Hey Portland Press Herald, Are you Going To Label Your Own Poll As “Over-sampling Republicans”?

From the “so comically hypocritical we can hardly believe it” files, we would like to submit to you the latest Critical Insights poll.

Oh, there’s nothing particularly worrisome about this particular poll itself.  Indeed, this one looks a great deal more reliable in methodology (a much larger sample, for example) than its predecessor two weeks ago.

What is just criminally bad is the hypocritical and mind numbingly inconsistent coverage the Portland Press Herald gave to its poll.

Remember the coverage that Portland Press Herald reporter Rebekah Metzler gave to our poll?  Here, let me remind you of just some of the highlights:

Some experts expressed reservations about the accuracy of the poll, which sampled a disproportionate number of Republicans to account for an anticipated “enthusiasm gap,” which could influence the turnout of GOP voters.

Then there was this:

The poll, only the second for Mark Smith at the Maine Center for Public Opinion, used unusual methodology to try to reflect the likely Republican enthusiasm gap in the upcoming election.

And of course, the hard hitting investigative journalism of Metzler even got quotes from college professors:

Two Maine political scientists were skeptical about trying to build a Republican enthusiasm gap into a poll and ending up with accurate results.

And finally:

Michael Franz, a political science professor at Bowdoin College, said the polling technique was a bit complicated and could result in skewed data.

Never mind that the technique was never asked for, nor explained to Metzler, or either of the professors quoted in the article.  All Pine Tree Politics told her was that we tried to come up with a model that would effectively identify what a likely voter in this year’s election was as a calling sample – not that we were trying to tilt the sample toward the GOP. After seeing our results, that should have been obvious.

She of course ran with that, and the fact that this is a high GOP enthusiasm election, and drew conclusions that were simply incompatible with the facts.

And what did we end up with?  As we detailed before when we originally rebutted this incoherently absurd and unfair characterization of our poll (as contrasted to the straight forward, quality reporting that seems to continue to be done by the Bangor Daily News), the actual sample for our poll was:

  • Democratic - 32.8%
  • Unenrolled - 32.3%
  • Republican - 29.2%
  • Green - 5.7%

We personally believe we probably under-polled Republicans, but the poll said what the poll said so we ran with it.

So what was the latest Critical Insights sample?

  • Democratic - 34%
  • Republican - 33%
  • Unenrolled - 25%
  • Green - 2%

So, riddle me this, dear reader.  If the PTP/MECPO poll “oversampled Republicans” at a clip of 32.8% – 29.2% (that’s Republicans -3.6%), then what would you call the latest Critical Insights poll that runs the numbers at 34% – 33% (that’s Republicans -1%)?  At 4% more Republicans sampled, and 2.6% closer to the total Democratic sample, would not this be treated as equally – if not more – flawed in favor of the GOP?

Would not somewhere in the fluff piece promoting the results, it be noted the critically flawed methodology that lead to that many Republicans being sampled?  Would not such crack journalism call up a couple of college professors for comment on the flawed methodology?

No.  Of course not.  Instead the article spends less time talking about the Critical Insights poll (five sentences) than was spent trying to de-legitimize the PTP/MECPO methodology (more like five paragraphs).

Don’t let facts get in the way of the story you want to write, I guess.  Is it any wonder the traditional press is dying a slow and excruciating death?

Matthew Gagnon

About Matthew Gagnon

Matthew Gagnon, a Hampden native, is a Republican political operative. He serves as the Director of Digital Strategy for the Republican Governors Association, and has previously worked for Senator Susan Collins and the National Republican Senatorial Committee.