The Feed

About That ‘USA Today’/Gallup Poll

Here’s a reality check: One-night polls sometimes pick up momentary reactions that quickly fade. On June 9, 2009, Criegh Deeds won a dramatic, come from behind victory in Virginia’s Democratic primary for governor. The next night, Rasmussen Reports fielded a one-night survey in Virginia and found a startling result: After having trailed on all previous polls, Deeds led Republican Bob McDonnell by six points (47% to 41%), after having trailed on all previous polls. Five days later, the DailyKos/Research 2000 poll had Deeds down by a point (45% to 44%). Two weeks later, PPP had him down by six. Thirty-six more polls followed over the next four months, and McDonnell led on every one.

Chuck Todd is right: At times like this, we just need to be patient and wait. In a week or so, we should have a good sense of whether this instant reaction is real or the artifact of a one night poll.

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