The political wags are having a field day today with news that Patty Wetterling has scheduled a news conference to discuss her “future plans.” Usually, that’s code for “I’m dropping out.” If true, it’s lousy timing. A Zogby poll out this afternoon might suggest she’s the frontrunner in the race, except few people seem to believe that.
Still Rep. Mark Kennedy’s performance in these polls is not inspiring.
Even Ford Bell, who’s gotten very little traction — and very little attention in this race, is close to Kennedy — 43.3-to-42.8 percent.
If a virtual unknown is knocking off Kennedy, it could mean two things. (a) Those surveyed really don’t like Kennedy or (b) The poll might be bogus. It’s unlikely that Ford Bell’s message has resonated to the point where it’s elevated him to a competitive state, since few people have heard his message.
Some of those dismissing the poll have suggested it’s an online poll and, thus, has little scientific value. But, it’s not. Here’s the Zogby methodology. Zogby does provide online polling for Web sites. But this particular survey is not an online poll. Is the survey accurate? Who knows? As with most surveys, take them at face value and look for trends. If a bunch of polls start to say the same thing, then maybe it’s time to sit up and pay attention.
Minnesota GOP boss Ron Carey put out a release that said:
“On Election Day in 2004, John Zogby confidently predicted that John Kerry would defeat President George W. Bush and get at least 311 votes in the Electoral College. In 2002, Zogby had Walter Mondale defeating Norm Coleman by six points in his final poll.
The thing with polls is they don’t predict anything. They only tell you what a bunch of people who were surveyed happened to think on the day they were surveyed. Polling firms strive to have those surveyed be representative of the larger group (that is: us), but even then it only represents what the larger group thinks on a particular date they were asked. Nothing more.
(Update 1/20)- I checked on the Zogby poll in the ’04 elections and the last one appears to have been taken on behalf of Reuters on 10/29-31 2004 and at that time showed Bush/Cheney with a 1% lead over Kerry. A Zogby poll two weeks before that showed Kerry narrowing his lead, but still trailing Bush by 2%. A further reading of Carey’s release shows that Carey isn’t disputing Zogby’s polling, just John Zogby’s opinion. The methodology of Zogby’s polling in the final weeks appears to be fairly solid, actually. (End update)
Kennedy’s campaign said today that with the news that’s been about for the past six months, and Kennedy being a Republican, being behind in the polls now isn’t “the worst case scenario.”
But what of Wetterling? If she were to drop out, a run in the 6th District is the obvious solution since the DFL is putting up very little fight there, with only Elwyn Tinklenberg carrying the DFL banner. And since she had a respectable showing in the district in her race against Kennedy in 2004, one would think she’d be in a strong position against the GOP.
Meanwhile, Rasmussen Reports is out with a poll today in the race for governor of Pennsylvania showing Republican Lynn Swann, the former receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers, narrowly leading Democratic Governor Ed Rendell 45 percent to 43 percent.