23 May 2006

Better Than Holtzman, But Only A Little

Marc Holtzman's campaign manager admitted under oath to making up poll results out of whole cloth and then providing them to the press. Apparently, backers of Colorado 7th Congressional District candidate Peggy Lamm have been citing a "Lake Poll" to show that she is doing well. It does exist, but supporters have not been telling the whole story.

What does the pollster say about that poll (emphasis added):

It has been brought to our attention that findings from our recent statewide survey have been misinterpreted and misused as a barometer on the current primary involving former State Senate President Pro Tem Ed Perlmutter and former State Representative Peggy Lamm. First, the information being reported revolves around an oversample of 75 registered voters in the 7th Congressional District. The margin of error on a sample of that size is 11.4 percentage points. Secondly, the question at issue was asked of all survey respondents - not just Democratic primary voters. Finally, and most importantly, the survey sample (the voters we spoke with) was specifically designed to include registered voters who DO NOT vote in off-year elections, meaning those surveyed voters had a history of voting only in Presidential Elections and certainly not in primaries. So taken together, the small sample size and the fact that none of the voters are likely primary voters, the most logical conclusion is that the survey tells us nothing about the Democratic primary between Perlmutter and Lamm.

Short version: This poll is total crap, even though it was quoted by DC insider paper The Hill.

Lamm does have high name recognition (due largely to relations Dottie Lamm and Richard Lamm who were high profile political figures in Colorado), and will almost certainly appear on the ballot. Herb Rubenstein is also likely to make it onto the ballot if his press releases are to be believed, and will, at least, muddy the waters. This is bad news for Perlumutter. But, the evidence that legitimate polling puts Perlmutter in third place in the race, or that Lamm is a favorite in an August primary, is premature.

Lamm has made some early mistakes in this race, although they aren't terribly mendacious ones, more political stupidity than any sign that she would do a bad job if elected. Perlmutter has worked quitely to line up endorsers and a nomination through the caucus process, but it has all been a bit too quiet for someone who needs to build name recognition. Rubenstein isn't going to win, but he may very well act as a spoiler in the primary, although it isn't clear who benefits if that is the case.

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