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Rasmussen is dominating the narratives through his frenetic polling.

by: spiderdem

Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 12:07 AM EST


So I've gotten the feeling that our prospects in the Senate have been sinking recently, even more so than during the last quarter of 2009.  So I asked myself, "Why do I have that feeling?"  And then I went back and looked.  The answer in more cases than not is Scott Rasmussen.

I'm not saying Rasmussen is a bad pollster.  In fact, he may just be ahead of the curve in terms of predicting what may be a dismal Democratic turnout in 2010.  But he is an incredibly frequent pollster, and his polls have dominated the narratives in many of these races as a result of their sheer frequency.  

Here are the races rated by Cook as Lean Retention or better for the challenger:

(1) ND-OPEN - Hoeven's dominance here has been tracked by several pollsters.  Not a case in point.

(2) DE-OPEN - The proposition that Castle v. Coons is a washout is based on a single Rasmussen poll taken January 25 showing a 56-27 Castle lead.  There is no other recent polling.

(3) AR-Lincoln - Ras is at least corroborated by PPP in showing Lincoln's sorry ass getting blown out.

(4) NV-Reid - Much like Arkansas, PPP corroborates Rasmussen's solid R leads.

(5) CO-Bennet - All of the gloom and doom in this race comes from two recent Rasmussen polls showing double-digit leads for Norton over Bennet.  Research 2000 actually showed a small lead for Bennet only a month ago.  

(6) PA-Specter - Again, the gloom and doom here comes from two recent Rasmussen polls showing 9-point leads for Toomey over Specter.  Quinnipiac showed an even race on December 8.

(7) IL-OPEN - Once again, the gloom and doom here comes from a single Rasmussen poll showing Kirk up 6, which was directly contradicted by a PPP poll just a week prior showing Giannoulias up 8.

(8) MO-OPEN - Yet again, more gloom and doom exclusively from Rasmussen, showing Blunt up 7 and 6.  Every non-Rasmussen poll has Carnahan ahead.

(9) OH-OPEN - Again, the narrative that Portman is winning comes from Rasmussen, although Quinnipiac had a 3-point Portman lead back in November.  

(10) NH-OPEN - Several polls have corroborated Rasmussen's high single digit lead for Ayotte over Hodes, so this is not a case in point.

(11) KY-OPEN - Like New Hampshire, Rasmussen's polling showing high single single digit leads for Republicans is corroborated by other pollsters here.

(12) IN-Bayh - The only reason that this race is viewed as competitive as far as I can see is a Rasmussen poll that showed Mike Pence up on Bayh and John Hostettler within 3.  Today, Research 2000 showed Bayh up 16 on Hostettler and 20 on Indiana-hating Dan Coats.  Cook has now moved this from Safe D to Lean D, presumably based largely on Rasmussen.

(13) CA-Boxer - Kind of like Indiana.  The main reason this race is viewed as competitive is Rasmussen's polling, starting in July when Ras showed a 4-point race with Fiorina while others showed 15 to 20 point leads.  In fairness to Ras, a recent PPIC poll showed Tom Campbell within 4, giving some corroboration for Ras's take.  But nobody else has had Fiorina closer than 8.  Cook has had this at Lean D for some time, and I suspect that was partly based on the July Rasmussen poll.

(14) CT-OPEN - Ras shows a pretty solid Blumenthal blowout, although less so than other pollsters.  Not a case in point.

I am using Wikipedia to track polling, and may be missing some polls.  Please correct me if I am mischaracterizing anything.

Of these 14 races, I would say that Rasmussen has had a stranglehold on the recent gloom and doom narratives in 7: DE, CO, PA, IL, MO, OH, and IN.  Put another way, I have been led to the subconscious belief that we are going to lose the first 6, and be in for a dogfight in IN, strictly based on Rasmussen polling.  I would also put CA in pretty close to the same category as IN, although PPIC did recently confirm a close race with Campbell at least.

