Shoot the messenger !

Ken’s Take: I’m a big fan of Rasmussen Reports’ polls — in part because I like the answers, but more because of its track record for accuracy.

Since Rasmussen was first to report Pres Obama’s approval slide — and continues to be less favorable than the ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN commissioned polls — the Rasmussen Reports are under attack.

Draw your own conclusion.

* * * * *

Excerpted from Politico: Low Obama favorables: Dems rip Rasmussen Reports, January 2, 2010

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. “His data looks like it all comes out of the RNC [Republican National Committee].”

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.

Nothing, however, sets off liberal teeth gnashing more than Rasmussen’s daily presidential tracking polls, which throughout the year have consistently placed Obama’s approval numbers around 5 percentage points lower than other polling outfits.

Ken’s Fact Check: The RCP Poll of Polls Data

image
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/other/president_obama_job_approval-1044.html

Democratic pollster Mark Mellman believes Rasmussen designs its polling questions to elicit negative responses about Obama and Democrats — a sentiment that is widely shared in the liberal blogosphere.

“I think they write their questions in a way that supports a conservative interpretation of the world … In general, they tend to be among the worst polls for Democrats, and they phrase questions in ways that elicit less support for the Democratic point of view.”

Rasmussen is quick to point out the accuracy of his surveys — noting how close his firm was to predicting the final outcome in this fall’s New Jersey governor’s race. (Rasmussen’s final survey in the race showed Republican Chris Christie edging out Gov. Jon Corzine 46 percent to 43 percent. Christie beat Corzine 48 percent to 45 percent on Election Day.)

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.

Rasmussen, for his part, explained that his numbers are trending Republican simply because he is screening for only those voters most likely to head to the polls — a pool of respondents, he argues, that just so happens to bend more conservative this election cycle.

Polling all adults — a method used by Gallup, another polling firm that conducts a daily tracking poll of Obama — Rasmussen acknowledged, is “always going to yield a better result for Democrats.” But critics note that the practice of screening for only those voters regarded as most likely to head to the polls potentially weeds out younger and minority voters — who would be more likely to favor Democrats than Republicans.

Rasmussen, of course, is hardly the only pollster to come under fire this election cycle — just the one who attracts the most sustained criticism.

Last month, conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh accused the Gallup polling organization of “doing everything they can — they’re upping the sample to black Americans — to keep” Obama’s approval at 50 percent.

Full article:
http://dyn.politico.com/printstory.cfm?uuid=DCAD6DDB-18FE-70B2-A8986E439331DA11

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