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What's the diff. between likely voters and registered voters?

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napi21 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 05:27 PM
Original message
What's the diff. between likely voters and registered voters?
I hear this diff. made all the time in polls and there's always a diff in the results.
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kiahzero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 05:29 PM
Response to Original message
1. Registered voters is everyone who has paperwork on file
Likely voters are the people who will probably get themselves to the polls.
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gristy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 05:31 PM
Response to Original message
2. Likely voters are likely to vote. Registered voters are registered to vote
Kinda self-explanatory.
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troublemaker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 05:36 PM
Response to Original message
3. I think what the poster wants to know
Edited on Thu May-06-04 05:37 PM by troublemaker
is how pollsters distinguish them. They use things like 'did you vote in the last election' and whether the pollee knows where her local polling place is... stuff like that. Everyone uses their own formula.
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gristy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 05:40 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. can't you just let me be snide in peace?
troublemaker... :D
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Feanorcurufinwe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 05:49 PM
Response to Original message
5. Highly subjective distinction.

In theory, polls of 'likely voters' are more accurate -- but only if the pollster can really figure out who is likely to vote -- something of which I am very sceptical. In practice, this becomes a highly subjective criteria.
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napi21 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 05:59 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. Thanks everybody.
I suspect the subjectivity is at least one of the reasons poll results vary so much. The quesstion of did you vote in the last election isn't a very good indicator because some people only vote if they are really enamoured with a particular candidate, and some won't vote at all if they don't like their parties candidate but won't cross lines to vote for the opposition.
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Piperay Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-07-04 04:57 AM
Response to Reply #5
8. I think they ask them if
they have been following the campaign, know the issues and are planning on voting in the coming election but I agree it is hard to distinguish realistically who is actually going to vote.
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tritsofme Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 07:00 PM
Response to Original message
7. It depends on who conducts the polls,
Edited on Thu May-06-04 07:01 PM by tritsofme
Sometimes they will outright ask if you plan on voting in the next election, and how likely it is you will do so.

They also might ask if you voted in the last election.

It is an important difference because only about 50% of the voting age population votes, and only somewhere around 80% of registered voters will vote in a presidential election.

This is why polls that have solid methods of picking out the voters most likely to go to the polls on election day are the most reliable.
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caffefwee Donating Member (475 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-09-04 08:22 PM
Response to Original message
9. There is a difference
But it's of no relevance. Bush's thugs will find a way to alter the outcome again. Karl Rove has something cooking I'm sure.
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Josh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-09-04 09:39 PM
Response to Original message
10. Conventional wisdom is that likely voters are more accurate in a race -
but I read an opinion piece that this election will be decided by voters who DIDN'T vote at the last election (particularly on the left, as Bush hadn't yet done the things that they now want to vote heavily against) rather than those who did. Thus in the polling we see, it may be more prescient to look at the "registered voters" and for whom they will vote.
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mobuto Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-16-04 08:26 PM
Response to Reply #10
14. Well, its complicated
Because no two people can agree on what constitutes a likely voter. When you see, for example, a Zogby poll predicting the voting of "likely voters," Zogby ISN'T looking at 2000 voters, he's making a guess as to who will be likely to vote this year. Is he right? Is he wrong? Is Gallup's formula better? That's what's very hard to say. But in theory, likely voter polls should be more accurate than registered polls. Whether that theory reflects reality is another question.
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caffefwee Donating Member (475 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-16-04 12:40 PM
Response to Original message
11. Rob Reiner was on C Span this morning
He said you can't think of it as a 50-50 race. You have to think landslide. Bush will win or lose in a landslide which means he's more likely to lose because there's no way the whole country is going to vote for him, according to Reiner's thinking.
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Chango Donating Member (287 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-16-04 01:03 PM
Response to Original message
12. My explanation
Edited on Sun May-16-04 01:04 PM by Chango
"Likely" voters are those who have been identified by some means as having the highest propensity to show up to vote - on average. This is biased towards Republicans because of class distinctions that make it easier for them to show up. If lower class constiutents of Democrats are highly motivated to vote - as it appears they are this year - the "likely" classification is out the window.
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caffefwee Donating Member (475 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-16-04 07:44 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. Don't forget
They make it harder for others to show up. Florida 2000 was a perfect example.
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