I do not think this is an accident.  I do not remember this kind of frenetic pace from Rasmussen before Obama took office.  SSP recently suggested Rasmussen has gotten so prolific that he could be called "spammy."  My gut tells me Ras is getting as many polls out there as he can precisely so that he can dominate the narratives with his polls and their aggressive turnout model.  Combine this with his right wing framing on issue polling, his inexplicable use of an aggressive likely voter screen for presidential approval three years before the election, his haste to poll Republican "dream" candidates, and his frequent yucking it up with conservative talking heads, and you've got yourself a Republican cheerleader trying to influence elections rather than study them.  Again, his polls may be right.  But his transparent efforts to drive the narrative seem very partisan to me.

spiderdem :: Rasmussen is dominating the narratives through his frenetic polling.
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Interesting commentary
And I look forward to counterpoints from people more up on the various poll results than I. I'll limit myself to one tangential comment: To the extent YouGov polls have any role in any narrative, they shouldn't. Because whereas we can debate about Rasmussen, YouGov's online polls are total jokes that should be completely disregarded.

"I'm not a member of any organized political party, I'm a Democrat!"
--  Will Rogers  


I'm with you.
All online polls are a joke.

34, WM, Democrat, FL-11

[ Parent ]
Yeah
This is a good analysis, and I agree with the overall idea - Rasmussen is flooding the zone. But YouGov should be left out of this.

[ Parent ]
I totally agree
Without find very much I can add to your diary about the last poll for the closest races:

Just now, last poll from Rasmussen Reports:

CA-Sen: +4% for Boxer
CA-Gov: +4% for Brown
CO-Gov: +4% for Hickenlooper
CT-Gov: +3% for Lamont
MA-Gov: +2% for Patrick
GA-Gov: -2% for Barnes
OH-Sen: -2% for Fisher and Brunner
IL-Sen: -6% for Giannoulias
OH-Gov: -6% for Strickland
MO-Sen: -6% for Carnahan
PA-Sen: 8% for Sestak (9% for Specter)
NV-Sen: -8% for Reid
KY-Sen: -8% for Conway
AZ-Gov: -9% for Goddard
NC-Sen: -10% for Marshall
NV-Gov: -12% for R Reid
MI-Gov: -13% for Dillon
CO-Sen: -14% for Bennet
AR-Sen: -17% for Lincoln
IA-Sen: -18% for Conlin
LA-Sen: -18% for Melancon

and we can add the bid for recruit Thompson for WI-Sen race.

Just now, last poll from other pollsters:

WI-Gov: +1% for Barrett (Mellman Group)
RI-Gov: -1% for Caprio (Fleming & Associates)
ME-Gov: -3% for Mitchell (PPP)
AL-Gov: -4% for Davis (PPP)
TX-Gov: -6% for White (Research 2000)
NH-Gov: -8% for Hodes (University of NH)
FL-Gov: 9% for Sink (Fabrizio, McLaughling & Associates Republican)
SC-Gov: -9% for Rex (PPP)
PA-Gov: -10% for Wagner (Quinnipiac)
OK-Gov: -12% for Edmonson (SoonesPoll.com)
SC-Gov: -13% for Heidepriem (PPP)
FL-Sen: 18% for Meeks (Fabrizio, McLaughling & Associates Republican)

Just now, without poll still:

VT-Gov

Their fast and interested polls are taking advantage. The majority of the first level races have it last poll from Rasmussen, specially, senate races.

All swing senate races have just now it last poll from Rasmussen. Just Fabrizio, McL & Assoc. other republican pollster, poll FL-Sen (and FL-Gov) a day later than Rasmussen.

As result of that only one race for senate (CA-Sen) is between +14% and 4% for democrats and 13 senate races are between 4% and -18% for democrats (14 if you wish include the bid for recruit Thompson).

The manipulation is evident.

If you look to gubernatorial races, with much less number of polls from Rasmussen, the numbers are much more balaced.

Your diary touch a very good point. Rasmussen and republicans are winning the battle for dominate the polls by large.


Sorry by the editing problems I will try re-edit better.
Just now, last poll from Rasmussen Reports:

CA-Sen: +4% for Boxer
CA-Gov: +4% for Brown
CO-Gov: +4% for Hickenlooper
CT-Gov: +3% for Lamont
MA-Gov: +2% for Patrick
GA-Gov: - 2% for Barnes
OH-Sen: - 2% for Fisher and Brunner
IL-Sen: - 6% for Giannoulias
OH-Gov: - 6% for Strickland
MO-Sen: - 6% for Carnahan
PA-Sen: - 8% for Sestak ( - 9% for Specter)
NV-Sen: - 8% for Reid
KY-Sen: - 8% for Conway
AZ-Gov: - 9% for Goddard
NC-Sen: - 10% for Marshall
NV-Gov: - 12% for R Reid
MI-Gov: - 13% for Dillon
CO-Sen: - 14% for Bennet
AR-Sen: - 17% for Lincoln
IA-Sen: - 18% for Conlin
LA-Sen: - 18% for Melancon

and we can add the bid for recruit Thompson for WI-Sen race.

