The battle over campaign polls

In the final days of the campaign there is plenty of squabbling going on over the accuracy of some the political polls. The most recent dispute centers on a new MPR/Humphrey Institute poll that shows DFL gubernatorial candidate Mark Dayton with a 12-point lead over his GOP rival Tom Emmer.

Republican Party of Minnesota's Deputy Chair Michael Brodkorb did not mince words when asked about the poll today while visiting the Post-Bulletin office.

"We think it is complete and total garbage," he said. "I don't think by any stretch there is a 12 percent gap between Dayton and Emmer."

So what makes them think this poll is inaccurate? Brodkorb said the poll was swayed toward DFLers because of those surveyed a greater number ID'd themselves as Dems. He said he thought the 71 percent turnout is a problem because he does not expect voter turnout to be that high. He said that voters also had to opt-in to be in the poll and that he thinks the 20 percent undecided number in the poll is far too high.

UPDATE:Just talked with Joanne Miller, a research associate with the Humphrey Institute who worked on the poll. She says that two of the statements Brodkorb made are false. First, she said the poll is not opt-in. Rather, it is a random digital dial survey. Secondly, she said that the poll relied on 58 percent voter turnout — not 71 percent. Where the confusion may have come in is that in the methodology section of the poll, it says they did run an analysis at the 71 percent voter turnout level and discovered the polling results did not change.


The Emmer campaign released its own internal poll done by the Republican Public Opinion Strategies. It shows the governor's race in a dead heat with Dayton and Horner tied at 40%. DFLers are criticizing the poll asking to see the questions and polling details to determine whether the poll is legitimate.

Miller did say that she tends to be skeptical of any polling done by partisan groups.

"I'm always suspect of internal polls. They don't release the survey methodology," she said.

At this point, the New York Times has the race rated as a toss-up. I guess we'll just have to wait until Nov. 2 to find out where the voters really stand.


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