Hotline polling editor Steven Shepard raises a cautionary note about the Quinnipiac poll released today that shows President Obama's approval rating rising to 47 percent - which ties his high-water mark in any national poll since the summer.
Democrats shouldn't draw too many optimistic conclusions from the more-favorable numbers, thanks to a sample that included an unusually low number of Republicans -- far less than the pollster's previous national survey in October.
From Steve's poll writeup:
The sample of voters to whom Quinnipiac talked in the new poll is significantly more Democratic -- and less Republican -- than the early October survey. In the current poll, 35 percent of respondents identified as Democrats, 22 percent as Republicans and 36 percent as independents, according to data provided to National Journal Wednesday morning. In the early October poll, 31 percent of respondents were Democrats, 28 percent were Republicans and 33 percent were independents.
(For reference: In 2008, according to exit polls, 39 percent of voters identified as Democrats, 32 percent identified as Republicans and 29 percent identified as independents. In the 2010 midterm elections; the percentages of Democrats and Republicans were equal; midterm elections typically feature higher Republican turnout.)
In a phone interview Wednesday morning, Quinnipiac Poll director Doug Schwartz said his organization does not weight by party identification, and the poll's large sample size guards against over-sampling or under-sampling a certain subgroup. A review of other demographic data from the two polls shows that there were not significant discrepancies in the breakdowns by age, gender, geographical region or race across the surveys.
"We're very comfortable with the results," said Schwartz.