In the wake of the MPR/Humphrey Institute poll Thursday showing DFLer Mark Dayton up by 12 percentage points (41-29) over Republican Tom Emmer, the Minnesota GOP has responded with both barrels.
The first came from the Emmer campaign, which touted an internal poll showing the race tied 40-40. The Emmer camp isn’t releasing any details, and it’s possible tonight’s SurveyUSA/KSTP poll might provide independent confirmation.
But to quote University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato, “You are a fool if you believe any new publicly released polls paid for by the campaigns or parties. Pure spin & manipulation this late.”
Second shot came from GOP Deputy Chair Michael Brodkorb, who dumped on the Hump Institute poll during a stop at the Rochester Post-Bulletin. According to the paper, Brodkorb said the poll’s predicted turnout, which he pegged at 71 percent, was too high and “he said that voters also had to opt-in to be in the poll.”
Not true in either case, says University of Minnesota Prof. Joanne Miller, one of the MPR pollsters.
“Our likely voter model doesn’t assume a 71 percent turnout.” she says. “The results we report are based on a likely voter model that assumes a 58 percent turnout. (Turnout was 60 percent in the 2006 governor’s election.)
“We did, in fact, also run the horserace numbers with a LV weight that assumed 71% (because Secretary of State Mark Ritchie is predicting higher-than-normal turnout) and found similar results. But all the numbers we report in the press release are based on a 58% turnout. The ‘About the Survey’ section also makes this clear.”
As for the “opt-in” claim, Miller says the calling firm she uses offers such an option, but the MPR/HHH poll relies strictly on Random Digit Dialing that does not require respondents to “opt in” (other than answering the phone).
Brodkorb also mentioned the high proportion (20 percent) of undecideds, which has caused less partisan people doubts. However, to repeat something from this morning’s post, Humphrey Institute Prof. Larry Jacobs says if leaners were allocated more aggressively, Dayton’s margin rises to 16 points.
As noted this morning, the MPR/HHH final poll has consistently given DFLers bigger margins than they’ve won on Election Day. In the 2006 and 2008 U.S. Senate races, the gap was 1 and 4 points. The 2006 governor’s race was high by 7 and the 2008 presidential race by 9.
Sheehan’s zinger: “The HHH poll’s track record rivals only television weather forecasters for accuracy.”
It’s true that the HHH poll finishes near the bottom of FiveThirtyEight.com’s pollster ratings. However, so does the Emmer campaign’s pollster, Public Opinion Strategies. Today’s forecast: ferociously spinning winds.