Questionable Polling?

Herseth Sandlin and Noem – Round 2?

Mitchell Daily Republic is reporting on a poll based on a hypothetical rematch between Congresswoman Noem and former Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin that was done by Nielson Brothers, and it has some head-scratching results.

The Nielson Brothers Polling Labor Day Survey claims Herseth Sandlin would defeat Noem 58-37 percent, with 5 percent undecided, if they met again.

Now you remember in 2010, Noem defeated Herseth Sandlin 48-46% with B. Thomas Marking getting the remainder of the votes.

The current poll does show Noem with a 55% approval rating and that she would handily win reelection against an unnamed Democrat with nearly 60%.

Now here is why I’m more than skeptical of the poll and why you should be as well.

Nielsen Brothers Polling is a relatively new firm that only started conducting polls in the 2010 election cycle.

In fact, they were putting out polls that showed Scott Heidepriem in a dead heat with Dennis Daugaard.

In the contest for Governor, Lt. Governor Dennis Dauggard edges out State Senate Minority Leader Scott Heidepriem 43 to 40 percent with 17 undecided.

At the same time during the election, Rasmussen had Daugaard up nearly 20 points. And Daugaard went on to win the general a short time later with over 60% of the vote.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to tell you that a rematch between Herseth Sandlin and Noem would be very competitive, but when polling shows that a rematch would be a blowout one way or the other, I tend to question the results.

The TOP FIVE reasons not to belive this poll:

The reasons Nielson Brothers poll showing Herseth Sandlin over Noem in a head to head should be seriously questioned as biased propaganda:

#1 – they won’t release the methodology the poll was conducted under.

#2 – they won’t release the poll crosstabulations.

#3 – they won’t release who paid for it.

#4 – one of the Nielsen bros, Paul Nielson, is a dem who ran in 2008 against Tom Dempster for the district 9 senate seat. (Nielson lost that November election 52-47).

#5 – I’ve been told BJ Nesselhuf has had this poll for a week, and has been shopping it to news outlets.

Smart news outlets have been refusing to run it, recognizing it as a ploy to get Herseth into the race over the two candidates who are actively looking at running.

I originally posted this last night (09/20/11), but pulled this post because the numbers reported in the Mitchell Daily Republic appeared to be as inaccurate as Nielson Brothers polling from the 2010 gubernatorial race. The results reported appeared to be so wildy off that I thought there must be a typo.

26 Replies to “Questionable Polling?”

  1. Anonymous

    What kills me is that they report on SHS defeating Noem by 19% in a hypo poll and then they say she would narrowly defeat Noem.

    Who’s writing that stuff? did MDR put out the wrong number and it’s supposed to be 48-47?

  2. Alex Madison

    This poll misses the real issue. After all – whats better – A skewed poll in your favor, or 500 facebook friends! I think this is clearly a shot at Matt Verilick. Really, it is he who should have been included in this poll, not SHS. Clearly the pollsters and the media have missed the mark again. 500 fellow facebookers agree – Draft Matt Veralick for Congress!

  3. Anonymous

    I would argue SHS would defeat Noem by about 5%. It would be close but SHS would win next time.

    This is precisely why I’d rather see Rounds run for Senate than Noem. Rounds is much stronger in the general than Noem.

  4. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels

    No one was hurt more by being involved with a political party than SHS. She should ditch the party and run as an independant.

  5. Lee Schoenbeck

    I suspect that this is a very scientific sampling of the voters —- at the Honker bar in Houghton during a Herseth family reunion, or of the people who went into the State Democrat Building at the State Fair and also contributed before voting —- yeah, this is a real poll —- of something (not the South Dakota electorate – but something)

  6. Frequent SDWC Reader

    Bill Clay,

    I couldn’t help but notice that you posted this before Heidelberger but he used the same phrase as you.

    “and it has some head-scratching results.” – Bill Clay

    “On the first, respondents leave me scratching my head…” – Madvilletimes post

    All of his time hanging out at the DWC must be sinking in with him.

  7. Just Call Me Joe

    This is laughable – not that SHS couldn’t run a decent race against Noem, but to claim any objective scientific polling would put it much better than a dead heat really causes this outfit to lose all credibility. I guess their marketing plan is to do vanity polling for (D)s to drum up fund raising among their faithful – certainly no measure of public opinion, though.

  8. Duh

    SHS is done. She’s $46,000 in the hole and if she runs again, my friends will like that so they can go after her for the thousands in campaign office lease payments that she ditched them on. The only thing she’s changed is her hairstyle.

  9. old guy

    Remember when these guys last poll came out showing the Dem’s either winning races or close how Cory kept saying how much better a poll this was as opposed to Rasmussen’s poll. I for one wish this poll was right as I voted for SHS and would again.

  10. duggersd

    So these guys are claiming 23% of the people who voted for Noem would switch? Perhaps they mixed up their Obama/McCain data…..

  11. CaveMan

    We can thank George Bush for Obama; and next year we can thank Obama for the total pounding nationally of the Democratic party.

    One can almost feel the thunderous stampede into congress of a thousand elephant feet. The Nielson Bros. have been smokin crack.

  12. Spencer

    Once upon a time in a land far, far away, a polling organization that didn’t understand basic statistical probabilities released a poll showing an actual Democrat doing 33 percentage points better than a generic Democrat.

  13. Bruce Whalen

    Noem would need to repeat or best the margin in east river to over ride west river Indian Voters. I have yet to see the State GOP convince Indian Voters to vote against Democratic policies. Noem could lose because of this.

  14. An Observer

    Mr. Clay seems a little one sided in accessing Nielson Brothers Pollings and their latest results. Just because they are new to the polling world and just because their results are different doesn’t mean they are wrong. In googleing them and reading over several stories about them and their results in the Mitchell Daily Republic, it is apparent he should be more careful in his criticism. They are both well qualified to do polling, holding Doctorates from the University of Chicago and they have proven to be accurate in most of their polling.

    They called the Noem / Herseth Sandlin race correctly last fall as well as many of the other races so they have some credibility. They themselves say their current results suprise them, yet in looking at them what I think they really show is that South Dakota voters support for Noem is soft and they still remember Stephanie fondly, at least those in the middle do, and some make the easy decision to say they would vote for her in a poll. And we should remember Conservatives and Republicans were much more motivated to vote last November and the Nielson poll is a poll of all registered voters not just those who voted in November.

    Rather than shooting the messanger as Mr. Clay seems intent on doing because he doesn’t like some of the results of the poll, why don’t we welcome the additional information Nielson Brothers provide to our dialogue. We may not like the information but that is no reason to spread false and one sided information about the messanger. Noem’s people and Republicans should look at the central message of the Nielson polll, namely that Noem’s support is soft among voters in the middle and consider strengthening it. And by that I do not mean trashing people who simply present some primary reseach for everyone to consider.

    1. anon

      I have no doubt Noem’s support is weak in the middle. She ran a negative campaign but she won so she is the one doing the laughing.

      If she’d stayed positive and talked about ideas SHS would never even think about coming back but since Shields dragged the campaign through the mud he took Noem with it.

      I stand by my opinion that if Rounds is the GOP nominee for Senate we will not see SHS again.


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