The Beltway "Political Pros" Can't Read Polls

Last night on Hardball:

[CHRIS] MATTHEWS: Howard, is it possible that the actions of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party here will end up being counterproductive, that knocking [Blanche Lincoln] down, bringing her down below 50, making her fight for that runoff just weakens her for the general; she loses the general; they never come back in that state for years to come?

FINEMAN: I think it‘s quite possible, Chris. And I think they want to make a lesson. They want to teach somebody a lesson. I‘m not sure this is the right person or the right place to do it, because [Lincoln] was probably their best chance, the Democrats‘ best chance, of holding on to that seat there.

[. . . CHRIS] MATTHEWS: Great reporting there. Thank you, Howard Fineman.

Heh. Great reporting, my foot. An actual reporter would have taken the time to look at Lincoln's actual polling numbers and would have discovered that Lincoln has been a dead duck for many months now and that in fact Bill Halter has consistently polled better in the General Election than Lincoln. The Pollster.com summary tells the story. (See also this, this, this, and this.) But that's the great Beltway "reporting" you can expect.

Speaking for me only

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    They are not reporters (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by ruffian on Fri May 14, 2010 at 11:26:54 AM EST
    They are storytellers, and the 'progressive wing is killing the Dem party' story is a perennial favorite.

    And, apparently, back-slappers. (none / 0) (#2)
    by oculus on Fri May 14, 2010 at 11:38:01 AM EST
    And above all, they are trying to be (none / 0) (#6)
    by Cream City on Fri May 14, 2010 at 12:03:24 PM EST
    power players, telling the parties and the people what to do and what not to do -- telling the true liberals to STFU.

    (And in Tweety's case, he also is trying set up another Obama campaign that will give Tweety a tingle up his leg again.  Lately, that leg must be going to sleep.)


    A woman in Buffalo tells Obama he (none / 0) (#9)
    by oculus on Fri May 14, 2010 at 12:34:49 PM EST
    is a "hottie."  Did she take civics class?  link

    And, (none / 0) (#12)
    by jbindc on Fri May 14, 2010 at 01:14:27 PM EST
    Is she like, um (ohmigod!), 12 years old?

    From the same USA Today link (none / 0) (#13)
    by Spamlet on Fri May 14, 2010 at 01:27:57 PM EST
    Stuff like this is why (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by scribe on Fri May 14, 2010 at 11:44:21 AM EST
    he has a derogatory nickname like "Tweety".  In his case, he sings whatever song he's told to.

    But, then again, setting up the True Democrats to take the blame for the DINOs screwing up a mandate (same people, again) is an old chestnut.  

    Oh (none / 0) (#4)
    by squeaky on Fri May 14, 2010 at 11:52:42 AM EST
    I thought the tweety nickname was an invocation for him. to pull  the feather boa, chintz, and a sequined dress out of the closet, so that he can finally settle down and stop with all the homophobic and misogynist comments.

    Supposedly, the nickname ... (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Robot Porter on Fri May 14, 2010 at 01:05:22 PM EST
    came from his staff due to the Tweety bird-like color he dyes his hair.

    Though, I'm told, unlike Tweety bird, Chris Matthews has no ability to outsmart cats.  


    He CHOSE that color? Eeek. (5.00 / 3) (#11)
    by Cream City on Fri May 14, 2010 at 01:08:41 PM EST
    Wouldn't it be cool if bad hair dye was pundit ... (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Ellie on Fri May 14, 2010 at 02:19:05 PM EST
    ... swatched?

    Tweety Yellow
    Lou Dobbs Naugahyde Beige
    Glen "Barkers" Beck Golden Lab

    ... and of course all the other eerily unnatural shades.


    Given Tweety's GWB worship, codpiece huffing highs (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Ellie on Fri May 14, 2010 at 01:41:06 PM EST
    ... I thought it referred to Herr Schickelgruber's reputed nickname for Eva Braun during the final days ("our" Tweety being a dumber, faker blond, but with bigger t!ts.)

    Of course that version's ridiculous on its face, because everyone knows that what got Tweety off even more was the manly-man waft off Fred Thompson's ancient pants.


    Don't forget the manly, leathery aroma (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by scribe on Fri May 14, 2010 at 06:07:29 PM EST
    emanating from Grandpa Fred Thompson's butt and how he waxed poetical over that.

    You didn't see him the other night (none / 0) (#17)
    by scribe on Fri May 14, 2010 at 06:10:00 PM EST
    talking about the Rekers/rentboy thingy, did you?  Listening to him gagging out the words "rentboy.com" and trying to maintain a striaght face was a real effort for this viewer.

    F'g hilarious.


    I especially like how the assumption (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by Anne on Fri May 14, 2010 at 11:57:59 AM EST
    is that of course Lincoln would beat Halter in a primary, but I guess if the story line you're working is that the progressives are hurting the party by not getting behind the incumbent, you can't pay attention to, you know, the actual facts and numbers.

    Did either of them question why Lincoln's incumbency is being threatened by her own party?  I'm guessing not.  

    Was there any discussion about why it seems the anti-incumbent anger isn't confined to the other side of the aisle?  I'm guessing not.

    Great reminder, though, about why I don't watch or listen to either Matthews or Feinman.

    I watch so few of such programs now (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Cream City on Fri May 14, 2010 at 12:05:05 PM EST
    that kept me hopeful for so many years at the start of this millennium.

    And I so wish CNN -- or some new network -- would bring back headline nooz.  No pundits, please.


    Also, why bag on Halter when its the 3rd candidate (none / 0) (#8)
    by magster on Fri May 14, 2010 at 12:28:30 PM EST
    (who is even more conservative than Lincoln) that will keep Lincoln under 50 %.

    You're a real pro, BTD, and your analysis ... (none / 0) (#18)
    by RonK Seattle on Fri May 14, 2010 at 06:14:25 PM EST
    ... almost defies criticism.


    It may be a minor point, but the second most recent result (and the only nonpartisan result) is inadvertently reversed in Pollster.com's summary. Per Mason-Dixon, the head-to-head result against Boozman (the prohibitive GOP favorite) has Lincoln trailing 52-53 (minus 17) and Halter trailing 56-32 (minus 24).

    If the candidates were Boozman and Halter, 56 percent said they would vote for Boozman, 32 percent picked Halter and 12 percent were undecided.

    The notion that Halter would be a stronger candidate than Lincoln in the general election "doesn't hold true" according to the numbers, [M-D managing partner J. Brad] Coker said.

    For another very minor quibble, your 'this' #1 (Rasmussen) has Lincoln trailing by 9, and Halter trailing by 19, in the same Boozman matchup.

    'this' #2, incidentally, merely recaps the Mason-Dixon result, and doesn't even report matchups for Halter.

    'this' #4 (Rasmussen) gives Halter marginally favorable dead duck results - minus 25, as compared to Lincoln's minus 28 in the key matchup.

    And this brings us to 'this' #3 (dkos), where Lincoln places at minus 10 versus Halter's minus 5 (but with higher undecideds). This runs consistent in 3 consecutive dkos polls, where Lincoln trails by and average 10 with 6 undecided, vs Halter's average 7 with 10 undecided.

    This is where the unfortunate pro's sadly out-think themselves ... raising the confusing, confounding consideration that Lincoln has been heavily "exposed" to the negative campaigning that any candidate would eventually face in a real general election race - whereas Halter is relatively untested and unscarred. (This is why an unnamed "generic" opponent almost always outperforms a named, real opponent in pre-election viability test polls.)

    Again, BTD, brilliant analysis, with which the "Political Pro's" certainly cannot compete ... and only a couple of virtually insignificant defects.