|8) North Dakota||175.6%||101|
|12) South Dakota||168.3%||110|
|18) West Virginia||163.4%||197|
|21) New Hampshire||155.6%||200|
|24) New Jersey||145.3%||962|
|35) New Mexico||116.6%||161|
|36) South Carolina||109.3%||389|
|46) North Carolina||73.5%||601|
|49) New York||45.8%||587|
As you might guess just by looking at the results, there's no statistically significant correlation between 2012 results and the apparent R-I sampling discrepancies for 2016. No blatant partisan slant is apparent in the ranking.
You'd be forgiven for assuming that because the big three electorally-safe states of California, Texas, and New York are severely undersampled, R-I is intentionally pulling more heavily from swing states and less so from uncontested ones. But rounding out the bottom and coming in just ahead of these three are Florida, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Ohio. These are arguably the four most determinative swing states in the whole election and yet they, too, are substantially undersampled.
The final column in the table includes the actual number of survey responses by state in anticipation of the objection that it's as easy to accurately sample California when n = 1,000 as it is to sample Delaware when n = 1,000.
Lacking said information that would be a reasonable objection. As presented above, however, it's clear that there is no sample size threshold being striven for in the sampling methodology. Four of the states had insufficient samples for R-I to even show individual results, with an average of 51 people polled in each of them during the three month period, while Oregon had 683 and Minnesota 862 sampled over the same time frame.
As noted in a previous post, R-I weights its results based on four characteristics--education, sex, age, and ethnicity. The poll doesn't weight by geographic location.
Yet this isn't the result of random sampling, either, even though there is a moderate correlation (.60) between R-I sample size and a state's total number of voters. There's no way California, with a population 10 times that of Oregon, only gets 561 participants to Oregon's 683. The chances of that happening randomly approach zero.
So that you don't feel as though you've wasted five minutes reading inconclusive blather, here's Z-Man pithily summing up the take-home message regarding the R-I poll in particular and polling on the 2016 presidential race in general:
My theory for a while is that it is not so much chicanery at work as confusion. The old models are not proving useful. Polling outfits cannot admit that as it invalidates their reason to exist. The natural response is to huddle around the coin flip range. They keep tweaking their models and sampling to get closer to that comfortable zone of a tie. All of them seem to be drifting to that happy place. If all the pollsters declare the race too fluid to call, then no one gets blamed.One caveat: While there's clearly a lot of uncertainty as to what the final results are going to be, polling outfits are not above trying to bring about self-fulfilling prophecies. The needle they're trying to thread is to demoralize the Trump Train as much as possible and then as time runs out shift closer to a coin toss to save face.