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Rasmussen Reports, You Decide

by: DavidNYC

Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 10:02 PM EST

In the last few weeks, Rasmussen Reports - already among the most prolific pollsters - has released a torrent of new senate and gubernatorial polls. While political junkies might instinctively be grateful for all the data, partisans have to be concerned about Rasmussen's ability to drive the over-arching narrative. This is all the more so given widespread concerns about Rasmussen's methodology - concerns which have given rise to at least two new detailed analyses on this month, one by Mark Blumenthal and the second by Alan Abramowitz.

I personally think Rasmussen Reports has an axe to grind - their made-up way of reporting presidential favorables and their questionable non-electoral polls make me mistrustful. At the same time, we don't want to stick our heads in the sand, and's pollster ratings do indicate that Rasmussen seems to be interested in getting things right, at least as far as the horserace is concerned. So we've decided to package up the most recent Raz surveys and let 'em all at you in one blast.

CT-Sen (12/7, likely voters, 9/10 in parens):

Chris Dodd (D-inc): 35 (39)
Rob Simmons (R): 48 (49)
Other: 7 (5)
Undecided: 11 (6)

Chris Dodd (D-inc): 39 (42)
Peter Schiff (R): 40 (40)
Other: 8 (7)
Undecided: 14 (10)

Chris Dodd (D-inc): 38
Linda McMahon (R): 43
Other: 8
Undecided: 9
(MoE: ±4.5%)

CO-Sen (12/8, likely voters, 9/15 in parens):

Michael Bennet (D-inc): 37 (36)
Jane Norton (R): 46 (45)
Other: 8 (7)
Undecided: 8 (12)

Michael Bennet (D-inc): 41
Tom Wiens (R): 42
Other: 7
Undecided: 10

Michael Bennet (D-inc): 38
Ken Buck (R): 42
Other: 8
Undecided: 12

Andrew Romanoff (D): 34 (34)
Jane Norton (R): 45 (42)
Other: 7 (8)
Undecided: 15 (15)

Andrew Romanoff (D): 40
Tom Wiens (R): 41
Other: 5
Undecided: 14

Andrew Romanoff (D): 39
Ken Buck (R): 41
Other: 6
Undecided: 14
(MoE: ±4.5%)

IL-Sen (12/9, likely voters, 10/14 in parens):

Alexi Giannoulias (D): 42 (41)
Mark Kirk (R): 39 (41)
Other: 3 (4)
Undecided: 14 (13)

Cheryle Jackson (D): 39 (39)
Mark Kirk (R): 42 (43)
Other: 4 (4)
Undecided: 15 (13)

David Hoffman (D): 38 (33)
Mark Kirk (R): 42 (43)
Other: 3 (8)
Undecided: 17 (16)
(MoE: ±4.5%)

NV-Sen (12/9, likely voters, 9/14 in parens):

Harry Reid (D-inc): 43 (40)
Sue Lowden (R): 49 (50)
Other: 6 (4)
Undecided: 3 (5)

Harry Reid (D-inc): 43 (43)
Danny Tarkanian (R): 49 (50)
Other: 6 (4)
Undecided: 2 (3)

Harry Reid (D-inc): 43
Sharron Angle (R): 47
Other: 7
Undecided: 3
(MoE: ±4.5%)

OH-Sen (12/7, likely voters, 9/23 in parens):

Lee Fisher (D): 36 (40)
Rob Portman (R): 38 (41)
Other: 8 (6)
Undecided: 18 (14)

Jennifer Brunner (D): 33 (38)
Rob Portman (R): 40 (40)
Other: 7 (5)
Undecided: 20 (18)
(MoE: ±4.5%)

OH-Gov (12/7, likely voters,  9/23 in parens):

Ted Strickland (D-inc): 39 (45)
Jon Kasich (R): 48 (46)
Other: 3 (3)
Undecided: 11 (7)
(MoE: ±4.5%)

SC-Gov (12/2, likely voters, no trendlines):

Jim Rex (D): 33
Gresham Barrett (R): 39
Other: 7
Undecided: 21

Jim Rex (D): 36
Andre Bauer (R): 35
Other: 13
Undecided: 16

Jim Rex (D): 32
Henry McMaster (R): 39
Other: 10
Undecided: 19

Vincent Sheheen (D): 23
Gresham Barrett (R): 45
Other: 11
Undecided: 20

Vincent Sheheen (D): 29
Andre Bauer (R): 39
Other: 13
Undecided: 19

Vincent Sheheen (D): 26
Henry McMaster (R): 43
Other: 10
Undecided: 21
(MoE: ±4.5%)

For the final word, I'll turn things over to Jon Stewart. The ever-brights at Fox & Friends had some difficulty in retransmitting a misleadingly-worded (and dodgy) Rasmussen survey on global warming, leading Stewart to opine (at 1:50) that this poll had a margin of error of "monkey-fuck ridiculous":

Rasmussen Reports, you decide.

