Sunday, January 03, 2010

Dems go after pollsters?

Unbelievable. From Politico


Democrats are turning their fire on Scott Rasmussen, the prolific independent pollster whose surveys on elections, President Obama’s popularity and a host of other issues are surfacing in the media with increasing frequency.

The pointed attacks reflect a hardening conventional wisdom among prominent liberal bloggers and many Democrats that Rasmussen Reports polls are, at best, the result of a flawed polling model and, at worst, designed to undermine Democratic politicians and the party’s national agenda.

On progressive-oriented websites, anti-Rasmussen sentiment is an article of faith. “Rasmussen Caught With Their Thumb on the Scale,” blared the Daily Kos this summer. “Rasmussen Reports, You Decide,” the blog Swing State Project recently headlined in a play on the Fox News motto.

“I don’t think there are Republican polling firms that get as good a result as Rasmussen does,” said Eric Boehlert, a senior fellow with Media Matters, a progressive research center. “His data looks like it all comes out of the RNC [Republican National Committee].”

“Whether intended or not, Rasmussen polls have been used by conservative voices as talking points, and when that happens on one side it inevitably produces a reaction from the other,” explained Mark Blumenthal, a polling analyst and the editor and publisher of Pollster.com. “Rasmussen produces a lot of data that appear to produce narratives conservatives are promoting, and that causes a reaction.”

While Scott Rasmussen, the firm’s president, contends that he has no ax to grind — his bio notes that he has been “an independent pollster for more than a decade” and “has never been a campaign pollster or consultant for candidates seeking office” — his opponents on the left insist he is the hand that feeds conservative talkers a daily trove of negative numbers that provides grist for attacks on Obama and the Democratic Party.


Leave it to the hacks like David Brock's (the hack) "Media matters" to be idiots. If the methodology was challenged, that's one thing. This is just bitching about the numbers.

Now I don't always like the polls, but always remember one thing with a polls. At its best, it's a snapshot in time of the current political situation. It also does not measure intensity of the views. People's opinions can change.

As far as pollsters goes, It's always good to know the bias behind them and factor that into the race. That's why I always look at multiple polls. If four pollsters say the same thing, it's probably close. There's the DailyKos, Penn, Field, and NY Times poll on the left. There's Market Research and ARG on the right. There's survey usa, Gallup, Rasmussen, USAToday, Fox, and CNN in between. Mitchell and EPIC/MRA are right and left, but sometimes actually have the most unfavorable numbers for their side.

Real Clear Politics shows the most recent polls regarding job approval: First numbers are dates, then polled, then whether adults, likely voters, or registered voters are polled. One thing I noticed different with Rasmussen is that he polled only likely voters. Only Battleground (Bipartisan with one republican and one democrat) also did that.

Gallup
12/28 - 12/30
1547 A
51
42
+9
Rasmussen Reports
12/28 - 12/30
1500 LV
46
53
-7
Quinnipiac
12/15 - 12/20
1616 RV
46
43
+3
CNN/Opinion Research
12/16 - 12/20
1160 A
54
44
+10
NBC News/Wall St. Jrnl
12/11 - 12/14
1008 A
47
46
+1
Associated Press/GfK
12/10 - 12/14
1001 A
56
42
+14
USA Today/Gallup
12/11 - 12/13
1025 A
49
46
+3
ABC News/Wash Post
12/10 - 12/13
1003 A
50
46
+4
Pew Research
12/9 - 12/13
1504 A
49
40
+9
Battleground
12/6 - 12/10
1000 LV
50
45
+5
FOX News
12/8 - 12/9
900 RV
50
44
+6

Now is Rasmussen accurate? At times he's been inaccurate (2000), but I know he changed his style after that. In 2008, these were the final polls.

Marist11/03 - 11/03804 LV4.05243Obama +9
Battleground (Lake)*11/02 - 11/03800 LV3.55247Obama +5
Battleground (Tarrance)*11/02 - 11/03800 LV3.55048Obama +2
Rasmussen Reports11/01 - 11/033000 LV2.05246Obama +6
Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby11/01 - 11/031201 LV2.95443Obama +11
IBD/TIPP11/01 - 11/03981 LV3.25244Obama +8
FOX News11/01 - 11/02971 LV3.05043Obama +7
NBC News/Wall St. Jrnl11/01 - 11/021011 LV3.15143Obama +8
Gallup10/31 - 11/022472 LV2.05544Obama +11
Diageo/Hotline10/31 - 11/02887 LV3.35045Obama +5
CBS News10/31 - 11/02714 LV--5142Obama +9
ABC News/Wash Post10/30 - 11/022470 LV2.55344Obama +9
Ipsos/McClatchy10/30 - 11/02760 LV3.65346Obama +7
CNN/Opinion Research10/30 - 11/01714 LV3.55346Obama +7
Pew Research10/29 - 11/012587 LV2.05246Obama +6


The final number was Obama +7. Not dead on, but he was close. 1 pt off is real good and within the margin of error. If you go with the runup before the election, there were several 9-10-11% leads for Obama, and it wasn't that far apart.

2004 Rasmussen was very close.

10/31 - 11/1
50%
46%
Bush +4
10/30 - 11/1
50.2%
48.5%
Bush +1.7
10/30 - 11/1
46.9%
44.3%
Bush +2.6
10/30 - 10/31
46%
48%
Kerry +2
10/29 - 10/31
49%
47%
Bush +2
10/28 - 10/30
50%
47%
Bush +3
10/28 - 10/30
48%
49%
Kerry +1
10/27 - 10/29
51%
45%
Bush +6

TIPP was the champ by margin, but Rasmussen was only 1/2 a percent off of Bush's numbers and .3% off on Kerry's numbers. That's good work for a pollster. One thing good about the Real Clear Politics site is that they show a large number of the polls and average them, and also compare them.

State polls are tougher, but here's the polls here. The final result was McDonnell by 17 and Christie by 4 with the independent taking almost 6%

SurveyUSA10/30 - 11/1574 LV5840McDonnell +18
Times-Dispatch/MD10/28 - 10/29625 LV5341McDonnell +12
Rasmussen Reports10/27 - 10/271000 LV5441McDonnell +13
Daily Kos/R200010/26 - 10/28600 LV5444McDonnell +10
Suffolk University10/26 - 10/28400 LV5440McDonnell +14

Monmouth/Gannett10/31 - 11/1722 LV41438Corzine +2
SurveyUSA10/30 - 11/1582 LV454210Christie +3
Quinnipiac10/27 - 11/11533 LV424012Christie +2
Rasmussen Reports10/29 - 10/291000 LV46438Christie +3
Stockton/Zogby10/27 - 10/291093 LV394014Corzine +1


He was off in Virginia (towards the dem), but close in Jersey. One thing about pollsters, you can always judge them by their final results.

Politico also said this.

Last year, the progressive website FiveThirtyEight.com’s pollster ratings, based on the 2008 presidential primaries, awarded Rasmussen the third-highest mark for its accuracy in predicting the outcome of the contests. And Rasmussen’s final poll of the 2008 general election — showing Obama defeating Arizona Sen. John McCain 52 percent to 46 percent — closely mirrored the election’s outcome. 

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