CommunityFDL Main Blog

FDL Challenges DCCC: Let’s Do a Poll Together

(photo: Theron Trowbridge)

Politico has an article about the polls we commissioned prior to the Brown/Coakley election, which determined that Democrats in key swing districts were in trouble. The DCCC has trotted out every partisan loyalist they can find to discount the results, but I think this says it all:

“If they don’t like the poll, why don’t they release the polling of their own?” Hamsher asked.

A DCCC official turned down Hamsher’s challenge, saying the committee wouldn’t release its internal polling.

One House Democratic aide said the party decided to engage in a concerted pushback on the polls because, “in some cases, people had the perception the sky was falling,” and the questions about the surveys “needed to be told.”

Really? Questions about the surveys “needed to be told,” but an anonymous “House Democratic aide” won’t even give their name? Well, the truth is that the numbers tell the story. And if you’re not willing to address the numbers, you’ve got no story. All you’ve got is “spin.”

As I told Politico (which they didn’t print), “If you think that the purpose of polling is to make your candidates look good, that perspective makes sense. Would they tell ABC or the Wall Street Journal or Gallup that they shouldn’t run a poll for its news value, but only for propaganda purposes? That may be how a candidate uses a poll, but a news organization has no credibility if they spike a poll because they don’t get the results that advance a particular political objective.”

FDL chose SurveyUSA because of their reputation for accuracy. They are non-partisan, and they were the pollsters with best record of accuracy in the Presidential primaries. They also came highly recommended by Nate Silver. As a testament to their commitment to accuracy, they went back in good faith and re-weighted their figures to reflect the critique of every hack the DCCC trotted out, and got the same result.

Has the DCCC responded, or adjusted their accusations? Nope, they just went on to the next hack — who had no trouble peddling the same story.

You’d think companies like the Global Strategy Group would have credibility problems with brand-conscious clients like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the American Cancer Society, GLAD, NARAL, Planned Parenthood, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Henry J. Kaiser Foundation and the Commonwealth Fund for using their name to actively promote political propaganda they knew at the time to be factually inaccurate, but perhaps these organizations are “too big to care.”

Daily Kos releases all the results of their polling as a matter of policy, no matter what comes back, for good or bad. So do we. To do anything else means you’re not conducting scientific polling, you’re trying to cherrypick numbers so you can put out a press release. You’re no longer in the “reality based community,” you’re trying to “create your own reality” — just like George Bush famously did.

We all know how that worked out.

The real story here is that with many different organizations like ours conducting polls, the DCCC can no longer control the results by doling out who gets business and who doesn’t. One of the reasons we chose SurveyUSA was because of their non-partisan status, and we knew they wouldn’t be looking to please either the DNC or the RNC first and foremost. The only surprise is that there are journalists (or bloggers) who keep peddling party propaganda as if it were their own idea, don’t make anyone go on the record with their names, and don’t demand that they “put up or shut up” with their own polling results before running the story.

Here’s what Public Policy Polling (not controlled by the DCCC) had to say about the FDL/SurveyUSA polls:

It’s probably not party line for me to say this but the issue of SurveyUSA’s age weighting on its Firedoglake polls is just kind of a distraction from the poll results.

[]

The takeaway from the SurveyUSA polls in these districts based on the numbers as they were released was that Steve Driehaus and Baron Hill were in big trouble and Tim Bishop was in the most trouble he’s been in in quite a long time. Reweight the numbers for age and while the numbers improve for the Democrats, I don’t think the overall conclusions do.

Yes, there is a “party line” on polling. And many are destroying their reputations as poll analysts who care about accuracy by toeing it, without regard for the accuracy of results.

When Parker Griffith bolted the Democratic Party, he downloaded all of the DCCC’s polls on the way out the door. They have their own polling in all of these districts, it’s out there, and they know it’s bad or they’d be releasing it rather than taking swipes other results and trying to engage in a lesson in “party discipline.”

So, here’s a challenge to the DCCC: If you think the FDLSurveyUSA results for Tim Bishop, Barron Hill, Vic Snyder and Steve Driehaus are wrong, that Martha Coakley was just a “bad candidate,” and the Democrats really aren’t in any trouble, let’s poll the districts again. Together. We’ll choose a non-partisan polling firm that’s mutually agreeable, split the cost, and see if the FDL/SurveyUSA results hold up.

And what’s more, we’ll make the same offer to local media outlets in these districts who would like to join us in re-polling these races.

We’ve shown all our results. The DCCC has done nothing but spin. It’s time for them to back up all the trash-talk with some action.

