Karl Rove Unskews NYTimes Poll On Southern Senate Dems


Republican strategist Karl Rove added his name to the list of critics seeking to unskew a bunch of New York Times/Kaiser Family Foundation polls which showed a number of Democrats in key Senate races running either neck-and-neck or ahead of their Republican competitors. Rove claimed the poll was “badly done.”

The polls’ findings provoked criticism from The Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol, among others, who said that the surveys were wrong because of the findings on a subquestion over Arkansas voters.

“I accept the fact that this is going to be a hard fought battle to the end and many of these races are tossups. But let’s put aside for the moment The New York Times and Kaiser Family Foundation poll because it was badly done,” Rove said Wednesday on Fox News.

“For example, in the state of Arkansas, which was won by Mitt Romney by 24 points I think they had Mitt Romney among their sample having a 1 point advantage,” Rove added. “In North Carolina which was won by Romney by 2 points, in the sample President Obama had a 7-point advantage in recall from last year’s election [sic]. In addition they made no effort whatsoever to try and get out of the sample people who were not likely to vote this year. For example, about a third of most of the states were people who basically said I didn’t vote last time around and you’d have a strong implication that they didn’t vote this time around, so this was methodologically flawed.”

Besides Rove and Kristol, the Republican National Committee was quick to criticize the Times poll. In response, The New York Times’ Nate Cohn published a defense of the criticism around the Arkansas question.

“But there’s a well-known bias toward the victor in post-election surveys. Respondents who voted for the loser often say that they don’t remember whom they supported, or say they supported someone else,” Cohn wrote. “The signs of that bias are obvious upon closer examination. The poll accurately captures Mr. Obama’s support, but tends to underestimate Mr. Romney’s performance.”