Yet another reason why nobody should ever pay attention to a campaign’s internal polls

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.


57 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Try to get its money back?

    They just got some headlines out of it, and low-information voters (and crappy members of the media) don’t read much beyond the headlines.

    That said, I’m actually surprised at how well the Salem News got this story. Imagine if it were written in the Lowell Sun!

    RyansTake   @   Wed 16 May 10:20 PM
  2. I do want Tierney to win.

    He doesn’t have a primary as far as I know, but he is great on the issues and great for the district.

    • Heard the same from the people who supported Tom Delay and Cong. Jefferson with the $100K in his freezer.

      • Unlike Delay or Jefferson

        There is no “$100k in his freezer” when it comes to John Tierney. The guy’s wife made a mistake; he was cleared of any wrongdoing after a very lengthy investigation by prosecutors who’s career would be made by throwing a congressperson in the clinker.

        Sometimes there’s no there there.

        RyansTake   @   Thu 17 May 7:22 PM
  3. BTW, can you cite the corruption you allege?

    I know there were issues with his wife, but that’s her issue. I have not heard about Tierney being corrupt, but there’s almost no way I would replace a good D with an R, especially when House control is an open question.

    • Did he not say he had no knowledge if his wife laundering over a million dollars? You actaully believe him, seriously? Please be careful how you answer. Tsei would be an upgrade, we all can admit it. Curious, has Warren done an event with Tierney? If she is smart, she will keep her distance.

      • who is this "all" you are speaking about?

        Stop putting words in other people’s mouths.

        Just because you think one way, doesn’t mean everyone else does.

        RyansTake   @   Thu 17 May 7:28 PM
  4. Internal polls, especially misleading ones

    are about trying to start a self-fulfilling prophesy.

    In other words, cause there to be buzz about a potential “winner,” such that people jump on the bandwagon.

    Time honored tactic that, as you say, the media should effing IGNORE. Then it’d stop working, wouldn’t it??

  5. No, we don't 'all' agree


    Cool it with the “we all agree” horseshit. You’re clearly a Republican troll and I don’t agree with you on anything, least of all that Congressman Tierney should be replaced by that hairdo, Tisei. Congressman Tierney has long been very strong on the issues, is exceptionally smart and does a great job servicing the district. Tisei will have to come with a lot more than polls conducted in his living room and innuendo of the type you’re troweling out here to make a dent.

    And, for your information, Elizabeth had an event in Lynn with Congressman Tierney two Saturdays ago. Two great progressive leaders together. It was excellent.

  6. Home run!


    • More like a Sacrafice Bunt

      On this site, I’m called a Rep troll, on other sites, the call me commie-liberal. For the record, I am unenrolled voter, the same voters who typically decides elections. I suggest never to wave the Pom-Poms, just for one party. We are not sheep and one party never has all the answers. This Rep troll supports universal healthcare, top tax rate of 70%, and gay marriage, to name a few.

      You have the unmitigated gall to say Tierney is “extremely intelligent” after claiming the Seargent Schultz defense…I know nothing….nothing! Gimme a break.

      I don’t know which is worse, Warren campaigning with Tierney, or Brown with Perry.

      • "I don’t know which is worse, Warren campaigning with Tierney, or Brown with Perry."

        I can help you with that: Brown with Perry. All set?

  7. very, very weak


    Exceptionally weak. If you want to judge Congressman Tierney’s 17-year career by that one incident, then feel free. However, realize that in doing so you are grievously undermining your own overinflated claims of progressiveness and, instead, underscoring that you are, in fact, a Republican troll. Indeed, the wiseass “Sergeant Schultz” reference really gave away the game; it’s the kind of reference that only a snarky reactionary douche posing as something else would make. You look like Phyllis Diller trying to play Cary Grant. It just doesn’t work.

    As to Congressman Tierney’s intelligence and record, I’ll take his advocacy on preserving Medicare, protecting labor rights, promoting fair tax policy and fighting for the District’s economic welfare every single day of the week. His representation has been excellent and he deserves to be reelected.

    • Never said I was progressive, just an unenrolled voter who votes both parties. How dou you read things is beyond me. Next time you sit down to eat, sit in a different chair, the view will be different and you just may just notice something different. I guess not falling inline on every issue blaspheme here….Wow!

      17 years and all you site is fluff. Saving medicare, puhleeze. He has a mgic bullet? Oh, I’m for term limits, just ask Jack Abramhoff if his influence peddling was made easier by having these career politicians of both parties.

