Rasmussen is dominating the narratives through his frenetic polling.

So I’ve gotten the feeling that our prospects in the Senate have been sinking recently, even more so than during the last quarter of 2009.  So I asked myself, “Why do I have that feeling?”  And then I went back and looked.  The answer in more cases than not is Scott Rasmussen.

I’m not saying Rasmussen is a bad pollster.  In fact, he may just be ahead of the curve in terms of predicting what may be a dismal Democratic turnout in 2010.  But he is an incredibly frequent pollster, and his polls have dominated the narratives in many of these races as a result of their sheer frequency.  

Here are the races rated by Cook as Lean Retention or better for the challenger:

(1) ND-OPEN – Hoeven’s dominance here has been tracked by several pollsters.  Not a case in point.

(2) DE-OPEN – The proposition that Castle v. Coons is a washout is based on a single Rasmussen poll taken January 25 showing a 56-27 Castle lead.  There is no other recent polling.

(3) AR-Lincoln – Ras is at least corroborated by PPP in showing Lincoln’s sorry ass getting blown out.

(4) NV-Reid – Much like Arkansas, PPP corroborates Rasmussen’s solid R leads.

(5) CO-Bennet – All of the gloom and doom in this race comes from two recent Rasmussen polls showing double-digit leads for Norton over Bennet.  Research 2000 actually showed a small lead for Bennet only a month ago.  

(6) PA-Specter – Again, the gloom and doom here comes from two recent Rasmussen polls showing 9-point leads for Toomey over Specter.  Quinnipiac showed an even race on December 8.

(7) IL-OPEN – Once again, the gloom and doom here comes from a single Rasmussen poll showing Kirk up 6, which was directly contradicted by a PPP poll just a week prior showing Giannoulias up 8.

(8) MO-OPEN – Yet again, more gloom and doom exclusively from Rasmussen, showing Blunt up 7 and 6.  Every non-Rasmussen poll has Carnahan ahead.

(9) OH-OPEN – Again, the narrative that Portman is winning comes from Rasmussen, although Quinnipiac had a 3-point Portman lead back in November.  

(10) NH-OPEN – Several polls have corroborated Rasmussen’s high single digit lead for Ayotte over Hodes, so this is not a case in point.

(11) KY-OPEN – Like New Hampshire, Rasmussen’s polling showing high single single digit leads for Republicans is corroborated by other pollsters here.

(12) IN-Bayh – The only reason that this race is viewed as competitive as far as I can see is a Rasmussen poll that showed Mike Pence up on Bayh and John Hostettler within 3.  Today, Research 2000 showed Bayh up 16 on Hostettler and 20 on Indiana-hating Dan Coats.  Cook has now moved this from Safe D to Lean D, presumably based largely on Rasmussen.

(13) CA-Boxer – Kind of like Indiana.  The main reason this race is viewed as competitive is Rasmussen’s polling, starting in July when Ras showed a 4-point race with Fiorina while others showed 15 to 20 point leads.  In fairness to Ras, a recent PPIC poll showed Tom Campbell within 4, giving some corroboration for Ras’s take.  But nobody else has had Fiorina closer than 8.  Cook has had this at Lean D for some time, and I suspect that was partly based on the July Rasmussen poll.

(14) CT-OPEN – Ras shows a pretty solid Blumenthal blowout, although less so than other pollsters.  Not a case in point.

I am using Wikipedia to track polling, and may be missing some polls.  Please correct me if I am mischaracterizing anything.

Of these 14 races, I would say that Rasmussen has had a stranglehold on the recent gloom and doom narratives in 7: DE, CO, PA, IL, MO, OH, and IN.  Put another way, I have been led to the subconscious belief that we are going to lose the first 6, and be in for a dogfight in IN, strictly based on Rasmussen polling.  I would also put CA in pretty close to the same category as IN, although PPIC did recently confirm a close race with Campbell at least.

