelphia commercial stations, the Internet, radio, and dead-tree newspapers. A recent poll conducted by Monmouth University reported that only 25% of the New Jerseyans they questioned had watched NJTV News in 2012, down from a high of 59% who had watched its predecessor, NJN, in 1999. But when Monmouth pollster Patrick Murray asked about the quality of the newscasts, the story was a bit different. “While there has been a significant drop in the visibility and brand identity of New Jersey’s public television outlet since the transfer to NJTV, the net impact on perceived quality has been negligible for most residents”, reported Murray.

The quality and quantity of the news reported on NJTV run rings around that of the commercial stations. Recently, researchers from Seton Hall University spent five weeks watching all of the local newscasts on NJTV and the highest-rated New York and Philadelphia commercial stations, WNBC and WPVI respectively. While NJTV devotes 81% of its 30-minute time slot to straight news, WPVI devotes only 50% and WNBC devotes a mere 42%. Also, 89% of the stories on NJTV were devoted to New Jersey news, while the numbers for WPVI and WNBC were 24% and 17%. The Seton Hall team also noted that the stories on the commercial stations emphasized crime, while NJTV’s coverage was more toward politics and government.

The reports from these two institutions are chock full of more statistics, but the bottom line is that despite Governor Christie’s evisceration of a New Jersey institution 18 months ago, and despite the fact that one of the Governor’s cheerleaders, Steve Adubato, is a principal in the new organization, the news division is improving. And while the ownership of the station is out of the state’s hands, the state still holds the broadcast licenses. So let’s keep NJTV’s feet to the fire – give credit when deserved, and speak out loudly and forcefully when we think it’s falling behind its mission to serve the citizens of New Jersey.

Below the fold: Nostalgia. The sign-off of NJN with Jim Hooker and Michael Aron

Monmouth University Poll

One of our own New Jersey state colleges, Monmouth University, has continued its tradition of public service by conducting a national poll on the Presidential race (PDF). It paints the same picture as other polls: Obama leads by three among likely voters (48-45) and seven among registered voters (48-41). Why isn’t Mitt Romney more popular?  

One interpretation is that put forward by the pollster:

“If the past week was Mitt Romney’s opportunity to show how he would handle a foreign crisis, the GOP nominee did not put his best foot forward as far as voters are concerned,” said Patrick Murray, director of the New Jersey-based Monmouth University Polling Institute.

Isn’t that a nice way to put it? I myself thought the same — voters think Romney would do a bad job — until another expert came forward. Mother Jones has discovered a video where Mitt Romney explains his view of America:

There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax.

See it for yourself:

“A statistically significant drop” goes completely unreported

promoted by Rosi

Someone needs to explain this headline in the Star Ledger for me:

Gov. Christie is no less popular than he was 2 months ago, poll says

Ok, so that is the headline.  Then I went to look at the poll which supposedly “says” this and found that Christie currently has a 54% approval, where as two months ago he had a 57% approval.  And the month before that, he was at 59%. In fact, they never even mention those numbers outside the current 54% in the story. That fact did not escape Pollster Patrick Murray, who also questioned the headline, first tweeting:

54 and 57 are now the same number? | Gov. Christie no less popular than 2 months ago, poll says

Then he followed it up with this:

Except that he is, according to that poll. Down from 59% in April to 57% in May to 54% now – a statistically significant drop

Just to be clear, the pollster who does this stuff for a living says it is a statistically significant drop.  The media outlet that is supposed to report that news says it’s no change. Just sloppy.  

Power&Politics lineup features BlueJersey Blogger Jay Lassiter

If you're one of those political junkie types who can't get enough of the redistricting debate, you simply must tune into this weekend's edition of Power&Politics on News12. The show airs Saturdays AND Sundays at 10am and 3pm.

Several segments discuss the state's new Congressional boundaries, and I get a chance to weigh in as well, debating my (mostly) friendly rival, Chris Russell from South Jersey. Monmouth U. Poll-meister Patrick Murray, Montclair State political scientist Brigid Harrison, GOP lobbyist Tom Wilson and PolitickerNJ's Alan Steinberg guest star as well.