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Charlie Sykes: Sykes Writes

MU's +11 Dem Skewed Poll

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I have no doubt that the senate race has tightened -- that Tammy Baldwin has gained while Tommy has snoozed. As I said Wednesday, Thompson has to realize that this is isn't 1998 anymore. But the normally reliable MU Law School poll is nigh-on absurd. The 18-point swing in just a month should raise more than a few flags. How does Baldwin go from 9 points down to 9 points ahead? Could it be the skewed sample? Consider these internals:


August poll: Thompson + 9 (50/41), with a Republican/Democrat sample of +1 Democrat (43/44)


September poll: Baldwin +9 (50/41), with a Republican/Democrat sample of +11 Democrat (40/51). 


Unless Wisconsin voters have suddenly swung hard left, this makes no sense. We are, at best, a closely divided state, and recent elections have demonstrated the durability and motivation of Republican voters. 


What changed in one month? MU's sample. In August the MU pollsters found a closely divided state with Tommy out-performing the normal partisan loyalties. Just a month later, they issue a poll on a dramatically different electoral universe in which partisan voters line up with the nominees of their own party. This may reflect some erosion for Thompson, but the topline results: absurd.

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