I do not think this is an accident.  I do not remember this kind of frenetic pace from Rasmussen before Obama took office.  SSP recently suggested Rasmussen has gotten so prolific that he could be called “spammy.”  My gut tells me Ras is getting as many polls out there as he can precisely so that he can dominate the narratives with his polls and their aggressive turnout model.  Combine this with his right wing framing on issue polling, his inexplicable use of an aggressive likely voter screen for presidential approval three years before the election, his haste to poll Republican “dream” candidates, and his frequent yucking it up with conservative talking heads, and you’ve got yourself a Republican cheerleader trying to influence elections rather than study them.  Again, his polls may be right.  But his transparent efforts to drive the narrative seem very partisan to me.

24 thoughts on “Rasmussen is dominating the narratives through his frenetic polling.”

  1. And I look forward to counterpoints from people more up on the various poll results than I. I’ll limit myself to one tangential comment: To the extent YouGov polls have any role in any narrative, they shouldn’t. Because whereas we can debate about Rasmussen, YouGov’s online polls are total jokes that should be completely disregarded.

  2. Without find very much I can add to your diary about the last poll for the closest races:

    Just now, last poll from Rasmussen Reports:

    CA-Sen: +4% for Boxer

    CA-Gov: +4% for Brown

    CO-Gov: +4% for Hickenlooper

    CT-Gov: +3% for Lamont

    MA-Gov: +2% for Patrick

    GA-Gov: -2% for Barnes

    OH-Sen: -2% for Fisher and Brunner

    IL-Sen: -6% for Giannoulias

    OH-Gov: -6% for Strickland

    MO-Sen: -6% for Carnahan

    PA-Sen: 8% for Sestak (9% for Specter)

    NV-Sen: -8% for Reid

    KY-Sen: -8% for Conway

    AZ-Gov: -9% for Goddard

    NC-Sen: -10% for Marshall

    NV-Gov: -12% for R Reid

    MI-Gov: -13% for Dillon

    CO-Sen: -14% for Bennet

    AR-Sen: -17% for Lincoln

    IA-Sen: -18% for Conlin

    LA-Sen: -18% for Melancon

    and we can add the bid for recruit Thompson for WI-Sen race.

    Just now, last poll from other pollsters:

    WI-Gov: +1% for Barrett (Mellman Group)

    RI-Gov: -1% for Caprio (Fleming & Associates)

    ME-Gov: -3% for Mitchell (PPP)

    AL-Gov: -4% for Davis (PPP)

    TX-Gov: -6% for White (Research 2000)

    NH-Gov: -8% for Hodes (University of NH)

    FL-Gov: 9% for Sink (Fabrizio, McLaughling & Associates Republican)

    SC-Gov: -9% for Rex (PPP)

    PA-Gov: -10% for Wagner (Quinnipiac)

    OK-Gov: -12% for Edmonson (SoonesPoll.com)

    SC-Gov: -13% for Heidepriem (PPP)

    FL-Sen: 18% for Meeks (Fabrizio, McLaughling & Associates Republican)

    Just now, without poll still:


    Their fast and interested polls are taking advantage. The majority of the first level races have it last poll from Rasmussen, specially, senate races.

    All swing senate races have just now it last poll from Rasmussen. Just Fabrizio, McL & Assoc. other republican pollster, poll FL-Sen (and FL-Gov) a day later than Rasmussen.

    As result of that only one race for senate (CA-Sen) is between +14% and 4% for democrats and 13 senate races are between 4% and -18% for democrats (14 if you wish include the bid for recruit Thompson).

    The manipulation is evident.

    If you look to gubernatorial races, with much less number of polls from Rasmussen, the numbers are much more balaced.

    Your diary touch a very good point. Rasmussen and republicans are winning the battle for dominate the polls by large.

  3. …has an ideological and partisan agenda, and he engineers his polling to achieve that.  I think that’s been established as true in a number of ways I’ve pointed out at various times (e.g., choice of questions; question wording; a contrived “political class” designation; many other things).

