The El Paso Tribune - El Paso Texas Political Commentary
Predicting the City Elections Through Polls
May 2, 2005 - Martín Paredes
The El Paso Times finally took heed about its electoral polling and published a poll that was more reflective of the actual political landscape of the city. In a copyrighted poll commissioned by the El Paso Times and KVIA, the poll included the traditional sample of all registered voters, but this time the poll also polled “likely voters” giving the electorate a more clear snapshot of the election. But will the actual results mirror the final results on election night?

The problem with polling is that of the “universe to be polled”. In the case of El Paso, the “actual” or “likely” voter is a small subset of the number of registered voters. El Pasoans just do not vote on city elections as indicated by the dismal turnout an average of less than 20% on city elections. In a statistical model, the universe ultimately determines the accuracy of the results. In the case of the city, the universe of the all the voters versus those that actually vote is much larger ultimately skewing the number of those that determine the outcome. For example, in the case of the Times’ poll, the sampling of the whole universe, the registered voters ultimately skew the results because 80% of the sample is unlikely to vote. Polling those that actually vote gives a more accurate result in that those individuals are likely to vote on Election Day.

Although the Times’ pollsters stated that the “likely” voter universe was taken from the last eight years of elections, the model still leaves a margin of error of 8 points. This is because the sample taken from the universe is too small to give a higher accuracy result. Regardless, the Times’ poll still gives results within the same margin of results other polls made available to the El Paso Tribune have given in the Mayoral race.

Interestingly, the polls made available to the El Paso Tribune show a smaller margin of victory for the incumbent, Mayor Wardy. For the two closest challengers, John Cook and Carmen Rodriguez, the results by both the El Paso Times and those made available to the El Paso Tribune are 10% for Rodriguez and a variance of 2% for Cook. According to the El Paso Times’ results, John Cook is polling at 22% of the likely voter whereas he is polling 24% in the polls made available to the El Paso Tribune. Perez is at 2% for both polls.

Mathematically the results of the polls should mirror the end results of the election for the Mayor’s race although the margin of error in the polls could result in a runoff, unlikely as it may be. With a showing of less than 10% by the Caballero champion, Carmen Rodriguez’, 10% may spell doom for the other Caballero slate members. The last election was about the repudiation of the Caballero modus operandi of visions of illusions funded by the taxpayers of the community. Those that vote know this and their votes reflect the fact that the actual voters of the city want responsible government centered on realities rather than illusions. All indications are that the Caballero troika is about to feel the humiliation of defeat, yet once again.

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