      FYI, that money laundering didn’t happen in one transaction, it was over Years! Poor Dianne Wilkerson, did much less and T’s wife gets off.

      • Yes,

        when the choice is between Tierney and Tisei, I’ll take Tierney over a guaranteed vote for the Ryan budget

      • Troll or not ...

        I haven’t called you a troll. I know you only by your comments here, the first dating from 20-Feb-2012.

        I just did a brief review of your comments here. There (without re-reading the full text of each thread) I found:
        - 3 critical of Elizabeth Warren
        - 1 advocating Jeb Bush instead of Mitch Daniels
        - Several critical of Barack Obama/Solyndra
        - 1 defending Mr. Dimon
        - 2 defending Scott Brown and doubling the student loan rate
        - 4 attacking Tierney

        I see none that advocate a Democratic position on any issue. You may think of yourself as “independent” — I see no evidence of that here.

        “Troll” or not, your commentary is indistinguishable from similar utterances of the GOP/TeaParty/Howie Carr crowd.

        Oh, and by the way, we already have term limits. It’s called “popular vote”, and it happens for every member of Congress every two years.

        I guess you’re one of those whose desire to strictly interpret the Constitution applies only to those portions that you agree with.

        • Cherry picking data

          All in a larger context. Never mentioned the Cherokee thing with Warren, just if polling even with Brown, and 15 pts behind Obama is good?????????? Someone answered me and I accepted it. Again, no Pom Poms from me.

          Don’t recall Jebb over Daniels, but heck ya, Jebb would be stronger than Daniels. It was Daniels who said the Iraq war would cost 60 Billion, just a trillion off. Do you disagree, and think Daniels will be the VP over Jebb?

          What else did I say about student loan rates? The Govt should regulate tuitions!!!!!

          You really need to tell the whole truth. About Tierney, u guys need to wake up and smell the coffee. Believe it or not, not every Dem should be elected.

          If the owner of this site does not want me on, then reject my signon or email me asking me to leave. I’m here to educate myself and exchange opinions and bounce ideas off each other. Seriously, I’m feeling the hate a little, which is shocking.

          • Then stop punching

            No memory is required, simply click on your name and then look at the comments link helpfully offered there.

            The “Cherokee thing with Warren”? No, I didn’t say you did. I said, instead, that you offered three comments critical of Elizabeth Warren (one, two, three).

            As I said, no “recall” is needed. On a thread discussing the “Draft Mitch Daniels” movement, you wrote “No Way … Jeb Bush would be their choice”.

            I need to “tell the whole truth”? You accuse me of being a liar, then whine because you’re “feeling the hate a little”?

            In case you haven’t gathered, the site is managed by three editors. Based on what you’ve written so far, there’s no need for any formal mechanisms to ask you to leave. Your commentary doesn’t, so far, support your claim that you are “independent”. Calling me a liar similarly doesn’t support your claim that you wish to “educate [yourself] and exchange opinions and bounce ideas of each other”.

            Unless you ratchet up your game substantially, the editors are likely to ignore you. The more you act like a troll (of whatever flavor), the more folks will simply ignore you. Finding something you like and support is more likely to help you gain traction and respect then whining because people for some reason react with hostility to your own hostile comments.

            If you don’t want to be in a fight, then perhaps you might stop punching.

      • Hmmm

        Next time you sit down to eat, sit in a different chair, the view will be different and you just may just notice something different

        Says the person who claims to speak for “all” voters.

        Puh leeze, indeed.

        RyansTake   @   Thu 17 May 7:32 PM
        • I did? Perhaps what I type is filtered by someone and reads differently on everyone else’s computer. OMG, where did I say I speak for all unenrolled voters. Twilight Zone.

          • You said so on this thread, Dan

            Look back just a few posts – here, I’ll help you out:

            Oh good, glad we all agree Tierney is a corrupt politician and hope he is replaced with either a Dem or Tsei.

            Speaking for us all, very disappointed the Tsei poll is skewed, to say the least. We are all hoping this embarrassment of a MA congressman, would be gone soon, no?

            For the record, I am unenrolled voter, the same voters who typically decides elections.

            Those examples came from this thread – I haven’t bothered to look at your past comments, but I’m willing to bet there’s more. You are clearly claiming to speak for all voters – time for a little self-examination, Dan. If you want to be taken seriously, you should change your tone.

