Dick Bennett of American Research Group:
Did Scott Spradling’s question to Hillary Clinton about likability in the Democratic debate on Saturday night and her “emotional” response to a question in Portsmouth on Monday help her rebound from a drop in support among women following the Iowa Democratic caucus and propel her to victory in the New Hampshire primary?
While we missed the final number that Clinton would make in New Hampshire, our polling was one of only two daily polls that showed Clinton regaining support following her drop in New Hampshire the day after the Iowa Democratic caucus. Clinton was moving up in the final days and hours before the primary, and our polls and the Rasmussen polls were the only daily polls to catch Clinton’s rebound. The Suffolk University, UNH, and Zogby polls all had Clinton trending down as primary day approached.
Our polling showed Clinton at 35% on January 1-3 (before Iowa), 26% on January 4-5, 28% on January 5-6, and 31% on January 6. Clinton stopped her slide in New Hampshire when women age 45 to 64 started to return following the Saturday debate.
Spradling’s likability question and Clinton’s emotional moment received repeated coverage in New Hampshire…
John Edward’s piled on by saying: “I think what we need in a commander-in-chief is strength and resolve, and presidential campaigns are tough business, but being president of the United States is also tough business.” Edwards paid the biggest price in lost support as married men 50 and older left him to vote for Clinton with their wives (I would love to have heard those discussions).
On primary day, Clinton’s support snapped back to her mid-December levels among women (44% in our December 16-19 survey, 46% in the NH exit poll) after dropping as low as 31% among women in our New Hampshire survey the day after Iowa.
Hillary Clinton won back women in New Hampshire because Spradling’s question and Clinton’s emotional response were so heavily reported. Our polls missed the final Clinton number, but we did not miss the strong swing back among women reacting favorably to Clinton that started after the debate and continued with her comments in Portsmouth. We did not have a polling problem, we just ran out of time.
The slap at other pollsters is gratuitous — and particularly unfair in the case of UNH, which didn’t do any polling on Monday (that is, they stopped polling before Hillary cried). The argument that the election was swung late does make sense, though.
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