Payne: Rasmussen's Polling Methods Are Suspect

On Jan. 5, Rasmussen Reports released the first poll in the general election to succeed the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. The telephone survey found Democrat Attorney General Martha Coakley leading Republican state Sen. Scott Brown 50 percent to 41 percent. WBUR's Democratic political analyst Dan Payne questions the methodology behind those findings:

Scott Rasmussen's method of interviewing by robo calls is suspect. While the phone number is for a "likely voter," the person who answers the phone could be a 16-year-old, an unregistered voter, a senile grandmother or someone in a playful mood.

The robo calls do not include cell-phone numbers, missing a growing number of younger voters who don't have landline phones. This is said to have understated Obama's support in the presidential general election by 3 to 5 percent.

Not surprisingly, Rasmussen is the favorite pollster of Fox News, perhaps because he consistently shows President Obama's popularity and issue stands to be worse than most other pollsters show.

This program aired on January 8, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

Dan Payne Democratic Political Analyst
Dan Payne is a Democratic political analyst for WBUR.



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