            • Driving me nuts

              Look at the whole entire conversation at the top. I. Ant believe I am having to do this.

              I asked if anyone really wanted Tierney to win, Kirth said wrong assessment which led me to believe he has a minimum standard for a Democrat, and John did not disagree with me, so I thought I was in good company.

              Unenrolled voters do decide elections, for the most part, not sure where I am off on that.

              Since some call me troll,I guess I can best describe the Tierney supporters as the kool aid drinkers, who started all the nonsense shortly after.

              • Intentional or not ...

                Whether intentional or not, this is classic troll behavior.

                You claimed to speak for all voters. Ryan called you on it. You denied it. John showed you where you did. Now you whine about everybody else “driving [you] nuts”, insult those who disagree with you, and end with “they started it”.

                I’m done with you here.

  8. Since you had to get all shouty about it Dan

    “On this site, I’m called a Rep troll, on other sites, the call me commie-liberal. For the record, I am unenrolled voter, the same voters who typically decides elections..”

    I am willing to bet you are none of the above. I know your type well; tricorner hats and bad ideas, always claiming to be I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T-S !!!
    You might have a case if the republicans actually had sound ideas, but they don’t. Oh and save the victimized schtick for the victims, ok?

    • Romneycare not a good idea?

      Want to take back that comment about Rep’s have no good ideas?

      Home run? Nah, Grand Slam!!!!!!

      TT u later

      • You mean the Romneycare he's

        thrown under the bus and denounced?

        That one?

        You know… you’re right. Republicans have had good ideas. It’s too bad all those good ideas came in the past, before they were beholden to the Tea Party and social conservative loons.

        Hell, pretty much the last great Republican President was freaking Teddy Roosevelt.

        We shouldn’t be listening to today’s Rush-Limbaugh-sponsored Republican Party, we should be putting it out of its misery and burying it.

        RyansTake   @   Thu 17 May 7:41 PM
        • Really?

          I thought Mitt said it was designed for Massachusetts, not perfect, but works here and is supported 2-1 margin. I must have missed something.

          U r right, tea party will destroy the Rep’s. Remember they blew the NV senate race with Angle and O’Donnell in DE? Head scratchers those 2.

          • I have a bridge to sell you

            The ‘it was for Massachusetts thing’ was complete and utter BS. He wrote in his book, of all places, that it would be just perfect as a national system. Then he deleted it from the paperback version, when it was clear a mandate was toxic to the Republican base. He then went on to shamelessly lie about the changes he made to the book, and began to speak harshly about all the core aspects of the Massachusetts reform he put into effect.

            Like I said, he threw it under the bus.

            RyansTake   @   Fri 18 May 4:14 PM
            • Go on YouTube, 2008 nh debate, he said it was Not for the entire nation as a federal policy.

              I did not read his books, but he said our plan here could be picked up nationally, meaning depending on the state and what they want to implement.

              Unless a kool aid drinker, don’t talk like a knucklehead above, that Republicans have no good ideas. That to me, sounds like cult talk.

              • Oh come now.

                The record is remarkably clear – many video clips, op-eds, interviews, and other evidence – that Romney believed that the MA health care model could and should be emulated by the federal government so that it would apply to all Americans. Not “depending on the state,” as he’s claiming now. That’s just an election year ploy.

              • Irrelevant -

                he was running for president at the time. Go back before that.

                • Evidence please? Thank you

                  • The big event I remember recently...

                    … was a 2009 op-ed Romney wrote on the issue was ‘discovered’ (remembered?) back in March. Here’s National Review:

                    At BuzzFeed, Andrew Kaczynski breaks the news that, in a 2009 op-ed for USAToday, Mitt Romney encouraged President Obama that he’d be well-served by adopting elements of the Massachusetts Romneycare plan, particularly the individual mandate. [Hat tip, Erick Erickson at Red State.]

                    At the time it was all over the internet because he was still in a race with rivals reasonably strong enough to use it as ammunition.

                    Another reasonable summation at TNR.

                    • You wasted my time, clicked the links, Mitt never said mandate for the rest of the nation. Cannot believe Eric Erickson’s interpretation of an article is being quoted here, what is next Rich Lowry and Ann Coulter?

                    • What does this paragraph say, Dan?

