I’ve said for years that when a campaign releases an internal poll to the press, that’s a good time to ignore it.
The latest from Richard Tisei, the Republican running in the 6th congressional district, is an extreme example of why internal polls should hardly ever be taken seriously. As you may have heard, the Tisei campaign leaked an “internal poll,” conducted by one John McLaughlin, which purported to show that Tisei was up 7 points over incumbent Democrat John Tierney. An impressive result, surely, though not completely implausible – and they even got a story in Roll Call out of it. But suspicions were raised when the poll also purported to show Scott Brown up an extremely unlikely 24 points over Elizabeth Warren.
And, well, would you look at that. The poll is total crap.
[T]he GOP poll does have elevated Republican representation, GOP poll author John McLaughlin said in an email to The Salem News.
The actual makeup of registered voters in the district is 13 percent Republican, 30 percent Democrat and 57 percent independent. But their poll respondents were 22 percent Republican, 29 percent Democrat and 49 percent independent.
One of the amazing things about this is that the pollster more or less admitted that the poll was crap.
But really, this story should serve as a caution – as if yet another one were necessary – to the media: do not pay attention to or report on internal polls. And yes, that goes for our side as well as the other guys. This Tisei poll is so embarrassing that his campaign should try to get its money back, but even in general, internals are just not reliable enough to justify the pixels.