Just now, last poll from other pollsters:

WI-Gov: +1% for Barrett (Mellman Group)
RI-Gov: - 1% for Caprio (Fleming & Associates)
ME-Gov: - 3% for Mitchell (PPP)
AL-Gov: - 4% for Davis (PPP)
TX-Gov: - 6% for White (Research 2000)
NH-Gov: - 8% for Hodes (University of NH)
FL-Gov: - 9% for Sink (Fabrizio, McLaughling & Associates * Republican)
SC-Gov: - 9% for Rex (PPP)
PA-Gov: - 10% for Wagner (Quinnipiac)
OK-Gov: - 12% for Edmonson (SoonesPoll.com)
SC-Gov: - 13% for Heidepriem (PPP)
FL-Sen: - 18% for Meeks (Fabrizio, McLaughling & Associates * Republican)

Just now, without poll still:

VT-Gov

And for correct the paragraph affected:

As result of that only one race for senate (CA-Sen) is between +14% and - 4% for democrats, and they are 13 senate races are between - 4% and - 18% for democrats (14 if you wish include the bid for recruit Thompson).  


[ Parent ]
Thanks for your additions.
I was just doing Senate, but thanks for adding governors races.

34, WM, Democrat, FL-11

[ Parent ]
Just I was thinking in write something about that

Your diary is perfect for talk about this.

You see? They are new Rasmussen polls for PA-Gov, LA-Sen, MO-Sen and NH-Sen.

Rasmussen is faster than us!


[ Parent ]
Thanks, and I think you're right. Rasmussen definitely...
...has an ideological and partisan agenda, and he engineers his polling to achieve that.  I think that's been established as true in a number of ways I've pointed out at various times (e.g., choice of questions; question wording; a contrived "political class" designation; many other things).

You add to what's out there by pointing out the proliferation of polling in a favorable climate for Republicans, long before the midterms, enhances that climate itself.

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


But the problem is...
With all the criticism of Rasmussen on this site, I have yet to see one person show that his horse race polls (involving specific candidates) are consistently incorrect. In fact, I remember when Rasmussen came out with his poll of Scott Brown only behind nine points from Martha Coakley, some commentator on this site wrote that when Coakley won by double that margin, it would prove Rasmussen's bias. Guess what happened...

I have no doubt Rasmussen's issue polls are biased - that's been proven. And I think their Obama approval ratings polls are also biased. But for the horse race polls, I think Rasmussen has proven correct more often than not. You're right, he's obviously trying to influence a narrative, but so what? When PPP polls about Johnny Isakson to try to show he doesn't have high approvals, no one cares about that on this site. And really no one should, in my opinion, because the poll is what it is.

Personally, as someone who thinks SSP is one of the best political sites out there, I'd be disappointed if they started ignored Rasmussen polls.  


Until Ras shares it's likely voter screen
It cannot be trusted or taken seriously.  Sorry man it's just too obvious and the data too overwhelming: his LV screen shows disproportiontely high teabaggers compared to all other serious polls.  At the end he tailors his screen to reflect reality instaed of being a willing pawn for Publican recruiting so he can say how close he was.  He is part of the dridge fox rightwing noise machine.

Rasmussen is the Luntz of polling, he provides The rightwing with talking points in return for cash.


[ Parent ]
Again though...
You're not really proving anything against Rasmussen with this point. If you have a poll that goes up against actual election results, and shows bias, then I'd buy your argument not to take them seriously.

