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News from the Votemaster

New Feature Starting Today: A Second Map Page without Rasmussen

Nate Silver of the New York Times analyzed a large number of polls and pollsters after the 2010 election and concluded that the polls of Rasmussen Reports, whose subsidiary Pulse Opinion Research is the house pollster for Fox News, were highly inaccurate and strongly biased towards the Republicans. In contrast, PPP, which the media often (incorrectly) label as a "Democratic pollster" were more accurate and actually had a tiny bias toward the Republicans. Many people saw this news story and asked me to not to consider Rasmussen's polls. I have always resisted because in principle, Rasmussen is not a partisan pollster, that is, he doesn't work for candidates as many pollsters do. I don't want to be accused of picking and choosing among pollsters, so I have always included his polls and will continue to do that.

However, as a service to people who don't put much stock in his polls, starting today, the site will have an inside page giving the presidential and Senate maps and scores excluding all of Rasmussen's polls. You can then compare them if you wish. The page today is here but there is a new menu item "Rasmussen-free maps" that will be available every day to get to the current page. From that page you can go back and forth in time, the same way as with the main page and Senate page.

Since this is a data-oriented Website, let's look at the data we have. Rasmussen has run 50 general-election presidential polls this year. He has the Democrat ahead in 26 of them, the Republican ahead in 22, and 2 ties. Here is the data for all the Rasmussen presidential polls this year.

State Dem GOP Start End
Arizona 41 54 Jun 26 Jun 26
Arizona 40 51 Mar 13 Mar 13
California 57 35 Feb 08 Feb 16
Colorado 45 45 Jun 06 Jun 06
Florida 45 46 Jul 09 Jul 09
Florida 45 46 Apr 25 Apr 25
Florida 46 43 Mar 13 Mar 13
Florida 47 44 Feb 09 Feb 09
Indiana 42 48 May 23 May 24
Iowa 46 47 Jun 11 Jun 11
Massachusetts 56 35 May 07 May 07
Massachusetts 51 40 Apr 09 Apr 09
Massachusetts 55 38 Feb 29 Feb 29
Michigan 50 42 Jun 14 Jun 14
Missouri 42 49 Jun 07 Jun 07
Missouri 45 48 Apr 17 Apr 17
Missouri 41 50 Mar 14 Mar 14
Montana 42 51 Jun 18 Jun 18
Montana 44 51 May 02 May 02
Montana 40 49 Apr 02 Apr 02
Montana 41 48 Feb 22 Feb 22
Nebraska 39 53 May 16 May 16
Nebraska 35 52 Mar 05 Mar 05
Nevada 52 44 Apr 30 Apr 30
Nevada 50 44 Mar 19 Mar 19
Nevada 53 44 Feb 01 Feb 01
New Hampshire 48 43 Jun 20 Jun 20
New Mexico 52 36 Apr 03 Apr 03
New Mexico 55 36 Feb 14 Feb 14
North Carolina 44 47 Jun 25 Jun 25
North Carolina 43 51 May 14 May 14
North Carolina 44 46 Apr 10 Apr 10
North Dakota 36 51 Jul 10 Jul 11
Ohio 47 45 Jul 18 Jul 18
Ohio 44 46 May 29 May 29
Ohio 46 42 Apr 18 Apr 18
Ohio 48 40 Mar 26 Mar 26
Ohio 46 42 Feb 08 Feb 08
Pennsylvania 48 44 Jul 18 Jul 18
Pennsylvania 47 41 May 21 May 21
Pennsylvania 45 44 Feb 08 Feb 23
Virginia 47 46 Jul 16 Jul 17
Virginia 47 47 Jun 03 Jun 03
Virginia 44 45 Apr 23 Apr 23
Virginia 51 42 Mar 20 Mar 20
Virginia 49 43 Feb 21 Feb 21
Wisconsin 44 47 Jun 12 Jun 12
Wisconsin 49 45 May 09 May 09
Wisconsin 52 41 Mar 27 Mar 27
Wisconsin 47 42 Feb 27 Feb 27

At the campaign progresses and there is more data to examine, we can at least see how he compares to other pollsters. More about Rasmussen here.

Economy Improving Somewhat in the Swing States

While the national economic picture is still poor, the pain is not uniformly distributed around the country. In reality, unemployment in California or Texas is not terribly important for the election because we already know how those states will go. What is more important is the jobs picture in the 10-12 swing states that will decide the election. In seven of those states (Iowa, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin, the unemployment rate is below the national average of 8.2%. In some cases it is way below. In Virginia, a truly crucial state, it is below 6%. While people in those states read about the national average, when they see that their friends, neighbors, and relatives are finding jobs, it will be harder for Mitt Romney to convince them that Obama has failed to get the economy on track. It is crazy and not good public policy, but from Obama's perspective, creating one job in Virginia is worth 10 jobs in Texas. But this is a consequence of the 18th century electoral college and the fact there this not a national election, but 51 state elections.

Obama Visits Colorado to Comfort Victim's Families

President Obama spent Sunday in Colorado acting presidential and talking to the families of the people shot in last week's mass murder. Does this matter? Well, to put things bluntly, Obama knows very well that Colorado is a key swing state. Spending a day there talking to people and showing that he cares while Romney is preparing to go to in London to cavort with the high and mighty. This reinforces the image he wants to project: he cares about ordinary people and Romney doesn't. Obama doesn't have to talk about policies or gun control or anything like that. Just being there is the message itself. Remember how much criticism George W. Bush took for not rushing to Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina? Obama understands that just being on the scene of the disaster is enough.

Kerrey Struggling in Nebraska

Vietnam veteran and former Nebraska governor and senator Bob Kerrey is struggling mightily to regain his old place in the Senate. When Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) announced that he was retiring (in no small part due to all the abuse he was getting from Democrats who accused him of being a DINO), he left a huge gap to be filled. Unless the Democrats could come up with a superstar, they would lose the seat in very red Nebraska. After months and months of pleading, the DSCC convinced Kerrey to go for another hurrah. The Republican nominee is Debra Fischer, a member of Nebraska's unicameral legislature. The most recent poll, a Rasmussen poll taken May 16, puts Fischer ahead 56% to 38%. The poll before that, a PPP poll in late March puts Fischer ahead 48% to 38%, but that poll was before she sealed the nomination. Either way, Kerrey's magic has apparently worn off and the Republicans are on their way to picking up the seat.