Tommy! Over Russ?: Accuracy of Bush-pollster Rasmussen Questioned

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The latest Rasmussen poll shows Sen. Russ Feingold with a slight deficit to non-candidate and oft-cited Tommy! Thompson.

Some have raised concerns that Rasmussen words its questions in a way that favors Republicans and conservatives. Not to the level of Strategic Vision’s fraudulent polling, by any stretch, but noteworthy, nonetheless.

“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,” said longtime Democratic pollster Mark Mellman.

Likewise, the incomparable Nate Silver, who originally broke the news about Strategic Vision, had this to say about Rasmussen polls. A slightly different take, but one worth noting when citing Rasmussen polls: “When Rasmussen comes out with a different result from other pollsters, one that favors Republicans, Silver argues that it doesn’t represent bias but ‘a different model of what the 2010 election is going to look like, one which will feature a more conservative electorate … and ultimately, these differences of opinion will be tested — based on what happens next November.’”

He adds that “If you’re running a news organization and you tend to cite Rasmussen’s polls disproportionately, it probably means that you are biased — it does not necessarily mean that Rasmussen is biased.”

Lastly, ThinkProgress is concerned that Rasmussen is often cited as a non-ideological polling outfit, but records shows Rasmussed did polling for both the Republican National Committee and the 2004 re-election campaign of George W. Bush.

Similar issues about polling newsmakers and bias in allegedly independent sources can be found here, and here.

Some food for thought.

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Scot Ross served as Executive Director of One Wisconsin Now & the Institute from 2007 to 2019.