DavidNYC :: Rasmussen Reports, You Decide
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I take their polls with a grain of salt
I honestly do believe they purposely fudge their polls up until the last weeks of a given election in favor of republicans.  They consistently put out daily polls on Obama's favorability that are more than 5 points lower than even Fox polls.  They also distort their headlines to make republicans look better.

Agree with Chad, and I've detailed here other times...
...some of Rasmussen's more obvious problems, which I don't think Blumenthal and Abramowitz even wrote about.  I don't feel like rehashing them here, but it's safe to say reality is at least a few points better for Democrats and liberals than Rasmussen says it is, UNTIL an election gets real close at which point Rasmussen's horse race numbers magically come into line with those of other pollsters.

43, male, Indian-American, Democrat, VA-10

[ Parent ]
All I have to say
is if Mark Kirk is losing in a Rasmussen poll 11 months out, he's toast.

My thought exactly, Johnny. I actually feel good that...
...not only will we hold IL, but in the end I think we hold DE (assuming Beau Biden runs) and Gillibrand coasts against a no-name Republican.  Bennet will have a harder time, but if he runs a good campaign he wins.  Right now I'm still expecting the Senate races to be largely a wash, at least assuming Robin Carnahan, Lee Fisher, and Paul Hodes run competent campaigns.  I'm crossing my fingers and hoping against hope that Rubio can knock off Crist, but I'm VERY skeptical that will actually happen.  Florida Republican primary voters just aren't as conservative as in some other states, as illustrated by McCain and Giuliani combining for a majority in last year's presidential primary which was a CLOSED primary, no indies or Dems allowed.

43, male, Indian-American, Democrat, VA-10

[ Parent ]
Rubio is likely in my opinion to knock off Crist in the primary
Florida has its primaries in late August which gives Rubio a lot of time to keep gaining ground. The republicans in Florida's panhandle are extremely conservative and will vote enthusiastically for Rubio. This combined with the fact that Rubio has support in the Miami area will be enough to put him over the top.  

[ Parent ]
Extremely conservative but also racist
somehow I think Rubio is going to do worse than he should in Northern Florida.

[ Parent ]
You might be right
Mel Martinez underperformed in the panhandle of FL in 2004.

[ Parent ]
Rubio will beat Crist
There is nodoubt in my mind it's going to happen.  Though he could switch course and run as an independent before this thing is done.  Sadly I think Rubio will also beat Meek by a decent margin.

[ Parent ]
Alexi has started with TV ads
I'm sure that has something to do with it. Remember, he has a lot of negatives that Hoffman and Kirk will be pointing out quite often in the next  few months.  

[ Parent ]
He also has plenty money to run his own ads
Not to mention POTUS. I think it is too late for Hoffman and Kirk has his own troubles. If Alexi loses then Democrats can kiss goodbye to at least five senate seats and probably the House. Don't see it myself.

[ Parent ]
Similar to other numbers
We don't have anything to compare in Co-sen.
PPP found similar numbers in SC.
Quinnipiac found similar numbers in CT-Sen and OH-Sen, but Gov was a little closer.
NV-Sen is same as everyone else is finding.
IL-Sen is within MoE, which is what all the internals have found.  

If anything the Nevada numbers
Are more favorable to Reid than others have found. On the whole I'll give him the benefit of the doubt on state polls, maybe a shade Republican leaning, but I don't trust his issues polls one iota.

[ Parent ]
the OH-Gov polling is the scariest
I really hope they are off the mark there.

I am praying someone will prevail on Dodd to retire. He has Corzine written all over him. He's had a good, long ride, and it's time to help Ds hold this seat.

Rasmussen: Bullshit or not?

2009 Gov Races were corect.
Has to be said that Ras was accurate predicting the recent governer races. If anything their margins were smaller thant the actual results. In VA they had Deeds within the margin of error right after the thesis news broke and then Mc just kept pulling away until the final where he was up 14 (actual was about 18).

In NJ they had Christie up all summer and then fading throughout the fall. They're last poll had Christie up 3%, just below 50. Final was Christie 4% win.

Now one could argue that they wanted the Rs and it just happened but I their polling was accurate to what was going on throughout these races. Here in VA we saw Deeds squander his chance and Mc won people over. Thats what Ras polls depicted.

Instead of trying to explain bad news away, we should take this as a wake up call that D voters have to be re-energized. Before 2006 Rs tried and explain their apparent difficulties away. Ds need to take the news from the field and start reacting.

Assumption: Rasmussen "just" includes too many Rs in their likely voter screen
for a 2010 electorate.

