Recent polling shows Rep. Steve Knight, R-Palmdale, leading his 25th Congressional District challenger Katie Hill by approximately four percentage points as the Nov. 6 election draws near.
The New York Times and the Siena College Research Institute conducted two polls by phone, one from Oct. 25-28 and one from Sept. 17-19, in which they phoned residents of the 25th District — which includes the Santa Clarita Valley — to gauge which way they were leaning toward casting their ballots.
In Siena College’s October poll, Knight led Hill 48 to 44 percent for voting likelihood out of a polled 500 people. The margin of error was about five percentage points, according to poll data. If the poll had looked at everyone in the 25th Congressional District, it could have easily tipped the scales in either candidate’s favor, said Don Levy, director of the Siena College Research Institute.
The newesr poll show Knight pulling a bit further ahead of Hill compared to an earlier poll. Siena College’s September poll revealed Knight polling at 47 percent and Hill at 45 percent, with a similar margin of error to the October poll.
Another poll from earlier in October reported conflicting results. A UC Berkeley Institute for Governmental Studies poll released by the Los Angeles Times on Oct. 4 showed Hill was leading the district 50 percent to Knight’s 46 percent, according to the poll’s data.
The Berkeley IGS poll uses publicly available email addresses from registered voters to send a message asking if they would be willing to take an online survey about the election. This provides a random sample of voters who have registered according to county records and frequently vote, and the individual’s demographics are also easy to track, according to institute Director Mark DiCamillo.
Hill led women by 53 percent to Knight’s 44 percent in the Berkeley IGS poll, DiCamillo said, which Levy said was also consistent with the Siena College poll findings.
The Berkeley poll surveyed 5,090 voters in the 25th congressional district from Sept. 16 to 23, according to the poll data. Their margin of error is similar to that of the Siena College poll — four to six percentage points.
The Siena College poll surveyed around 500 voters each time by phone, but it weighted voter likelihood and education within its findings.
“We’re calling a list of voters, and what we do differently is we compute a probability based on prior voting history as to whether someone will or will not vote,” Levy said. “When we call them, we also ask them to what degree they intend to vote. And we merge their stated probability with their computed probability, and we combine that likelihood to vote as a way to understand what may happen in that district. We weight frequent voters more heavily, compared to intermittent voters who claim they will likely vote.”
The Siena College poll puts weight on the likelihood to vote and voters’ educational levels. Democrats are more likely to vote if they have a master’s degree or higher while those without a college education tend to vote Republican, Levy said.
About 60 percent of voters in the 25th District do not have a bachelor’s degree, and about 40 percent do.
In the 25th District, people over age 45 are trending toward voting Republican, while those in ages 18-29 are trending toward voting Democratic. Around 55 percent of those in the age bracket of 18-29 said they’d vote for Katie Hill. Voters age 65 and older, who make up one-fourth of the district, they say they’re voting for the Republican Party candidate at a rate of 58 percent, with 35 percent saying they would cast a vote for Hill, Levy said.
The youth vote is unpredictable because they do not have a proven voting record, but the Siena College poll weights them as a high probability to vote. If Hill can utilize the youth vote, she could win the election, he said.
Democrats need to flip 23 seats to become the new House majority. The election outcome, Levy said, will come down to turnout and whether there is a major last-minute event to change people’s minds.
“You’re talking about swaying a couple of percentage points to have an effect,” he said. “It could go either way, but this is the kind of district I’ll be watching closely on Election Night.”