Does anybody else feel generally uneasy about this new PA-13 poll from the Margolies campaign? They released it today and it shows them with a massive lead:
Politics PA points out the basic inherent problems with internal polling as simply as possible:
As with any internal poll, the results should be taken with a grain of salt. Campaigns typically decide to release polling for one of two reasons: to enhance their own viability, or to diminish that of their opponent(s).
Beyond the obvious general problems with internal polling that will clearly skew the results towards its candidate, I don’t think anybody would have identified with these results. For me, specifically, it was mostly the name recognition piece:
Margolies name identification stands at 81%, and 62% are familiar enough to have an opinion of her. More than half of the primary electorate (55%) has a favorable opinion of the former Congresswoman, while just 8% have an unfavorable opinion.
At first glance, it’s easy to think that since Ms. Margolies represented PA-13 in the past, it’s understandable to think that most likely Democratic primary voters in the district would know who she was and potentially have a favorable opinion of her. But then remember that she served one term 20 years ago in a PA-13 that’s since been redistricted twice. Not a ton of overlap:
This isn’t to say that some voters outside of the old 13th district shouldn’t know who she is, as she provided the deciding vote for the Clinton budget in 1993 and is Chelsea Clinton’s mother-in-law. But it seems like they skewed this poll harder than they should have or needed to in order to gain their sought-after recognition as the official front-runner.
I also don’t doubt that she’s in the lead — specifically before any advertisements or real campaigning kicks off — I just doubt that she’s ahead by this much. If you can skew a poll with a MOE of +/- 4.8% to the point that you’re up by 28%, at the least, you’re up by double-digits.
My advice for the Margolies campaign is that next time you release an internal poll, you’ll likely get a bigger bump from releasing more realistic numbers and having voters believe what you’re putting out rather than a poll that looks substantially unrealistic meant to show your candidate with an enormous lead over your faltering opponents. But now you’re stuck releasing quixotic internal polls for the rest of this campaign, because otherwise, it will look like you believe your candidate is tanking. So unless a non-biased polling firm backs up your results, I suppose the rest of us should pay even less attention to your internal polls than we normally would.