First, while I think they're wrong, I don't know that as I don't know the true difference in voter enthusiasm.

Second, I'm hopeful that important legislation can be passed - and GOTV work can be done to bring our numbers up for 2010.

But those factors aside, if Rasmussen is reasonably consistent w/r/t their likely voter screens,

then these numbers are still useful - for trends over time.

So for these results

1) CT -  Dodd's numbers are going down a bit - but prospective opponent numbers are stable - and only Simmons is near 50. Does that mean that Dodd can still come back?

2) CO - there is no apparent poll to poll change in this race.

3) IL - David Hoffman appears to be getting traction as a serious candidate, other candidates appear stable. I assume that's a function of increasing name recognition.

4) NV - Reid's numbers are at least stable, and might be heading up a bit, while his opponents are stagnating. Don't know if that's an effect of Reid's early ads.

5) OH Sen- Portman is not gaining against either Brunner or Fisher. However, Brunner's numbers seem to be sagging.

6) OH Gov - Strickland's numbers v. Kasich seems to be getting worse. Is that a function of the economy in general and/or the unemployment rate in the state?

7) SC - this is one poll, so the lack of trendlines suggest that these numbers aren't useful - until there's a second poll on the race sometime in the future. While I think it likely that Rasmussen oversamples Rs on a national basis, I suspect that bias would be reduced in a red state.

Agree with all EXCEPT OH-GOV
This one seems more of an outlier. The favorables have Strickland in a good place and Kasich, not so much or unknown. If it was tied or Strickland down by 2 I'd buy it, but this one, not so much. It smells of outlier.

The rest, I agree with your assessments.

26, Male, Democrat, TX-26

[ Parent ]
Yeah that's what I don't get
Strickland's favorables have never been terrible given the situation in Ohio and the country as a whole.  And he's never been particularly unlikeable from a charisma standpoint.  So I severely doubt he's down 10, unless if Ohio voters are just in the mood of "well, anybody must be better than him," and are making blind assumptions.  

The Senate numbers aren't overly surprising, really for any of the states.  Illinois I think is going to be a high single digit win, maybe even 10 points.  A few ads from Obama and this one's in the bag.  Nevada isn't out of the ordinary, in fact it's not too bad for Reid.  

Chris Dodd needs to retire.  Now.  Otherwise we're going to lose a seat in a deep blue state.  

23, Male, Democrat, OH-13

[ Parent ]
SC Republicans
So they didn't poll the Republican primary in South Carolina? I get that these are inter-party match-ups, but since the real race in SC is among the Republicans (well, unless Bauer is the nominee) that would seem the more pressing matter.

Here comes another retirement - Bart Gordon.  With Tanner and Gordon gone, can the 66-year-old Lincoln Davis be far behind?


34, WM, Democrat, FL-11

goodbye TN-6
Nice knowing you before you jumped off the right end of the cliff.  

By the way, back to Dodd quickly, Charlie Cook just moved his rating for CT-Sen from Toss Up to Lean R, which is something he rarely ever does for an incumbent this early in the game.  Dude, just retire and save yourself and your party.  You're going to lose.

23, Male, Democrat, OH-13

[ Parent ]
I went shead and posted a diary on it
That seat is now easily the most likely Dem-held seat to flip.  It makes LA-06 look like an easy hold by comparison.

[ Parent ]
Charlie Cook agrees
He moved it all the way to likely Republican. LA-06 is still leans.

[ Parent ]
I keep doing that. Confusing Cao and Melancon seats. Point still stands though.

[ Parent ]
Not even Cao and Melancon
Cao is LA-02
Melancon is LA-03

[ Parent ]
He must have meant TN-06
Stop confusing me Chad! :)

[ Parent ]
He also has LA-02 as tossup and CT-Sen as leans R.  I like Cook but what rational political observer actually thinks LA-02 is more likely to flip than CT-Sen?  LA-02 is likely Dem and very close to being Solid Dem.

[ Parent ]
Has there been any polling on LA-02?
I wouldn't call it solid Dem until there is.

[ Parent ]
Oh come on
It took a super-low turnout special election run-off and one of the biggest crooks we've seen in politics to blow that race in 2008.  I don't need a poll to tell me any halfway credible Dem is going to beat Cao by >20+.  I'd be shocked if Cao breaks 40% in that race.

[ Parent ]
Is there a "halfway credible" Dem running in LA-02?
Cao did appear with President Obama in New Orleans.

[ Parent ]
State Reps. Juan LaFonta and Cedric Richmond are running

[ Parent ]
And as far as I'm aware they are both credible candidates and not incredibly corrupt.  Which means as I said, Cao has a ceiling of around 40% in a two-way race.

[ Parent ]
That clip was funny
Even though I find Colbert funnier than Stewart, when Stewart gets it right he gets it right.  

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