Media Blog

Harry Reid vs. Rasmussen

Harry Reid is not happy with the Rasmussen poll showing him down 11 percent to Sharron Angle:

Reid faces Tea Party activist Sharron Angle (R) in November, and has had somewhat of a resurrection in the polls. A Mason-Dixon poll in January showed Reid losing to Angle by 5 points, but more recent polls show the race about even. Reid dismissed a Rasmussen poll this week that showed Angle up by 11 points, saying the poll “shows how valid the Rasumussen poll is.”

Rasmussen’s numbers speak for themselves: he’s consistently one of the more accurate pollsters out there. Here are his results from 2008, 2006 (Senate and governors) and 2004.

Consider the races Nevada: in 2008 Rasmussen’s final poll had Obama over McCain, 55–43. The vote went for Obama, 50–46. (Rasmussen can hardly be accused of skewing Republican there). In the 2006 Nevada governor’s race, the final poll had Gibbons over Titus, 48–44. The election result was Gibbons, 48–46. And in the 2004 presidential race, the final poll had Bush over Kerry, 50–48. The vote tally was Bush, 49–47.

One of the digs lately against Rasmussen is that his 2008 polls are showing a Republican house effect that wasn’t there in other years. Nate Silver has what I think is a fair look at Rasmussen and this development.  I assume this is what Chuck Todd is referring to when he calls Rasmussen “unreliable.” The bottom line is we won’t know the answer until November, but if Rasmussen’s past performance is any indication, Harry Reid is in deep trouble. And I think Reid knows it.

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