Did I Get It Wrong on the Blair Poll?

Normally, when people feel I got something wrong in a post, I hear from them very quickly. So I was a little surprised when Aaron Kraut, the David Blair’s Communications Director, contacted me to say that I got it wrong in yesterday’s post on the poll recently released by Blair.

According to Aaron Kraut, “The topline poll question cited in our press release was asked before any further questions.” This would mean that the polling results were not skewed by the sorts of priming and message testing that occurred during the poll.

I asked to see the polling results because that, after all, would quickly settle the matter. To me, as I said in the original post, it doesn’t make much sense to still be message testing at this point. Blair’s poll doesn’t jibe with a recent independent poll by Data for Progress.

The Blair campaign won’t share their polling data, feeling that they shouldn’t have to prove that something is false. They have a point and that’s why I am writing this post. The poll was done by a highly reputable polling firm. The Blair campaign is quite emphatic that the numbers they presented were the topline and not the post-message testing numbers.

As Hans Riemer’s campaign pointed out, the numbers presented by candidates often skew in their direction if only because candidates tend not to release unfavorable polls. Campaigns release information selectively, as the Blair campaign did, but everyone knows that.

More generally, doing good polling is getting more difficult. As is often said, the only poll that matters is the one at the ballot box.