Thursday, July 1, 2010

Poll Showing Reid Up May Be Bogus

Here's something you don't see every day: The liberal blog site Daily Kos is accusing its own polling firm, Research 2000, of "fabricating or manipulating" poll results in such a way to make news and shape races. Kos founder Markos Moulitsas wrote on Tuesday:

“While the investigation didn't look at all of Research 2000 polling conducted for us, fact is I no longer have any confidence in any of it, and neither should anyone else. I ask that all poll tracking sites remove any Research 2000 polls commissioned by us from their databases. I hereby renounce any post we've written based exclusively on Research 2000 polling.”

Research2000 president Del Ali is denying any wrongdoing or number-fixing.

Politico's report this morning on this matter focuses on the firm's polls showing Lt. Gov. Bill Halter up over Ark. Sen. Blanche Lincoln in the June run-off in which she won and it seemed like a surprise. And in two pieces on the matter, Politico also pointed out curiosities in two other races, an Alabama Democratic primary for governor that showed one candidate up by 7 points a week before he lost by 24 points and another showing Carly Fiorina losing by 15 points a couple weeks before she won by 34 points to capture the Republican nomination for Senate in California.

But none of these reports noted the Nevada twist, the fact that Research2000 was also responsible for the widely disseminated and reported poll that appeared the week before the GOP primary that showed Sen. Harry Reid leading Sue Lowden, Danny Tarkanian and Sharron Angle. Here's Kos' raw data, and here's some of the headlines from (in order) the Huffington Post, Talking Points Memo and the Examiner:

The only news outlet to examine this that I could find was the Daily Caller, which noted that it's that Daily Kos poll that is keeping Reid appearing a lot closer than he may actually be to Sharron Angle in popular Real Clear Politics's tracking poll average. She's presently shown as ahead in by about 1.3 points, but remove the Kos/Research2000 poll and she's suddenly got an average 5 percentage point lead. That shows that just one poll with out-of-the-mainstream results can have a pretty dramatic impact and can make a race seem a lot closer than it is. That influences donors and press coverage, of course.

Interestingly, the Vegas media appears not to have bit on this one even though all have reported on Research2000 results extensively in the past. The Las Vegas Sun didn't note the Reid-leading element of the poll in its Angle-surging piece and the Review-Journal blog ignored the Reid-leading bit in referring to the poll's show of Brian Sandoval's growing strength over Gov. Jim Gibbons and Democrat Rory Reid. I can't be sure because his archives aren't online or searchable, but I have it in the back of my mind that Jon Ralston was dismissive in his daily email blasts. Nevada News Bureau noted the poll but did not analyze it.

To be fair, on some of the other races the Research2000 poll turned out pretty close to accurate. Sandoval crushed Gibbons 55-27, and the poll had predicted 48-27. Angle crushed Lowden and Tarkanian 40-26-23, and their poll had predicted it would be 34-25-24. Those variations can easily be explained by surging momentum in the closing days of the campaign that lifted Angle and Sandoval a little higher yet.

Meanwhile, the Huffington Post has now attached this startling notice to the top of their coverage of the poll:

EDITOR'S NOTE: The story below includes references to polling conducted by the firm Research 2000. The reliability and accuracy of Research 2000's polling has since been called into serious question by a report published in June 2010 by a group of statistical analysts.



Chris Reed said...

Should I live in fear in the fact a majority of Nevadans want to eliminate social security and medicare, end funding for education and have an armed insurrection... As well as give Nevada a Michelle Bachmann-style senator that the rest of the nation will laugh at?

atdnext said...


Not too much. Sure, we can't really take anything for granted... But Sharrontology looks to be committing sabotage on her own campaign by trying to hide all her extremist positions that were so easily discovered via Google searches. We'll have to see what happens in the next few weeks.

And btw, I guess there's really no accurate polling of the Senate race then. Rasmussen consistently shows a "pro-GOP house effect", and they have a weird pattern of showing big leads for Republicans in competitive races until the last minute... If other polls show a tight race or a Democrat leading, all of a sudden Ras' polling falls into line with the rest. And of course, I don't even have to go into details on the not-so-trustworthy "paper that shall not be named" "polls".

So honestly, until a reputable pollster comes here and releases trustworthy numbers, we don't really know where they stand. said...

@Chris Reed

Nice spin, but across the board the anti-Reid sentiment seems to rest on the fact (as they perceive it) that Harry has not done much to help Nevada. Despite being the third most powerful person in the U.S.

I have already predicted that the race will be so close that it could end up in the range of Reid vs. Ensign (when it came down to less than 500 votes).

Angle is extreme, no question (even if you distort her views -- you can't say she wants to eliminate education funding with a straight face). But... Reid is distant. A guy who was busy passing a health care bill that won't do anything for a few years (and that most polls showed Nevadans didn't favor in a majority) while Nevada crashed and burned.

Side Note: Neither Reid nor Angle had anything to do wit our unemployment rate. We all know that. I'm just noting public perception.

Not saying that the above is a valid argument for Nevadans turning away from him. Just noting what the public perception may be.

At the end of the day, we all have a front seat on what will be the most interesting political race Nevada may have ever seen. Going to be a hell of a ride!

atdnext said...


"you can't say she wants to eliminate education funding with a straight face"

Actually, we can. She's said it herself. Her own web site (pre-RNC/NRSC scrubbing) boasted of her record of trying to decimate public education to promote home schooling and private school vouchers.

"Nice spin, but across the board the anti-Reid sentiment seems to rest on the fact (as they perceive it) that Harry has not done much to help Nevada"

Actually, that is spin. Talk to any of these state's other powerful pols, and whether they are Democrats or Republicans, they will likely admit Harry Reid has worked with them in some way to steer federal funds for Nevada and/or change federal policy in a way to make it more favorable for the state's casinos and mining interests. In fact, Senators from other states often complain about Reid's advocacy for us, whether it be Yucca Mountain or Medicaid funding.

I've said this elsewhere, and I might as well say it here. Is Reid doing too much or too little? It seems Angle and her friends want to have it both ways, complaining about "Reid doing too much" while simultaneously saying "Reid isn't doing enough". So which is it?

And btw, because of the deal Reid made with Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the health care legislation includes millions of dollars of funding for new community health centers in Nevada. Not to mention, the legislation also has provisions for more Medicare and Medicaid funding here, along with all the other nationwide reforms (no pre-existing condition discrimination, insurance subsidies, etc.) coming online soon. And when asked if they want these policies repealed, more and more Nevadans are saying no to that.

"At the end of the day, we all have a front seat on what will be the most interesting political race Nevada may have ever seen. Going to be a hell of a ride!"

True. We can all agree on that. And fingers crossed, I'm increasingly confident our fellow Nevadans will make the right decision IMHO. Don't get me wrong, Reid has pissed me off at times with his opposition to strong gun safety legislation, fair mining taxation, and a few other things. However, I just can't stand by and let someone as unhinged as Angle slip in. She accepts money from religious right and corporate right extremists who want to "execute homosexuals and abortionists", don't accept the common knowledge of President Obama being born here, and advocate the complete dismantling of the social safety net.

Derek Washington said...

Angle's bizarre blend of theories and views should make even the mosr ardent Republican quake in fear. Evidence of this already happening is the huge numbers of prominent Republicans who have signed on to "Republicans for Reid". Of course, it's passion and fear that will rule in November, The passion of the Teabaggers and the Fear of everyone else.

Hopefully, fear will win out.

I never thought I would say that, but, as a Gay Black man, an Angle in DC just plain freaks me the hell out!