By the way, I should bring up one other point about this. On this site, it seems that one reason why so many people hate Rasmussen is because there's this idea that his polls establish a Republican narrative, which in turn somehow turns that narrative into reality. I don't think that's necessarily the case, or at least I don't think it's been proven. But leaving that point aside, I think as a Democratic voter, there are good things about Rasmussen as well - mainly that he serves as an early warning sign for incumbents like Evan Bayh that things may not be going so well. I don't know if most people on this site remember the 1994 election, but one thing about that election is a lot of Dem incumbents got caught by surprised (e.g. Jim Sasser of Tennessee). I think when those of us interested in the upcoming election try to decide to whom to give our support (monetary and otherwise), it might help to know who might be in trouble.

Okay, I'm done with Rasmussen, at least in this thread.  


[ Parent ]
As I said in the diary
I don't think Rasmussen is a poor or inaccurate pollster.  His results right before election day are great.

At the same time, Ras has to know that his polls months out are way more R favorable than the others, and he is flooding the media narrative with these polls.

It could mean that he's right and everybody else is wrong months prior to election day, and then they all converge as the election gets closer.  

It could also theoretically mean that he's deliberately using a more aggressive screen months out to drive a pro-Republican narrative, knowing that no-one is going to be able to contradict where the race was however many months before the election.  Then he adjusts the screen as the election nears and his result converges with other pollsters.  Candidly, the voices in my head tell me that this is probably the case, based on his known ideology and other behaviors that I mentioned in the diary.

All I'm saying is I see a pattern that makes me think that Rasmussen is trying to help trying to facilitate a favorable enviroment for Republicans.  Again, in the end results, he is as reliable a pollster as any.

34, WM, Democrat, FL-11


[ Parent ]
I don't
criticize Ras for not sharing the LV screen.  All pollsters are really reluctant to do that.  That's the proprietary "secret formula" that distinguishes one pollster from another.  

I also don't know about "in return for cash.

Based mostly on intuition, I agree though that he is part of the Fox News/talk radio/drudge Republican media machine complex and that he messes with his LV screens in the way you suggest.

34, WM, Democrat, FL-11


[ Parent ]
Updating the data (the rate of Rasmussens polls between the last polls increases every day)
FOR THE CLOSEST RACES WITH VERY LIKELY OR SURE CANDIDATES IN

Just now, last poll from Rasmussen Reports:

CA-Gov: +4% for Brown
CO-Gov: +4% for Hickenlooper
CT-Gov: +3% for Lamont
GA-Gov: - 2% for Barnes
OH-Sen: - 4% for Fisher and Brunner
IL-Sen: - 6% for Giannoulias
OH-Gov: - 6% for Strickland
NH-Gov: - 7% for Hodes
MO-Sen: - 7% for Carnahan
PA-Sen: - 8% for Sestak ( - 9% for Specter)
NV-Sen: - 8% for Reid
KY-Sen: - 8% for Conway
AZ-Gov: - 9% for Goddard
NC-Sen: - 10% for Marshall
NV-Gov: - 12% for R Reid
MI-Gov: - 13% for Dillon
CO-Sen: - 14% for Bennet
IA-Sen: - 18% for Conlin
AR-Sen: - 19% for Lincoln
PA-Gov: - 21% for Wagner
LA-Sen: - 24% for Melancon

and we can add the bid for recruit Thompson for WI-Sen race.

Just now, last poll from other pollsters:

CA-Sen: +4% for Boxer (Public Policy Institute)
MA-Gov: +2% for Patrick (PPP)
WI-Gov: +1% for Barrett (Mellman Group)
RI-Gov: - 1% for Caprio (Fleming & Associates)
ME-Gov: - 3% for Mitchell (PPP)
AL-Gov: - 4% for Davis (PPP)
TX-Gov: - 6% for White (Research 2000)
FL-Gov: - 9% for Sink (Fabrizio, McLaughling & Associates * Republican)
SC-Gov: - 9% for Rex (PPP)
OK-Gov: - 12% for Edmonson (SoonerPoll.com)
SD-Gov: - 13% for Heidepriem (PPP)
FL-Sen: - 18% for Meeks (Fabrizio, McLaughling & Associates * Republican)
IA-Gov: - 24% for Culver (Selzer & Co)

Just now, without poll still:

VT-Gov

Fabrizio, McLaughling & Associates poll FL-Sen and FL-Gov only one day later than Rasmussen, and Public Policy Institute poll CA-Sen only 5 days later than Rasmussen. Sure these states will be in the next wave from Rasmussen. And maybe Texas.

