The Numbers Rasmussen Was Hiding
by Jonathan Singer, Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 08:44:25 AM EDT
Last month I called out Rasmussen Reports for skewing questions in its Minnesota polling to make it seem as though the state's Republican Governor -- and seeming Presidential aspirant -- Tim Pawlenty was more popular than he actually was relative to the state's well-known Democratic Senator, Al Franken. After Mark Blumenthal of Pollster.com got on Rasmussen's case, the pollster fessed to have run a bad poll. Now, via pollster SurveyUSA, we have an indication of what Pawlenty's numbers look like relative to those of Franken -- and not too surprisingly, when the same question is asked about both elected officials, they show Pawlenty in a significantly weaker position.
Do you approve or disapprove of the job Tim Pawlenty is doing as Governor?
Approve: 45 percent
Disapprove: 52 percent
Approve: 49 percent
Disapprove: 44 percent
Rasmussen claims that it was all a big mistake, that the different questions for the two candidates was unintentional. Fair enough. Let's take them at their word. Nevertheless, what we do know is this: When Rasmussen asked two separate questions gauging approval -- one that tends to show higher approval numbers for Pawlenty, one that tends to show lower approval numbers for Franken -- the numbers came out as expected, with Pawlenty scoring 15 points higher than Franken. When SurveyUSA asked the same question about both Pawlenty and Franken, Franken came out ahead. So much for the notion of Pawlenty being popular in his home state, let alone more popular than other elected officials there.