This is, needless to say, some pretty big news on the polling front. You probably recall that several weeks ago (after the Arkansas runoff, but apparently motivated primarily by 538’s pollster rankings) Daily Kos severed its relationship with its pollster, Research 2000. Today, based on a study by three prominent statistics experts, Daily Kos is alleging that something is seriously amiss with Research 2000’s polling, suggesting that the conclusions do not seem to reflect truly random polling. While the discrepancies seem most obvious in the weekly tracking polling and not state-to-state polling, Daily Kos has disavowed all numbers produced for it by Research 2000.
While the investigation didn’t look at all of Research 2000 polling conducted for us, fact is I no longer have any confidence in any of it, and neither should anyone else. I ask that all poll tracking sites remove any Research 2000 polls commissioned by us from their databases. I hereby renounce any post we’ve written based exclusively on Research 2000 polling.
The gist of it is (as you might expect) best explained by Nate Silver, by excerpting the key graphics from the prepared report. The graphics show how R2K’s weekly favorable numbers for Obama always seemed to move from week to week, usually by a small amount… which isn’t indicative of a normal distribution. By contrast, Gallup’s numbers form a very normal-looking bell curve, with a change of 0 being the modal amount of week-to-week change. The researchers who performed the poll also found discrepancies in rates of appearances of odd and even numbers (shades of Nate’s takedown of Strategic Vision there).
Greg Sargent has details on the lawsuit that will be filed in short order by Daily Kos against Research 2000. For his part, Research 2000 head Del Ali tells TPM that he stands “unequivocally” behind every poll he produced, and is denying the allegations.
Needless to say, we at SSP have very much relied on the supposed quality of Research 2000’s data, and will be watching further developments in this matter with great interest.