So some in the conservative blogsphere is getting the vapors over a Gibbs poll (where did he get the money to conduct a poll with only $200k on hand to Space’s over $1.2 million?) that shows him virtually tied with Space.

This is the same playbook that David Yost has already tried:

  1. With fledging resources and growing speculation that your race is not worth a “bailout” by the NRCC which is poised to drop your race off its radar, even in a good GOP year, you quickly hire a virtually unknown polling outfit which caters to creating favorable polling for its client.
  2. Polling outfit, knowing perfectly well that it’s poll is intended to be used as a fundraising tool to try to convince skeptical donors that there’s still a race to be had, conducts a “poll.”
  3. Campaign predictably touts its own internal campaign poll to the media and then in fundraising pitches hoping that the skeptical donors give the race a fresh look.

It’s a “Hail Mary” of campaign plays, and it’s one of the oldest campaign tricks in the book.  That’s why you tend to only see campaign release their internal polling, when it’s being used to challenge the convention wisdom Occasionally, it’s also done when there’s been no public polling in a race and a leader wants to assert their dominance.  But that’s not the case  the Gibbs race.  Their released poll only showed that they’re tied.

This is precisely why most media outlets have a policy that they will not report on internal campaign polls.  They know this trick play, and they refuse to be a part of it.

CQ Politics has called out the NRCC on its bullshit on the Gibbs poll already:

The timing of that release is worth noting: two days after the New York Times reported that Space was no longer seen by Republicans as an easy target, and just days before two high-profile fundraisers are scheduled for Gibbs.

Both House Minority Leader John Boehner and political strategist Dick Morris are set to visit the eastern Ohio district on Gibb’s behalf over the next week.

“He’s going to have to convince donors that he’s still viable. The best way to do that is with an internal poll,” [Space campaign spokesman Andrew] Ricci said. “It’s a strategic move by the NRCC after the New York Times basically said that Zack Space wasn’t vulnerable any more.”

Ever hear of On Message, Inc.?  Neither have I.  And like you I read polls all the time.  Surprise!  It’s a public relations Republican campaign consulting firm that bills its goal as helping their clients win, not providing the public with accurate and reliable public opinion polling about their client’s race.

I used John Kasich’s Google to try to find another example of a recent poll by On Message, Inc.  Last month, CQ Politics reported that an On Message, Inc. poll in the GOP Tennessee Sixth Congressional primary showed State Senator Diane Black with a seemingly insurmountable lead:

Black was the preferred candidate of 41 percent of likely primary voters surveyed. Her closest competitors, former Rutherford County GOP Chairwoman Lou Ann Zelenik and state Sen. Jim Tracy, polled at 22 percent and 20 percent, respectively.

Four other Republicans garnered support in the low single digits, and just 12 percent of those surveyed said they were undecided.

Black did win the GOP primary last week.  But she didn’t exactly blow the opposition out of the water.  Instead of walking away with a nearly 20-point lead, Black won by 284 votes.  She didn’t even come close to getting 41% of the vote, but got only 30.51%.  As a result, Zelenik has yet to concede the race which might be headed to a recount.

It’s pretty hard to call a poll that overstated its most recent client’s support by twelve percent and her lead by nearly twenty as a reliable pollster.

The NRCC is going through the motions with Gibbs, and giving Gibbs this Hail Mary to see if his campaign can finally catch fire.  But they clearly have one foot already out the door.

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