    You add to what’s out there by pointing out the proliferation of polling in a favorable climate for Republicans, long before the midterms, enhances that climate itself.

  4. With all the criticism of Rasmussen on this site, I have yet to see one person show that his horse race polls (involving specific candidates) are consistently incorrect. In fact, I remember when Rasmussen came out with his poll of Scott Brown only behind nine points from Martha Coakley, some commentator on this site wrote that when Coakley won by double that margin, it would prove Rasmussen’s bias. Guess what happened…

    I have no doubt Rasmussen’s issue polls are biased – that’s been proven. And I think their Obama approval ratings polls are also biased. But for the horse race polls, I think Rasmussen has proven correct more often than not. You’re right, he’s obviously trying to influence a narrative, but so what? When PPP polls about Johnny Isakson to try to show he doesn’t have high approvals, no one cares about that on this site. And really no one should, in my opinion, because the poll is what it is.

    Personally, as someone who thinks SSP is one of the best political sites out there, I’d be disappointed if they started ignored Rasmussen polls.  


    Just now, last poll from Rasmussen Reports:

    CA-Gov: +4% for Brown

    CO-Gov: +4% for Hickenlooper

    CT-Gov: +3% for Lamont

    GA-Gov: – 2% for Barnes

    OH-Sen: – 4% for Fisher and Brunner

    IL-Sen: – 6% for Giannoulias

    OH-Gov: – 6% for Strickland

    NH-Gov: – 7% for Hodes

    MO-Sen: – 7% for Carnahan

    PA-Sen: – 8% for Sestak ( – 9% for Specter)

    NV-Sen: – 8% for Reid

    KY-Sen: – 8% for Conway

    AZ-Gov: – 9% for Goddard

    NC-Sen: – 10% for Marshall

    NV-Gov: – 12% for R Reid

    MI-Gov: – 13% for Dillon

    CO-Sen: – 14% for Bennet

    IA-Sen: – 18% for Conlin

    AR-Sen: – 19% for Lincoln

    PA-Gov: – 21% for Wagner

    LA-Sen: – 24% for Melancon

    and we can add the bid for recruit Thompson for WI-Sen race.

    Just now, last poll from other pollsters:

    CA-Sen: +4% for Boxer (Public Policy Institute)

    MA-Gov: +2% for Patrick (PPP)

    WI-Gov: +1% for Barrett (Mellman Group)

    RI-Gov: – 1% for Caprio (Fleming & Associates)

    ME-Gov: – 3% for Mitchell (PPP)

    AL-Gov: – 4% for Davis (PPP)

    TX-Gov: – 6% for White (Research 2000)

    FL-Gov: – 9% for Sink (Fabrizio, McLaughling & Associates * Republican)

    SC-Gov: – 9% for Rex (PPP)

    OK-Gov: – 12% for Edmonson (SoonerPoll.com)

    SD-Gov: – 13% for Heidepriem (PPP)

    FL-Sen: – 18% for Meeks (Fabrizio, McLaughling & Associates * Republican)

    IA-Gov: – 24% for Culver (Selzer & Co)

    Just now, without poll still:


    Fabrizio, McLaughling & Associates poll FL-Sen and FL-Gov only one day later than Rasmussen, and Public Policy Institute poll CA-Sen only 5 days later than Rasmussen. Sure these states will be in the next wave from Rasmussen. And maybe Texas.

    For senate Rasmussen gives high advantages to the GOP:

    – Between +14% and – 3% for dems: Only CA-Sen

    – Between – 4% and -24% for dems: 13 races (14 including the bid for recruit Thompson in WI), all polled by GOP friend pollsters.

    For governor less Rasmussen polls and much more balanced results:

    – Between +14% and – 3% for dems: 10 races (the races with better than 5% are not in the previous list).

    – Between – 4% and – 24% for dems: 13 races.

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