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Wed Nov 7, 2012, 05:51 PM

Two pollsters worse than Gallup and Rasmussen: Suffolk and Mason-Dixon

Some pollsters got it right, others failed spectacularly. Gallup and Rasmussen are the low hanging fruit, nationally. But the state polls truly show who was merely incompetent and who was catastrophically bad.

1. Suffolk University Political Research Center.

They didn't fail so much because of their polls, but because of the hilariously bad interpretation they put into those polls. Specifically, on October 10, they awarded Virginia, Florida, and North Carolina to Mitt Romney.


The Suffolk University Political Research Center has determined Mitt Romney is a lock to win the battleground states of Florida, Virginia and North Carolina and will not conduct additional polls there during the final four weeks of the presidential election.

The three states are generally considered to be competitive battlegrounds with uncertain Election Day outcomes.

In places like North Carolina, Virginia and Florida, we’ve already painted those red,” David Paleologos, the center’s director, said in an interview with Fox News on Tuesday night. “We’re not polling any of those states again. We’re focusing on the remaining states.”

“That’s right,” Paleologos replied, “and here’s why: Before the debate, the Suffolk poll had Obama winning, 46-43, in the head-to-head number [in Florida] -- a poor place to be for a couple of reasons. Number one, his ballot test. His head-to-head number was under 47 before the debate, and it’s very difficult when you’re the known quantity, the incumbent, to claw your way up to 50, so that was a very, very poor place for him to be. And so we’re looking at this polling data, not only in Florida but in Virginia and in North Carolina, and it’s overwhelming.”

That's right--his firm's polls had Obama ahead in Florida (and Virginia) but called those two plus North Carolina as guaranteed wins for Romney.

2. Mason-Dixon: Showed Minnesota Presidential and Missouri Senate as toss-ups, and Florida a Romney blowout winner

October 28:

As the presidential race tightens across the country, a new Star Tribune Minnesota Poll has found that it is narrowing here as well, with President Obama holding a 3-point lead and Republican Mitt Romney making gains in the state.

The poll shows Obama with support from 47 percent of likely voters and Romney earning backing from 44 percent -- a lead within the poll's margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

October 29:

The results show McCaskill leading with 45 percentage points to Akin’s 43 points among likely voters. That’s within the poll’s 4-point margin for error, indicating a closer race than two earlier independent polls that showed McCaskill with wider leads.

Brad Coker, of Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, Inc., of Washington, D.C., said the battle over economic issues between President Barack Obama and GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney could have helped tighten Missouri’s Senate race.

“Two-thirds of voters are voting the economy and their pocketbooks. On those issues, Romney is hammering Obama,” Coker noted. “Akin may be benefiting from that.”

November 2:


Mitt Romney has maintained a solid lead over President Barack Obama in the latest Miami Herald/El Nuevo Herald/Tampa Bay Times poll of likely voters who favor the Republican by six percentage points.
Romney’s strengths: independent voters and more crossover support from Democrats relative to the Republicans who back Obama, according to the survey conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research.
Romney’s crossover appeal is fueled by strong support in rural North Florida, a conservative bastion where a relatively high percentage of Democrats often vote Republican in presidential election years.
“I’m pretty convinced Romney’s going to win Florida,” said Mason-Dixon pollster Brad Coker, who conducted the 800-likely voter survey from Tuesday through Thursday.
“Will it be fivepoints? Maybe. Will it be three points? Possibly,” Coker said, of what he expects Romney’s margin will be. “I don’t think it’s going to be a recount … I don’t think we’re going to have a recount-race here.”

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