Sunday morning, Larry Jacobs of the Humphrey Institute attempted to defend his polling showing Sen. Dayton with a double-digit lead. The final MPR/Humphrey Institute poll showed Sen. Dayton with a 41-29 percent lead over Tom Emmer. A previous MPR-Humphrey Institute poll showed Dayton with a 38 percent to 27 percent lead. Here’s how Jacobs defended the MPR/Humphrey Institute poll:
JACOBS: Well, you know, a poll is nothing more than a snapshot in time. We’ve begun the interviewing nearly 2 weeks before election day. Barack Obama visited and we talked openly about the fact that this would likely change. There are, of course, all kinds of other factors that happened at the end, including the fact the almost 1 out of 5 undecided voters in our poll started to make up their mind.
The other thing to remember is that there were alot of other polls being conducted that showed the race closing at the time, something we were watching at the time, also.
Frankly, Jacobs had it wrong almost from the outset. The MPR/Humphrey Institute polling during the DFL primary campaign was similarly pathetic:
A new Minnesota Public Radio News/Humphrey Institute poll shows former Sen. Mark Dayton with a comfortable lead over the other two candidates competing in the DFL gubernatorial primary.
The poll also found that if the general election were held right now, Dayton might have a slight edge, but it would be a toss-up regardless of which Democrat ends up taking on Republican candidate Rep. Tom Emmer.
The poll of 701 Minnesota adults, which was taken May 13-May 16, shows Dayton is the favorite among likely DFL primary voters by a 10-point margin: 38 percent to 28 percent over House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher.
When the dust settled at the end of the primary, Dayton emerged with a slim 6,971 vote win over Speaker Kelliher.
It isn’t that I think Professor Jacobs is corrupt. I think he’s simply incompetent. By comparison, the KSTP-SurveyUSA polling was right on the money all year.
If it’s true that polls are nothing more than a snapshot in time of the political leanings of the people, I’d suggest that Professor Jacobs cleans off the lens to his ‘camera’ ASAP because the pictures his polls took look horrific.
As a taxpayer, if my money is being used for polling, which it is both through MPR and the Humphrey Institute, then I have the right to demand that the money be spent wisely. Paying for polling that’s wildly inaccurate isn’t spending money wisely.