“Patrick Murray needs to go back to school”

~ Governor Chris Christie on NJ101.5’s Ask the Governor, September 29, 2010

Monmouth University’s CD-6 poll has math errors!

By Art Gallagher

Turns out that Governor Christie was right about Patrick. Not just because Murray polled non-voters in his approval poll of the governor. Murray’s math is wrong in the CD-6 poll he released on Tuesday.

As much as I have enjoyed the kudos I have received since Murray said he revised his numbers based on upon my assumptions, I don’t fully deserve them. I challenged Murray’s assumptions about the demographics of the district. It never occurred to me to check his arithmetic.

Fortunately, it did occur to an MMM reader, Bill Wolstromer of Colts Neck.

Refer to Murray’s numbers on page 2 of his press release.

Compare Murray’s math to Wolstromer’s email to Murray:

From: wolstromer AT aol.com
To: pdmurray At monmouth.edu
Sent: Thu, Oct 7, 2010 2:48 pm

Mr Murray,
I have a number of questions about this poll, starting with the numbers not adding up.  If you simply multiply the responses for each group by their candidate preference, the result is Pallone-51.2%, Little-42.5%, Undecided-6.3%, a margin of 8.7% NOT 12%.  Additionally, if the Undecided voters break according to their party affiliation, the gap narrows to 8.4%.  Have you tricked the numbers to show Republicans and independents being less likely to vote than Democrats?  Highly unlikely in this environment
Bill Wolstromer
View Bill Wolstromer’s math here.




Doing the math, Murray’s original poll release should have announced a 9% margin between Frank Pallone and Anna Little. Not the 12% margin that was announced.  That’s a 25% difference.


Murray has yet to respond to Wolstromer’s email, or to my phone call this morning seeking comment or clarification.


Murrary owes an explanation to the media and the people of New Jersey who have come to rely upon him as a credible pollster.



Posted: October 8th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Monmouth University Poll, Patrick Murray | Tags: , | 1 Comment »

One Comment on ““Patrick Murray needs to go back to school””

  1. Patrick Murray said at 8:10 pm on October 8th, 2010:

    The problem with the so-called math error is that you are using unweighted sample sizes (which pollsters use to estimate error) to back into the horse race numbers, rather than using the weighted adjustments to the subgroups upon which our final numbers are based. You can find those weighted adjustment in our methodology statement (which Art originally did, but Bill didn’t). The difference between what unweighted and weighted “n sizes” is something that every pollster DOES learn in polling school. And since we adhere to principles of full disclosure, we give both the unweighted and weighted information. Unfortunately, it is lack of public knowledge about polling principles that lead many other pollsters to withhold disclosure, so they can avoid uninformed critiques. We at Monmouth believe that all our data should be out there. Art’s original criticism of our voter turnout model is a fair one, since no one knows what Nov. 2’s electorate will look like and I responded to that by re-running our numbers using his assumptions and providing that data. This criticism, however, is just plain wrong.