CommunityFDL Action

FDL Challenges DCCC: Let’s Do A Poll Together

Politico has an article about the polls we commissioned prior to the Brown/Coakley election, which determined that Democrats in key swing districts were in trouble. The DCCC has trotted out every partisan loyalist they can find to discount the results, but I think this says it all:

“If they don’t like the poll, why don’t they release the polling of their own?” Hamsher asked.

A DCCC official turned down Hamsher’s challenge, saying the committee wouldn’t release its internal polling.

One House Democratic aide said the party decided to engage in a concerted pushback on the polls because, “in some cases, people had the perception the sky was falling,” and the questions about the surveys “needed to be told.”

Really?  Questions about the surveys “needed to be told,” but an anonymous “House Democratic aide” won’t even give their name?  Well, the truth is that the numbers tell the story. And if you’re not willing to address the numbers, you’ve got no story.  All you’ve got is “spin.”

As I told Politico (which they didn’t print), “If you think that the purpose of polling is to make your candidates look good, that perspective makes sense. Would they tell ABC or the Wall Street Journal or Gallup that they shouldn’t run a poll for its news value, but only for propaganda purposes?  That may be how a candidate uses a poll, but a news organization has no credibility if they spike a poll because they don’t get the results that advance a particular political objective.”

FDL chose SurveyUSA because of their reputation for accuracy.  They are non-partisan, and they were the pollsters with best record of accuracy in the Presidential primaries.  They also came highly recommended by Nate Silver.  As a testament to their commitment to accuracy, they went back in good faith and re-weighted their figures to reflect the critique of every hack the DCCC trotted out, and got the same result.

Has the DCCC responded, or adjusted their accusations?  Nope, they just went on to the next hack — who had no trouble peddling the same story.

You’d think  companies like the Global Strategy Group would have credibility problems with brand-conscious clients like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the American Cancer Society, GLAD, NARAL, Planned Parenthood, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Henry J. Kaiser Foundation and the Commonwealth Fund for using their name to actively promote political propaganda they knew at the time to be factually inaccurate, but perhaps these organizations are “too big to care.”

Daily Kos releases all the results of their polling as a matter of policy, no matter what comes back, for good or bad.  So do we. To do anything else means you’re not conducting scientific polling, you’re trying to cherrypick numbers so you can put out a press release.  You’re no longer in the “reality based community,” you’re trying to “create your own reality” — just like George Bush famously did.

We all know how that worked out.

The real story here is that with many different organizations like ours conducting polls, the DCCC can no longer control the results by doling out who gets business and who doesn’t. One of the reasons we chose SurveyUSA was because of their non-partisan status, and we knew they wouldn’t be looking to please either the DNC or the RNC first and foremost. The only surprise is that there are journalists (or bloggers) who keep peddling party propaganda as if it were their own idea, don’t make anyone go on the record with their names, and don’t demand that they “put up or shut up” with their own polling results before running the story.

Here’s what Public Policy Polling (not controlled by the DCCC) had to say about the FDL/SurveyUSA polls:

It’s probably not party line for me to say this but the issue of SurveyUSA’s age weighting on its Firedoglake polls is just kind of a distraction from the poll results.

[]

The takeaway from the SurveyUSA polls in these districts based on the numbers as they were released was that Steve Driehaus and Baron Hill were in big trouble and Tim Bishop was in the most trouble he’s been in in quite a long time. Reweight the numbers for age and while the numbers improve for the Democrats, I don’t think the overall conclusions do.

Yes, there is a “party line” on polling. And many are destroying their reputations as poll analysts who care about accuracy by toeing it, without regard for the accuracy of results.

When Parker Griffith bolted the Democratic Party, he downloaded all of the DCCC’s polls on the way out the door.  They have their own polling in all of these districts, it’s out there, and they know it’s bad or they’d be releasing it rather than taking swipes  other results and trying to engage in a lesson in “party discipline.”

So, here’s a challenge to the DCCC:  If you think the FDLSurveyUSA results for Tim Bishop, Barron Hill, Vic Snyder and Steve Driehaus are wrong, that Martha Coakley was just a “bad candidate,” and the Democrats really aren’t in any trouble, let’s poll the districts again. Together. We’ll choose a non-partisan polling firm that’s mutually agreeable, split the cost, and see if the FDL/SurveyUSA results hold up.

And what’s more, we’ll make the same offer to local media outlets in these districts who would like to join us in re-polling these races.

We’ve shown all our results. The DCCC has done nothing but spin. It’s time for them to back up all the trash-talk with some action.

Previous post

DADT blog swarm: contact HRC to publicly demand the President to take the lead on repeal in 2010

Next post

Obama To Announce Nuclear Plant Loan Guarantees

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.
Subscribe in a reader