Friday, February 26, 2010

Responding to Lewis

The Kenneth Lewis campaign for Senate sent out a press release today accusing of us writing biased commentary against his campaign because we did a poll for Elaine Marshall more than three months ago and because my boss made a contribution to Cal Cunningham. This is about the millionth time we've been accused of bias for something or other in our history, it's just as baseless as all the other accusations, and I think our track record backs that up.

They specifically cited this post I wrote yesterday where I said I thought Cunningham and Marshall would break away from the Democratic primary field.

I do think that and I'm happy to say why. So far Marshall has raised $304,864 and spent 31% of it, leaving $211,113 on hand. Cunningham has raised $320,058 and spent only 5% of it, leaving $303,175 on hand. The Lewis campaign has actually raised the most at $327,047 but has already spent 66% of it, leaving only $116,456 on hand.

Spending two thirds of your money, without any of it having gone toward media or anything that would boost your name recognition on a broad basis, is the sign of an undisciplined campaign. It's the sign of a campaign that's spending way too much money on consultants and staff. If you've spent 2/3rds of your money by the end of January and are only polling at 5%, seven points behind a candidate who started out with similarly nonexistent name recognition and has spent no money, that's a very bad sign for your campaign.

Maybe all the money Lewis has blown through will have some positive impact that remains to be seen. Maybe he'll be able to recoup all the money he's already spent and remain financially competitive with the other candidates. But what I see is someone who's spent most of his money and is 24 points behind, and that's why I think he's unlikely to win, not because I'm biased.

Lewis makes the fourth statewide candidate in the last two cycles in North Carolina to blast us and accuse us of bias, joining Richard Moore, Bob Orr, and Elizabeth Dole. Moore, Orr, and Dole all lost badly. Blasting pollsters is the sign of a campaign in bad shape. Maybe Lewis will end up being a major factor in this race, and if he is we'll be writing about it. But for now I'm just calling it the way I see it with my goal being what it always is- to deliver accurate analysis of North Carolina politics.


Bharat said...

Nice insight. Thanks for taking the time to respond to this attack, I know it frustrates you guys all the time.

Erich Heyssel's Blog said...

Now I know you are a (more or less) partisan Democrat, and I am a partisan Republican. But, I think you are one of, if not the, best pollster in the business. Every one in a great while something you publish leaves me wondering - but that is very rare. You are a great source, and I say: KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK!

Anonymous said...


Claiming Cal has only spent 5% of his money is bogus. You know as well as anyone that he didn't pay any of his bills - including the payroll for his nationally-known campaign team - until after January 1.

Anonymous said...

Why is it that you don't disclose conflicts of interest (real or perceived) along with your write-ups and releases?

In this case you've acknowledged your conflicts only after being called on it publicly. Why not acknowledge any conflicts with each poll and write-up up front, like professional news organizations do?

PPP polling numbers appear pretty accurate to me, and I'm generally supportive of automated polling. But I don't believe that's where most of the criticism is coming from, so your "they just don't like the numbers so they're attacking the pollster" retort sounds disingenuous.

For example, you've chosen to highlight Kenneth Lewis' burn rate. There are many different tacks one could take in writing up a race, and this particular tack casts Lewis, but not Cunningham and Marshall, in a poor light. Maybe fair, maybe not: you should disclose the real or perceived conflicts and let the readers and news organizations decide.

Anonymous said...

Of course Lewis would never have commented on the "Under the Dome" revelation if he was leading in the polls.

But that doesn't excuse PPP from being upfront about any potential conflict of interest.

The last 2 Civitas polls both showed Lewis in 2nd or virtually tied for 2nd. Those polls did not show movement for Cal.

PPP, you're a solid, accurate polling company, but don't mislead the public by witholding associations/relationships with candidates

Anonymous said...

well you guys are liberals

you do want your side to win thats why I always add at least 3 to republicans

Anonymous said...

Shame on you sore losers! I'm a staunch Conservative Republican but I trust PPP and Tom Jensen because he is proved as honest and accurate! Shame on you! On the way out you can also bash Rasmussen. Please stay disillusioned! Obama and Pelosi can teach you how!

John said...

Did you do any last texas poll? I think you said you were going to do one each weekend as long as the race looked competitive. Which I hope you agreed it did.

Will you publish it today or wait until tomorrow in that case?

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