When it comes to political imagery, seeing shouldn’t always be believing. Case in point is an image recently tweeted by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, misrepresenting himself to make his polling lead over GOP rival David Perdue appear larger than it actually is in a hypothetical matchup. general election with Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams.
according to a recent survey of Emerson College/The Hill, Kemp leads former US Sen. Perdue in the Republican gubernatorial primary race by 11 percentage points, 43% to 32%, with 17% still undecided.
In an April 7 tweet, Kemp used that same poll to try to show that he, too, is a much safer bet than Perdue to beat Abrams in a general election.
Survey after survey shows that our campaign is the STRONGEST against Stacey Abrams this fall. Let’s keep the momentum going and keep Georgia red! pic.twitter.com/F40pS4ZcLN
— Brian Kemp (@BrianKempGA) April 7, 2022
The Emerson College poll, conducted April 1-3, found that in a hypothetical November general election matchup, Kemp leads Abrams by 7 percentage points, 51% to 44%, with 5% undecided. In a race between Abrams and Perdue, the poll found Perdue leading Abrams by 5 percentage points, 49% to 44% with 7% undecided.
In his tweet, Kemp cites this survey as evidence that “our campaign is the STRONGEST against Stacey Abrams this fall.”
As we said, the poll indicates that Kemp would beat Abrams by 2 percentage points more than Perdue. But look at the charts side by side in the tweet. At first glance, it would seem that the difference in performance against Abrams is more substantial than it really is.
—Jacob Rubashkin (@JacobRubashkin) April 7, 2022
This is what a scaled representation of that survey should look like:
Kemp’s lead over Abrams, compared to Perdue’s, is even less impressive when you factor in the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
“The margin of error allows you to predict with 95% certainty how much the population will support each candidate”, patricia moy, a political communication scholar at the University of Washington, told us via email. “Given the numbers depicted in the image, you can be 95% confident that: 41-47% of registered Georgia voters will support Abrams; 46-52% will support Perdue; and 48-54% will support Kemp.”
“The overlap makes it impossible to say who is stronger,” said Moy, who is president of the American Association for Public Opinion Research. “Numerically, the difference between Kemp and Perdue could be as much as a 4% advantage for Perdue (high end, 52%, for him, vs. 48% for Kemp) or an 8% advantage for Kemp (54% Kemp, 46% lost).”
More troubling, he said, is “the visual misrepresentation of how Abrams’ bar of 44% is rendered closer to 30%” against Kemp.
Just a reminder to our readers, when it comes to political advertising, don’t always believe what your eyes are telling you.
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