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Just Sloppy

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I have no idea where the numbers on the Lamont-Shlesinger- Lieberman race now stand, but I don't get the feeling that people at the much-discussed Q-Poll do, either.

Poll Director Doug Schwartz, who has made highly partisan pro-Lieberman statements in the past, does not disappoint.  He makes this extraordinarily irresponsible statement today:

"Ned Lamont needed to score a knockout in the debates to catch Sen. Joseph Lieberman, but he apparently didn't lay a glove on him," said Quinnipiac University Poll Director Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D. 

"Debates?"  Plural?  How would he know this?  Is he the amazing Kreskin or something?  Because the poll was conducted hastily from October 17-19, only after the first debate. Schwartz presents absolutely no data about public opinion following the second debate.  There is no way this polling data supports that conclusion, and Schwartz' statement is either the result of rank amateurism, or he is telling someone something they want to hear.

The fact is that the polling has been all over the board (Zogby yesterday had a 6 point spread), and it's extremely difficult to quantify this particular race right now.  New 3Q FEC filings say that Lieberman spent $330,000 in petty cash on primary day — which certainly doesn't argue against those reports of Joe buying votes in Hartford and other areas for $150 each on primary day. And Joe has given no other explanation for where the money went.  But he has conceded that he doesn't have a ground game for this election and has given up on that front. How do you measure that?

And as ThirdParty says, "the margins of the two major polls released in the last couple of days have differed by 10 points. One candidate is very hard to find on the ballot. Another is right next to an (inexplicably) popular governor on the ballot, yet pulls in only single digits."   No polling can take that kind of stuff into account, which is why you don't see us writing about polls even when they appear to be trending in Lamont's favor. 

When things like this come out they have an incredibly strong psychological impact.  It's the "CSI" factor, we tend to believe men in suits citing numbers and give them an authority that their track records do not deserve.  The Q-poll was off by a mile on primary night, albeit in Lamont's favor.  I'm with Stoller — this is an extremely emotional race that is far from over, and as Digby says, the environment of this particular election is going to start looking increasingly like scenes from a Bunel film as we move toward November 7. 

I personally believe that the emotional momentum is on Lamont's side, it's started to pick up in the past few days and I don't think that is quantifiable at the moment. But I'm not putting out a report and holding a press conference to claim that I know something I obviously do not.

Update:  Tim Tagaris and Colin McEnroe weigh in on why the QPoll is a less-than-accurate metric, too. 

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Firedoglake.com. Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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