The Problem with Polls
4:32 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Who Will Vote November 5th?

Dr. Bob Holsworth

A week after a Quinnipiac poll had Democrat Terry McAuliffe with a seven-point lead over his Republican rival Ken Cuccinelli in the Virginia governor's race, the poll now says McAuliffe's lead has dwindled by three points. 

Some other polls suggest that the Democrat still has a significant lead over the Republican-with additional surveys saying that his lead is growing.  But one veteran political expert says the variation has a lot to do with who comes out to vote on election day.

 Audio FileTommie McNeil reports from Richmond.Edit | Remove

Political analyst Dr. Bob Holsworth says the problem with the polls is that some have wildly overestimated the number of voters.

"You have in some of these polls, 80-percent of the registered voters saying they're going to vote, where in reality, we know by history, it might somewhere between 40 and maybe 45 percent at the high point that's actually going to turn out."

He says while it's not reassuring to see yourself fall behind as is the case with Cuccinelli, it's no time for any candidate to throw in the towel.  But it does hurt fundraising efforts.

"You lose your capacity to gain a lot of money to put on those commercials in the last few days of the campaign."

But when there's been a trending double-digit lead as McAuliffe has had in SOME polls,

Holsworth says there could be some dangers for the Democrat, especially if his internal polling doesn't reflect the same lead.

"He doesn't want Democrats to be complacent. He doesn't want Democrats to think, 'This election's over, it doesn't mean that I have to come out."'

Libertarian Robert Sarvis still may hold the key if voters decide to stick with him--OR switch their votes to influence the outcome between the two front-runners.