I have a client who is running a district where he is the Republican candidate.
We conducted a survey of the district that showed that both my candidate and his opponent have low name recognition. What was a concern was that everyone had a favorable impression of the Democrat.
I finally got in the full data. It gave me my laugh for the day. Well over 90% of those who thought favorably of the Democrat said they thought so highly of her because “she is the Republican and I always vote Republican.” Likewise with my guy, he had, among those who had heard of him, extremely high favorables because he was known as the Republican. In fact, of those who disliked my guy and the opponent, the standard response was that they were the Democrat.
Moral of the story: If you can afford it, ask an open ended favorable/unfavorable question. Had I picked characteristics to ask people about, I would have never asked people what they thought about my candidate, the Democrat, since he is not the Democrat.
As it was, we could trace through the survey. When the people who thought the opponent was a Republican found out the opponent was a Democrat, they said they’d vote for my guy overwhelmingly. The poor opponent. She should have figured out that, considering every statewide and federal Republican has won the district in the past four years, she might should have qualified as a Republican.