November 15, 1988

The People, the Press & Politics – Survey VII

November Post-Election Typology Survey

Report Summary

This is the seventh in a series of national surveys commissioned by Times Mirror to assess the American electorate. …

This survey deals with the choices voters mad on November 8.  It utilizes the typology to gauge opinions of the candidates, important campaign and policy issues that determined vote choice, and assessments of the campaign.

For this survey, telephone interviews were administered in the days after the election to 2,022 registered voters who had previously been interviewed in September and October and 303 registered voters who were interviewed in January.  A total of 146 non-voters were interviewed.

For all intents and purposes George Bush’s winning coalition was in place by the second week in September.  While our surveys showed a fair degree of offsetting change within Democratic groups between September and October, the overall patterns of support first identified in September persisted through Election Day.  …. Most of the volatility and indecision in the later stages of the campaign occurred among Democratically-oriented voters.  They decided later and they did so with more reservations than Republicans.  Among those who decided in the last week of the campaign, support tipped to Dukakis 60% to 40% but for the vast majority of voters who decided earlier in the campaign, the division of opinion was just the opposite — 50% for Bush and 42% for Dukakis.  In that regard, our re-interview analysis showed that about equal percentages of voters switched horses when we consider their reported vote relative to the preferences they expressed in September and October.  But those who switched to Dukakis did so in the final days, while most Bush switchers decided earlier in the campaign.