Poll feud has Maryland ties
Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley pans the onslaught of automated survey in the Maryland governor's race as "Republican robo-polls." Republicans have a skeptical view of a Democratic automated pollster. And political analysts have only haltingly begun using such pollsters in their reports, calling the work dubious at best.
In short, there's not a lot of love for automated polls, although as The Sun reported this morning, we'll be seeing lots of them this year.
But it's worth noting that the most explosive polling controversy of the moment does not involve a fly-by-night "robo-poll" operation. Or any automated pollster. Rather, at the center is a traditional live-interview firm with a 10-year history, an experienced pollster and, until recently, a solid reputatation.
Research 2000 -- based in Olney, Md. -- seems to have closed up shop amid an embarassing feud with the liberal web site, Daily Kos. Late last month, the web site's founder, Markos Moulitsas, said three independent analysts had found that R2K's Daily Kos surveys for the past year and a half were "likely bunk."
The web site filed a lawsuit against the polling firm July 1 in California. The allegations of fraud cover only R2K's weekly surveys for the web site, not its horserace or other polls. Still, Washington Post blogger Greg Sargent predicted that the lawsuit will give us an "unprecedented look at the inside of a professional polling operation."
Research 2000 founder Del Ali at first defended his firm but now appears to have closed up shop, redirecting his company web site to a Wikipedia entry on opinion polls.
The lesson: it's probably wise to view polls -- all polls -- with a skeptical eye. As a favorite political mantra goes, the only poll that really matters is what voters decide on Election Day.