Conservative pollster Rasmussen shows Scott Walker and Mary Burke tied in March

The conservative pollster Rasmussen shows that Mary Burke and Scott Walker are tied. Back in January the Marquette U. poll showed Walker at 47% to Burke’s 41%.

Given the methods used by Rasmussen, the tie also suggests that Mary Burke is polling well with Wisconsin’s conservatives and – no shocker here – with women.

I’d like to say with confidence that Scott Walker’s popularity took a strong hit following the release of the Rindfleisch #WalkerDocs. It would seem logical.

However, given the limited play* the emails got across the state, and the subsequent drowning of that story due to the more salacious Bill “Boob Grabber” Kramer story, it’s not clear to me that we should credit the John Doe #Walkerdocs for poll changes right now.

If you’re feeling especially ebullient to know that Walker is sweating bullets over this, I know where you’re coming from.

And yet I cosign what Jack Craver wrote in his piece on the poll:
“Keep in mind that the results of the poll do not necessarily mean that the electorate has significantly shifted since the last poll showed Walker up by six points on Burke. Not only does the 4.5 point margin allow for a substantial swing either way, but there’s always a chance that the poll is a statistical outlier.”

From Rasmussen Reports:
“The latest statewide poll of Likely Wisconsin Voters finds Walker and Burke each earning 45% support. Five percent (5%) like some other candidate in the race, and another five percent (5%) are undecided….The survey of 500 Likely Voters in Wisconsin was conducted on March 10-11, 2014 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 4.5 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.”

Here’s the question asked by Rasmussen:
In thinking about the 2014 election for governor of Wisconsin, suppose you had a choice between Republican Scott Walker and Democrat Mary Burke. If the election were held today, would you vote for Republican Scott Walker or Democrat Mary Burke?

Poll Differences
For the record, comparing the Marquette poll to the Rasmussen poll isn’t an apples to apples comparison – and that’s why I say the new poll suggests Burke is pleasing to conservatives and to women.

The Marquette poll spoke to registered voters and spoke to more people: 802. In contrast, Rasmussen’s poll collected responses of 500 “likely voters” which trend toward the conservative. Nate Silver has said that Rasmussen’s “likely voter” polling not only trends conservative but also tends to poll too many female respondents. More specifics at the end of the post.

Also, more Wisconsinites should know something about Mary Burke by now. At the time of the Marquette poll, 2/3 of respondents said they had not heard enough about Mary Burke to form an opinion about her.

It appears that you and I can’t see the detailed results of the survey unless we pay Rasmussen $19.95/month. (ka-ching!)

More links:
All questions asked.

Survey Methodology


On Rasmussen Reports being “Conservative” and those “likely voters”

Charles Franklin says – –

“He [Rasmussen] polls less favorably for Democrats, and that’s why he’s become a lightning rod.” Franklin also said: “It’s clear that his results are typically more Republican than the other person’s results.” – Charles Franklin, UW Marquette professer and professional pollster. source

“Likely voters” trend conservative

Rasmussen keeps the series of questions that are used to isolate who is a “likely voter” a secret. However Rasmussen does admit that their polling tends to exclude ethnic minorities and young people. –source

Nate Silver on the Rasmussen “house effect” and the pollster’s “likely voter”:

“Rasmussen does not appear to be applying an especially stringent likely voter model. Instead, the house effect is endemic to their overall sample construction and is “passed through” to their likely voter sample.

Why might these differences emerge? Raw polling data is pretty dirty. If you just call people up and see who answers the phone, you will tend to get too many women, too many old people, and too many white people.”

Lastly, I present a word from political scientist Alan Abramowitz of Emory referring to Rasmussen’s polling on Obama in 2010.

I think this speaks to not only the “likely voter” but also to the conservative lean of the Rasmussen organization:

“How is Rasmussen selecting likely voters almost a year before the election? And why would you even screen for likely voters in measuring presidential approval?” said Abramowitz. “My guess is that it’s heavily skewed toward older, white, Republican voters.” – Alex Isenstadt, Politico

What suggests that #WalkerDocs got “limited play” across Wisconsin

Exhibit A:
Bad press on Walker can appear in a WI paper one day – disappear from that paper the next day – blue cheddar –

Exhibit B:
My bizarre morning with The Appleton Post Crescent – Adam Schabow – Blogging Blue

If anybody else has toiled over this for the hours I suspect it takes to thoroughly evaluate the entire state’s news coverage of #WalkerDocs for that 1st week after the story broke, let me know.

If I were George Soros, you know what I’d fund.



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