For senate Rasmussen gives high advantages to the GOP:

- Between +14% and - 3% for dems: Only CA-Sen
- Between - 4% and -24% for dems: 13 races (14 including the bid for recruit Thompson in WI), all polled by GOP friend pollsters.

For governor less Rasmussen polls and much more balanced results:

- Between +14% and - 3% for dems: 10 races (the races with better than 5% are not in the previous list).
- Between - 4% and - 24% for dems: 13 races.


Abgin
You are an amazing numbers person and I really enjoy your contributions on this site - especially your New York map!

34, WM, Democrat, FL-11

[ Parent ]
Yes
Turning the State of New York into Elbridge Gerry's bacon strips is one of the best worst things ever.

party: Democratic, ideology: moderate, district: CT-01

[ Parent ]
Thanks, you select a good issue for your diary. More about Rasmussen.

More about the polls for senate races.

If you select the last poll from Rasmussen and the last other poll with random pollster (some of they republicans) for the same frontrunners, Rasmussen polls lean toward republicans aproximately a 2%.

But if you choose some key races what other not republican pollsters put in the group of results between +14% and - 3% for democrats, what is the group more favourable for dems, you have much higher differences, here is the dirtiest work of Rasmussen for this year. This races are:

IL-Sen
MO-Sen
PA-Sen
CO-Sen

We should have 5 or 6 races (with CA-Sen and maybe OH-Sen) between +14% and - 3% and 8 or 9 races between - 4% and - 24% but Rasmussen drive the polls for this senate races to more favourable numbers for Republicans.

I think this result is much more balanced and realistic. Despite Rasmussen polls, CA-Sen, IL-Sen, MO-Sen, PA-Sen, CO-Sen, OH-Sen and NH-Sen are races for fight very hard and maybe win all.


[ Parent ]
But here's the thing
Rasmussen could turn out to be right, and the others, wrong. We don't know and won't know for sure until the elections are decided.

"I'm not a member of any organized political party, I'm a Democrat!"
--  Will Rogers  


[ Parent ]
I was thinking the same thing too.
Ras is definitely getting spammy these days.

party: Democratic, ideology: moderate, district: CT-01

Does anyone suspect that
Ras doesn't release or publish polls which go to far against the narrative?

Also, who is paying for all these zillions of polls?


Really good question. "Who is paying for all these zillions of polls?"

Who pay all that? This is a republican strategy.

Easily Rasmussen can not publish some polls, and easily they can make internal polls for republicans with "better" results.

Rasmussen not only call to republicans for fight with their polls. Some times they call for fight not and keep the money.

Last days Rasmussen call to Boozman and Krolicki for fight not, and call too for forget CO-Gov race, because the candidates in Colorado have problems raising enough money and the republican primary for CO-Sen is out control.


[ Parent ]
Yes to the first question.
There's been twice I've thought that.  In MA-SEN, Ras's final poll was more than a week old.  Very unusual for him not to release a poll closer to election day.  In the days prior to the race, instead of releasing a poll, Ras released a narrative saying he thought the race was a tossup.  Seemed like he may have suppressed a poll showing an even race when others showed 5-10 point Brown leads.

Also, I was shocked when the Dan Coats speculation came out and Ras didn't poll it.  First opportunity like that to poll a Republican dream candidate in awhile that Ras passed up.  Then Research 2000 came out with a poll showing Coats down 20.  Seems like Ras may have suppressed a bad result there too.

As to your second question, that's a great question.  There is one advertisement on Ras's sight, which may generate some revenue.  He must be getting money from somewhere else.  I suspect it's not George Soros!  

34, WM, Democrat, FL-11


[ Parent ]
Interesting
According to Wikipedia, Rasmussen is a co-founder of ESPN (?!), so he must be loaded.  Could he be self-funding some of this?

Wikipedia also cited one instance where a liberal, anti-Iraq war group commissioned a Rasmussen poll.  But the article did not answer your question about who's paying for this stuff in general.

34, WM, Democrat, FL-11


[ Parent ]
Markos Moulitsas tweeted last week
something interesting:

Tried to hire Scott Rasmussen to re-do our GOP-only poll, says he's now a "media company", no longer does commissioned polls.


[ Parent ]

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