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There are essentially two types of pollsters. One type conducts polls for campaign use. The other conducts them for public consumption (Survey USA’s Bluegrass Polls, for example).  A group of 19 campaign pollsters are calling out public pollsters for not being open enough about how they conduct their polls.

From Politico:

The letter called on public pollsters to adhere to more professional standards by fully disclosing their methodology, including sampling, sample design and question wording, and on the media to hold public pollsters to a standard of transparency.

The public pollsters’ response? Get off your high horse.

Tom Jensen, director of the Democratic automated polling firm Public Policy Polling — which had a breakout year in enhancing its public profile — said it was presumptuous to call for openness when the campaign pollsters’ own work rarely sees the light of day. When internal campaign polls are released, he noted, it’s almost always because a campaign is trying to convince the media and the public that it’s doing better than the public polls show.

Jensen uses a local case to back up his argument:

Jensen pointed to a pair of internal campaign polls released in advance of Kentucky’s May Republican Senate primary that seemed to show Trey Grayson within striking distance of Rand Paul, at a time when public polls showed Paul with healthy leads. (Paul won the primary by 23 points.)

“That was a case where the public polling was very accurate and the campaigns were putting out very misleading information,” Jensen said. “They weren’t releasing the full surveys, just a number. I don’t know how you could have possibly found Rand Paul and Trey Grayson tied in a poll in early May unless [the horse-race question] came after extensive negative message testing on Paul.”


The latest Rasmussen poll gives Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul a wider lead over Democrat Jack Conway than the latest Bluegrass Poll. (12 points in Rasmussen versus 9 in the SurveyUSA Bluegrass Poll.)

Polls in the Louisville mayor’s race have also varied. First, Democrat Greg Fischer and Republican Hal Heiner were tied, then Fischer’s lead widened, then Heiner was given the edge in the latest Bluegrass Poll. CN2’s polls have consistently shown Fischer in the lead.


CN2 offers an explanation, which goes into sampling, weighting and the polling method.

FiveThirtyEight has more on one point mentioned in the CN2 post. Automated polls, in which a recording–not a real person–asks the questions, favor Republicans.

The latest polls from Insight’s CN2 give…

Democratic incumbent Congressman John Yarmuth a 26-point lead over Republican challenger Todd Lally (57.9% to 31.4% with 2.6% undecided)

Democratic mayoral candidate Greg Fischer a 9-point lead over Republican candidate Hal Heiner (46.7% to 36.8% with 11.6% undecided)

Both Democrats have extended their leads since previous CN2 polls, but WHAS-11/Courier-Journal Bluegrass Polls have put both races closer. The CN2 polls were conducted by Braun Research on October 18th and 19th.

Here’s an interesting bit from the story on the mayoral poll:

Danny Briscoe, a longtime political consultant who resides in Louisville, said if Fischer is up nearly double digits, developments in his campaign — such as changing his position on how to address the school assignment plan and the questions surrounding the Green endorsement — shouldn’t be happening.

“I’m amazed he’s doing all the things he’s doing (if he’s up nine),” Briscoe said. “It seems inconsistent to me that he would be doing those things.”

The poll shows that Jefferson County is leaning heavily Democratic in a year where the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate hails from Louisville, and the area’s congressman, U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, is also on the ballot.

The poll also shows out-going Louisville mayor Jerry Abramson with a 71 percent approval rating.

The third paragraph confirms what U of L professor Jasmine Farrier said in a recent story.

Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul continues his lead over Democrat Jack Conway in the U.S. Senate race, according to Rasmussen. The right-leaning pollster gives Paul his smallest lead yet, with 5 points over Conway.

But, a poll commissioned by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee gives Conway a two-point lead over Paul.

Both polls may be exaggerated slightly, but they indicate that the race is tightening.

Also, Conway discussed his latest ad against Rand Paul on All Things Considered Tuesday. Listen to it here.

While FiveThirtyEight doesn’t see much competition in Kentucky’s 3rd Congressional District, the site does say the competition for other seats has increased. In fact, the number of competitive House races has doubled this cycle.

Currently, the folks at Cook Political consider a total of 87 House races to be either toss-ups or to merely “lean” toward one or the other party. This is an unprecedented number in recent history. At a comparable point in the past six election cycles — that is, with about 25 days to go until the election — Cook Political had put the number of highly competitive races at between 34 and 56; this year’s figure is roughly twice as high.

Cook Political and the other expert forecasters that our model uses have a very good track record — but if they have a flaw, it’s that they can be overly cautious, characterizing some races as being highly competitive when that isn’t necessarily borne out by objective evidence. Perhaps they’re simply hedging too much this year?

FiveThirtyEight predicts the GOP will gain 47 or 48 seats.

FiveThirtyEight (now part of the New York Times) is giving Democratic incumbent John Yarmuth a 4.9% chance of losing the Third District House seat to Republican Todd Lally. By considering and weighing different polls that have been conducted in the race, the site predicts that Yarmuth will win by eleven points in November.

In Kentucky’s Sixth District, the outlook is not as positive. While FiveThirtyEight gives Democratic incumbent Ben Chandler a 59% chance of winning over Republican Andy Barr, the site predicts Chandler will have only a 1.7-point lead on Election Day.

The latest CN2 poll shows Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul still leading Democrat Jack Conway, but by a slightly smaller margin than before.

Paul received support from 43.4% of respondents compared to 39.5% for Conway with 16.6% still undecided. The poll of 826 likely voters was conducted by live interviewers by Braun Research Inc. between Oct. 4 and 6 and has a margin of error of 3.5 points.

A previous CN2 poll gave Paul a five-point lead over Conway.

The latest poll from CN2 gives Democratic incumbent John Yarmuth a 23-point lead over Republican challenger Todd Lally in the 3rd District Congressional race.

If the election were held today, Yarmuth would get nearly 53% of the vote, compared to 30% for Lally. About 12% said they are undecided. Independent candidate Michael Hansen received 4.5% and Libertarian candidate Ed Martin garnered slightly less than a point.

This is in line with a previous CN2 poll, but not with a Survey USA poll that gave Yarmuth a two-point lead over Lally.

A Daily Kos/Public Policy Polling survey shows Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul leading Democratic rival Jack Conway 49% to 42%.

Paul leads Conway in every age group except 18-to-29-year-olds. Paul also leads Conway in every geographic area except the Louisville Metro area.

The poll also asks about next year’s gubernatorial race. Incumbent Democrat Steve Beshear has a 47% approval rating, and his 2011 ticket leads both Republican tickets. He tops state Senate president David Williams 44% to 39% and Phil Moffett 46% to 28%.

Beshear announced his gubernatorial ticket with mayor Jerry Abramson last year. Williams and Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer made their candidacy official this month. Moffett and state Rep. Mike Harmon announced their candidacy in July.

A recent poll from CNN and Time Magazine says Kentucky’s U.S. Senate race is tied, with Democrat Jack Conway and Republican Rand Paul each holding 46% of the vote.

“Not surprisingly, Paul is winning among conservatives by more than 40 points,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “But Conway has a 22-point advantage among moderates.”

Paul holds an 11 point advantage among independent voters, according to the survey.

This poll comes after a recent round of surveys from various sources gave Paul an average lead of about 8 points. CN2 has a roundup of those numbers.

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