                      From the linked article – Romeny’s words:

                      Our experience also demonstrates that getting every citizen insured doesn’t have to break the bank. First, we established incentives for those who were uninsured to buy insurance. Using tax penalties, as we did, or tax credits, as others have proposed, encourages “free riders” to take responsibility for themselves rather than pass their medical costs on to others. This doesn’t cost the government a single dollar. Second, we helped pay for our new program by ending an old one — something government should do more often. The federal government sends an estimated $42 billion to hospitals that care for the poor: Use those funds instead to help the poor buy private insurance, as we did.

                      He’s talking about the Massachusetts mandate – enforcing tax penalties if you fail to purchase insurance. Take a remedial reading class, will you?

                    • Yes, where does he say federal mandate required. I dont even see the word mandate. Now, my YouTube clip is there for all to listen and he said NO to a federal mandate.

                    • He didn't say the actual word "mandate"...

                      …but you’re just being purposefully obtuse to say that he wasn’t talking about the mandate. If that’s not what he was recommending, why did he talk about tax penalties for failing to purchase insurance? And your YouTube clip came after Republicans decided they didn’t like mandates for health insurance, an idea originally proposed by right wing think tanks like the Heritage Foundation. Why don’t they like mandates any more? Because Obama supported the idea, and it was in the ACA! Romney saying no to a federal mandate is a naked pander to the right wing – nothing more, nothing less.

                    • Debate was in Jan 2008, not 2012, long before the Tea Party existed. Op Ed in March of 2009, so you must be confused. Did you actually watch the debate clip? You can tell it is old, sine Huckabee and Thompson are in it.

                      Again, no mandate because he did not believe in a federal mandate, you and Eric Erickson are just jumping the shark on this one.

                      Personally, I want a single payer system.

                    • Useless thrashing

                      Mitt Romney was for a national (or state) mandate before he was against it before he was for it before he was against it before he was …. Just like he was against federal spending before he was for it before he was against it before he was …

                      This is a “small government” “private enterprise” guy who claims as his first major accomplishment in public service “rescuing” the Olympics — which he did primarily by scoring HUGE AMOUNTS of public funding.

                      Arguing about which side of any issue Mitt Romney is on is useless thrashing, because he has supported all sides of every important issue.

                    • Mitt is fine with other states instituting healthcare mandates, but not the fed govt. to me, what is the diff but he has been consistent.

                      Obama should run on a single payer system, to get rid on these insurance companies and their profit motives. That would be nice.

                    • Ugh.

                      Read his op-ed. He was specifically talking about the federal legislation being proposed. He specifically points to a mandate as a desirable feature that they should consider.

                      There’s a better way. And the lessons we learned in Massachusetts could help Washington find it.

                      Using tax penalties, as we did, or tax credits, as others have proposed, encourages “free riders” to take responsibility for themselves rather than pass their medical costs on to others.

                      This Republican is proud to be the first governor to insure all his state’s citizens. Other Republicans such as Rep. Paul Ryan and Sens. Bob Bennett and John McCain, among others, have proposed their own plans. Republicans will join with the Democrats if the president abandons his government insurance plan, if he endeavors to craft a plan that does not burden the nation with greater debt, if he broadens his scope to reduce health costs for all Americans, and if he is willing to devote the rigorous effort, requisite time and bipartisan process that health care reform deserves.

                      He’s not giving advice to the states – he’s giving advice to Washington on the federal legislation.

  9. According to Romney

    It wasn’t his idea at all. Never heard of it. Nope.

    Unless you mean the moderate Mitt, but… naw, there are no moderates in the rep party, what was I thinking.

    • Oh, just getting up off the mat? Didn’t mean to knock you out like that.
      Hmmmm, let me quote someone, “very very weak” in your response. Does it hurt you to say that I made a good point? Geez.

  10. When you make a good point I'll let you know.

    What does it say about a candidate who had a good idea, saw it flourih into a national plan, and then ceaselessly denounced it, and, when that didn’t work, claim it was designed for Massachusetts, not everyone else?

    It tells me that candidate would have parlayed that good idea into his national campaign for the WH if the democrats hadn’t gotten it done first.

    It also tells me that the candidate is a liar: PPACA is not one-size-fits-all; it is a mandate to the states to get their act together and do something about healthcare for their citizen’s or else uncle will. Now, if we take Truman as a bench mark, the republicans have had 65 years to address this and did not. Who knows if it is because of failed ideas or an inability to offend their owners for the sake of the nation?

    It’s called progress – always the source of good ideas (and, admittedly, a few bad ones.

    Trying to throw haymakers isn’t a very good idea either.

  11. Flirtation

    is the right word

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