Democratic-leaning polling firm Public Policy Polling is taking heat after releasing
the results of a pollWednesday that it originally withheld because it didn’t believe its own results were credible.
But because the original results showed bad news for Angela Giron — one of the Democratic senators who was recalled in Tuesday night’s election in Colorado — it has sparked accusations that it intentionally spiked the poll’s release because it did not like the results.
Here’s what happened: The poll, conducted last weekend, showed Giron trailing by 12 points. PPP director Tom Jensen wrote that some of the conflicting data points made him decide not to release the poll. He had sound reasoning:
In a district that Barack Obama won by almost 20 points I figured there was no way that could be right and made a rare decision not to release the poll.
Why did Jensen decide to release the poll on Wednesday, after the results? Because, well, they are rather fascinating. Aside from the Democratic candidate losing by 12 in a district Obama won by 20, the PPP poll found that the gun-control measures for which the two senators were being recalled weren’t exactly unpopular.
Expanded background checks were supported by 68% of Coloradoans. And even the law limiting high-capacity magazines is supported and opposed by an even 47% split.
The poll, however, did show strong favorability toward the NRA, which supported the recall efforts in Colorado. Jensen said that the unusual results showed that the NRA probably won the “messaging game.”
PPP is an openly Democratic-leaning firm — but one that nailed every state in the 2012 presidential election last year. But whether fair or not, its left lean has opened it up to criticism, and charges that it specifically withheld these results because the results didn’t look good for Democrats.
In an email, Jensen said he went into conducting the survey sceptical he would be comfortable with the results. His scepticism was rewarded when he saw the data.
“We’re a private polling company…we take a vote on our website every week for the polls we do for the purpose of public release and we’ve never not released one of those,” Jensen said.
“I don’t think people understand that PPP is a business and that most of what we do is not intended for public release.”
He added that he was worried, specifically, that he might have gone into the field with a bad question.
“When we found that a third of Democrats supported the recall that was a red flag to me that there might have been something off in our data — that respondents might have misunderstood the question or something,” Jensen said.
“Obviously if I thought we were pulling a fast one over on people I wouldn’t have released the poll today!”
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