Judging by the sudden Twitter chatter on the right, the Tiberi campaign really wants to try to downplay the fight he has on his hands against Franklin County Commissioner Paula Brooks.
Because why else would you see so much high-fiving over an internal campaign poll done by a highly disregarded pollster?
The National Journal’s Hotline On Call Blog reported the Tiberi campaign’s press release on the poll that was magically simultaneously picked up by just about every conservative twitter account in Ohio. Again, these guys really couldn’t be more transparent.
The poll, conducted by Public Opinion Strategies, shows Tiberi leading Franklin Co. Commis. Paula Brooks (D) by a 53%-28% margin. Businessman Travis Irvine (L) pulls 5%.
In a memo sent to the Tiberi campaign, pollster Glen Bolger says Tiberi’s image remains strong; 54% of voters view him favorably, while 24% see him in an unfavorable light. That’s despite $450K in ads Brooks and national Dems have run, trying to soften him up.
“Pat Tiberi has not been affected by the early onslaught of the Democratic establishment and enjoys a solid image and a strong lead on the Congressional ballot test. Tiberi has positioned himself in great shape for another double digit win on Election Day,” Bolger wrote.
Public Opinion Strategies (yes, someone actually thought it was a bully idea to start a campaign polling organization with the initials “P.O.S.”) is a Republican polling organization that does polling, for hire, by Congressional campaigns. In other words, Tiberi is declaring victory over a poll done by his campaign pollster.
But that’s the least of Tiberi’s problems with the poll. First, the poll is what P.O.S. considers to be likely voters, not registered voters. That’s important because P.O.S. has a well-documented poor history of projecting the makeup of likely voters…. always with a pro-GOP bias. The poll also has a five-point margin of error, which is a remarkably high reported rate of error for a public opinion poll.
How bad is P.O.S. polls disregarded in the polling community? Well, take a look at Nate Silver’s @ FiveThirtyEight’s Pollster Rankings from last month.
Keep scrolling down….
There it is!
Fourth from the bottom. Right below Research 2000 which is presently be accused in litigation by one of its clients, DailyKos, for allegedly fraudulently fabricating its polling results and a few points below the Columbus Dispatch’s old mail-in survey polls that became so disregarded and ridiculed as inaccurate, the paper has long stopped conducting it.
A brand new pollster with no proven track record (default position) would do substantially better in Nate Silver’s rankings than Pat Tiberi’s P.O.S. polling outfit does.
The real reason there is so much internet activity promoting a campaign’s own poll from a polling organization with a worse reputation than a discontinued poll and one being accused of just “making shit up” is that Paula Brooks is first serious challenge Pat Tiberi has faced.
According to the very same NJ Hotline piece, Brooks has had strong fundraising with the last FEC report showing half a million on hand. She also is running in a district where 21% of the electorate is African-American and went 54% (above Ohio’s statewide average) for Barack Obama just two years ago.
Unlike the overhyped race between Congresswoman Betty Sutton and Tom Ganley, Brooks as a challenger is running in a district that the demographics favor her candidacy.
Sometimes when you hear the conservative noise machine go off, you have to look past what they’re saying to see what’s going on. There is genuine nervousness that Paula Brooks is forcing the Republicans to play defense in Ohio, and they will do anything to deny that’s a case. Even if it means embracing the Tiberi’s campaign P.O.S. polling.