NRCC Poll: Kuhl Way Ahead

The National Republican Congressional Committee has released the results of a January poll that show Randy Kuhl 20 points ahead of Eric Massa. As with all polls from candidates or their representatives, this one should be taken with a grain of salt.

The WHAM13 blog post on the poll has the detail released by the pollster. Here's the tell:

Interview selection was random within predetermined election units. These units were structured to correlate with actual voter turnout.

One of the most important characteristics of a poll is its likely voter screen, the questions that pollsters ask to judge whether the person responding will actually vote. These weasel-words dodge the question of how voters were selected. With a sample size of 300, a slight tweak of the voter screen will lead to a huge effect in the poll's outcome. That's where this ham was watered.

What's more interesting is why the NRCC would release a poll so old that the Presidential choice section doesn't even include the presumptive Democratic nominee. The answer is that campaigns release these polls when they want to goose fundraising by convincing donors that their candidate has a chance. Since Kuhl is trailing Massa in funds raised, this poll is no surprise. What's really interesting is the weakness of this effort. The NRCC is so broke that they can't even afford to pay for a fresh poll, so they release this chestnut.

Update: As Zabriskie points out in the comments, the poll was conducted by McLaughlin and Associates on January 27-28. On January 30, the Kuhl campaign paid $16,215 to McLaughlin and Associates for a "Survey". So the NRCC press release is leveraging an old Kuhl poll. And the following assertion reported in the 13WHAM post is laughable:

“As far as the NRCC, Randy is a completely separate entity from the NRCC and really has no idea what they will or won’t do,” said Meghan Tisinger of Kuhl’s office.


I love the Kuhl staffer quote about how Kuhl has no idea what the NRCC does... one peek at his FEC report from April shows that he paid for the McLaughlin & Associates poll in January. So we're supposed to believe he had no idea about this when he paid for the poll and handed it to the party?

Great catch - thanks! I've updated the post.