What Else Is the PPP Survey Firm Not Telling Us?

by Jim Geraghty

Tom Jensen of the Democratic-campaign-affiliated polling firm Public Policy Polling:

We did a poll last weekend in Colorado Senate District 3 and found that voters intended to recall Angela Giron by a 12 point margin, 54/42. In a district that Barack Obama won by almost 20 points I figured there was no way that could be right and made a rare decision not to release the poll. It turns out we should have had more faith in our numbers because she was indeed recalled by 12 points.

It’s a free country, and if PPP doesn’t want to release a result, they’re free to eat the costs and keep a survey result to themselves.

But the rest of us are free to wonder just how “rare” it is for PPP to not release a poll, and what other results they’ve withheld from public release. 

From an interview with Tom Jensen, after the 2012 election, which PPP’s final result was quite close to the final results:

DTH: It appears that, while polling is statistical, some of it is gut feeling. Is that true?

TJ: Absolutely. In an era where people’s time is getting more and more precious, and there’s sort of more and more ADD, people just aren’t answering polls the way they used to. And that puts pollsters in a situation where it is getting to a point where the art side of polling is as important as the scientific side of polling.

Everybody’s gut makes mistakes.

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