We don’t know how the Minnesota gubernaturial election is going to turn out yet. I have my predictions in; you are welcome to do your own.
But one thing is for certain; it’s not going to be a 12 point race.
Which would provoke a curious person to ask; what is with the “Star/Tribune Minnesota Poll” and the “MPR/Hubert H. Humphrey Institute Polls”?
This week, they showed results for the gubernatorial election (MNPoll had Dayton +7, HHH had Dayton +12) that, I assert, may not actually be intended as DFL morale-builders – but if they were, it’d be hard to show how they’d be different. Their oversample of Democrat “likely voters” may or may not be built on experience in Minnesota elections – but it doesn’t take a keen-eyed journalist to see that their methodology is drastically wrong. Indeed, there are those who are taking that look; Jake Grovum at PIM does a good job of BS-detecting; he covers ground Ed and I have covered on the show as well as our various blogs over the past few months; it’s well worth a read.
And it doesn’t take a conspiracy theorist to look at the record of both of these polls and at least suspect that they smell a rat. The Minnesota Poll has a 20-plus year record of showing DFL gubernatorial and Senate candates faring an average of 7.5% stronger on the eve of the election than they actually perform. I need to go over the figures for the Humphrey poll, but off the top of my head I do know that the HHH showed Mike Hatch leading by six points at this time in the ’06 campaign; somehow, Tim Pawlenty did seven points better than that.
It’s not that I’m qualified to bag on the inner workings of the statistician’s game; I dropped the class after one week in college.
But when you have…:
- a twenty year history with the Strib/MNPoll, and a growing history with the HHH poll, of…
- …errors in methodology in polling that consistently result in 6-7 point polling errors…
- …just happen to consistently – as in, without exception – favor the DFL candidate in close, important elections (forget about the 2006 Senate race), and which are…
- …lavishly publicized at the beginning of the elections’ “get out the vote” phases…
- …by the respective sponsoring news and academic organizations, both of whomcan be accused – perhaps unfairly but definitely rationally – of having group cultures that favor, implicitly or explicitly, the party that is the consistent (invariable!) beneficiary of the statistical error, cycle after cycle after cycle…
…well, that strikes me as an interesting story.
Now, it’s been made clear to me in this election cycle that the elite of the Twin Cities political media establishment – the Rachel Stassen-Bergers and Tom Schecks and Bill Salisburys and Pat Kesslers and David Brauers and Erik Blacks and Tim Pugmires who do the heavy lifting at political coverage for the major regional media – don’t like mere peasants with blogs kibitzing about how they do their jobs, to say nothing about their story timing and selection.
But if I were a journalist (pardon the blasphemy – tis a silly thought), this woudl strike me a subject worthy of some scrutiny.
But I suspect that job will be left to us mere unlettered peasants, in our spare time, over the next two years.
HHH Institute? Princeton Research? Strib? MPR? Expect a phone call in early December.