Monday, July 24, 2017


Right-wing media outlets are crowing about a new poll showing Kid Rock (aka Robert Ritchie) with a lead over Democratic incumbent Debbie Stabenow in the 2018 Michigan Senate race. The poll is from a previously unknown firm called Delphi Analytica.
To gauge Ritchie’s chances in a hypothetical general election matchup, Delta Analytica conducted a poll from July 14-18 of 668 Michigan residents. Of respondents who stated a preference between Debbie Stabenow and Robert Ritchie, 54% stated they would vote for Ritchie while 46% said they would vote for Debbie Stabenow. These results could indicate that Ritchie is a popular figure in Michigan, Debbie Stabenow is unpopular, or some combination of concurrent trends. The relatively large, 44%, number of undecided respondents may be due to the early stages of the campaign.
Yes -- if you include the undecideds, the numbers are: Undecided 44%, Rock/Ritchie 30%, Stabenow 26%. That seems to be a lot of undecideds for a poll featuring a well-known incumbent and a well-known celebrity challenger.

But that's only one reason to be suspicious of the survey. We're told this:
In our quest for open and transparent process, we have included a subset of our raw polling data. We have stripped off race, educational qualifications and other social behavioral questions to protect our proprietary polling information . You can download the file here Raw Data
I went to the file and it really is, or appears to be, raw data. And I mean raw: It's just a list of interviewees ID'd by gender, age group, preference, and residence. It would be nice to get even basic crosstabs -- preferences broken down by race, gender, age, income -- but no luck. In addition, 78 of the respondents -- more than 10% -- aren't ID'd by gender or age, and others are ID'd by gender but not age. So 44% of the respondents gave no answer and 10% wouldn't give basic demographic data. and yet they're counted in the final results?
Amateur hour.

Delphi has announced a couple of other polls. One was conducted "in the Midwest region," though there's no indication of which states were surveyed. This poll, of Democrats, has a seriously implausible result:

In our Poll among Democrats in Midwest, approximately 50% thought none of the current democratic hopefuls have any chance of beating President Trump in 2020.

21% trusted former Vice President Joe Biden to take on Trump — while Elizabeth Warren, who represents the pro-Bernie populist wing of Democrats, had 14% support.

Interestingly, more people think Mark Zuckerberg has a higher chance of defeating Trump than former democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. This is a tremendous fall from a grace for a candidate who was the nominee for the party just few months back.
Trump has the worst poll numbers of any president at this point in his term, and yet half of Democratic respondents think none of these candidates could beat him in 2020? Even I'm not that gloomy.

And no, it isn't because the Midwest has become more and more pro-Trump since November -- a legitimate poll in Michigan in late May had Trump's unfavorable rating at 61%.

And even though Bernie Sanders isn't a Democrat, he seems serious about running as one in 2020. Why isn't he included? Because the folks at Delphi know it would strain credulity if a guy who still engenders a tremendous of goodwill among a large portion of the Democratic base fell short?

Delphi has one more garbage poll -- a survey of the upcoming Senate special election in Alabama to fill the seat formerly held by Jeff Sessions. What's suspect about this one is that, according to Delphi, only Republicans are surveyed -- but they're asked to choose from four Republican candidates and a Democrat. What's the point of that? There's going to be a party primary first. The Democrat won't be on the Republican ballot.

The Delphi Analytica website is reported to have gone up a month and a day ago. The site includes no information about the firm. The firm has no other Web presence except a post at Medium linking to the Kid Rock survey. And yet Delphi's results have been cited by the Daily Wire, Gateway Pundit, InfoWars, Twitchy, Red Alert Politics, and the American Mirror. In the right-wing information bubble, the result of the Kid Rock poll will become accepted fact.

Kid Rock is now a credible candidate in the right-o-sphere. Money and more conservative-press coverage will follow. All thanks to a poll that's almost certainly fake news.

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