Rasmussen has shown itself time and again to be an accurate pollster. Some might say that they lean a bit to the right in their assessment of poll results but I find that they tend to be pretty fair in their assessments. That said, every now and then I see a poll interpretation from them that I scratch my head and wonder what it is that they are trying to say. Once such poll is a recent one that they released on favorability ratings for some Minnesota politicians.
The title of the article pretty much lays out the problem I have with their analysis:
Franken has obviously gotten national notoriety as the clown, elected Senator, who gave the Democrat’s their sixtieth vote in the Senate. Klobuchar is our other, just as liberal but less overtly embarrassing, Senator.
Bachmann, for those who haven’t watched any cable news or listened to any talk radio for the past year, has become a Conservative celebrity in the media. She’s unashamedly conservative and is willing to discuss nearly any issue. Her one short coming is that she tends to get a bit over exposed and ends up saying some things that while not inaccurate, allows the Left to paint her as “half a bubble off.”
Bachmann is the lady who in an interview with Chris Matthewslast year, raised the question of whether then, Senator Obama, held some anti American views. She further commented that the media should look into the views of Congress to see if any of them were anti American. While Bachmann was dead on withboth of her assessments, the Left went nuts, twisted her comments, and made what should have been an easy re election win for Bachmann, a relatively close race for Minnesota’s sixth District, that Bachmann won.
Back to Rasmussen.
Rasmussen lays out the Franken, Klobuchar, Bachmann issue this way:
Minnesota voters give Senator Amy Klobuchar higher marks for job performance than her fellow senator Al Franken and Michele Bachmann, the congresswoman who has become a conservative lightning rod in the national health care debate.
They go on to say that Klobuchar has a favorable rating of 58% while Franken is only 50%. They then make a comment about Bachmann’s favorability rating relative to Franken’s:
Minnesota voters give similar marks to Bachmann, who represents the 6th congressional district in the southeastern section of the state.
Rasmussen blows this on two fronts.
First, the sixth district is not in SE Minnesota. Take a look at this map. Minnesotans would refer to this as “Parts of central Minnesota” or perhaps “suburbs generally North of the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro, including St. Cloud.” Minnesotans would never refer to the sixth district as SE Minnesota. SE Minnesota is part of the first district.
OK, admittedly, that was a nit. However, the inclusion of this inaccuracy makes me think that proper reviewing wasn’t applied to this article which allowed the real travesty of the “analysis.”
Franken and Klobuchar are Senators. As such, every eligible voter in the State is able to vote for them in a reelection bid. Polling “likely voters” across Minnesota is the appropriate measuring stick for these two people. Bachmann on the other hand, represents a single district, the sixth. To use a state wide poll to determine her favorability is about as relevant as polling likely voters of Canada and Mexico to see how Obama is fairing in a reelection bid. Wait, now that I think about it, polling Canada and Mexico would be more relevant given Obama’s “President of the World” aspirations.
The relevant polling for Bachmann would have obviously been likely voters of the Sixth District. The Cook Partisan Voting Index shows the Sixth District to be R+7. While I wouldn’t argue that every Republican in the district loves Representative Bachmann, I’ll also tell that not every Democrat dislikes her. Having spent a great deal of time in the Sixth while working on a state wide campaign this spring, I can tell you that Bachmann enjoys incredible support within the district. Her work as a vocal supporter of the tea parties, against Placebocare and cap and trade, have done nothing but strengthen a nearly cult like support for her within the district.
I doubt that they did it intentionally, but Rasmussen painted a very tainted picture of Bachmann. It’s this kind of poor review that can create perceptions which cause otherwise solid candidates to have to deal with non issue related nonsense.
Rasmussen is better than this. I hope they do a better job of using relevant polling populations in the future.