SurveyUSA: Election Oracle or Useless Speculation?

SurveyUSA released its latest poll in the Seattle mayor's race yesterday and it shows Joe Mallahan pulling ahead of no-longer-tunnel-hating-though-still-upset-about-it Mike McGinn. If the election were today, the King 5-sponsored poll declared, Mallahan would get a 43 percent of the vote and McGinn would receive 36 percent. 21 percent of us Seattleites are apparently still undecided (aka, people who can't believe we voted Nickels out of office in favor of two guys with zero political experience).

Jim Brunner at the Times speculates that the poll might explain McGinn's big flip on the tunnel. The polling was done up to the day of McGinn's announcement that he would support the agreement the city inked with other local and state governments to commence the big dig. So this poll wouldn't show any reaction to that, as Brunner and others have pointed out.

But it's also worth noting that it might not show anything of much use even if it had included McGinn's announcement. In a poll released one day before the primary, when many people had already cast their ballots, SurveyUSA determined that Nickels would win with 26 percent of the vote. The findings had Mallahan in second at 22 percent and McGinn in third at 21 percent.

McGinn was beyond the 3.9 percent margin of error and then went ahead and won the thing.

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