by Darryl, 05/29/2010, 12:18 PM

Rasmussen released a new poll for the Washington senatorial race yesterday. The poll, taken on 26 May on a sample of 500 likely Washington state voters, has Sen. Patty Murray leading real estate salesman and perennial candidate Dino Rossi by 48% to 47%. The margin of error for the poll is ±4.5%.

The poll was taken on the day of Rossi’s long-anticipated formal announcement of his candidacy. Of course, Rossi still has to make it through Washington’s top two primary. Given the crowded Republican field, there is some chance Rossi will not make it. The other general election match-ups have Murray up by even larger margins: 50% to 35% over Don Benton, 47% to 37% over Clint Didier, and 47% to 32% over Paul Akers.

A Monte Carlo analysis of the Murray-Rossi results, based on a million simulated elections at the same sample size and observed percentages, gives Murray 557,078 wins and Rossi 430,204 wins. The results suggest that, if the election was held today, Murray would have a 56.4% chance of beating Rossi. The distribution of election results looks like this:


The Rasmussen results are closer than those found in a recent Washington Poll that had Rossi leading by 4% in a sample of 1,252 registered voters. My analysis of that poll gave Murray an 86.5% probability of being the winner. In addition to the Washington Poll, there was another Rasmussen poll taken on 04 May that had Murray leading Rossi by 2%.

A joint analysis of the three polls taken in May—yes, I am not including the recent Elway Poll because it was started in April—gives Murray a hefty advantage. From a total of 2,252 voters surveyed Murray gets 45.8% and Rossi takes 42.9%. Normalized to just the 1,997 who went for Murray or Rossi, Murray gets 51.6% to Rossi’s 48.4%. The Monte Carlo analysis gives Murray 844,678 wins to Rossi’s 151,587 wins. In other words, the evidence from the May polls suggests that an election held this month would have an 84.8% probability of Murray winning. Here is the distribution for the pooled polls:


Here is a summary of the normalized polls for this contest over the entire year:


If Rossi had entered this race in mid-March, he could have claimed the advantage of the lead in all the early polling. At the end of May, however, Murray has now led in the most recent four polls and six of the past seven polls, suggesting that Rossi’s late entry into the race comes with a solid disadvantage.

29 Responses to “New poll: Murray still leads Rossi”

1. I Got Nuthin' spews:

Rossi always starts strong and always fades as we get to election day. Look for Murry to win easily come November…52% – 48%.

2. Zotz spews:

I appreciate that you’re being all scientific and whatnot, but shouldn’t you add 10 pts or so to Patty’s percentage in the Rasmussen “poll” for house effect (i.e., fraud)?

Nice recent post from Nate Silver here on Rasmussen’s “accuracy” history; the comments are worth a scan as well:

OTOH, we don’t want the wingnuts to give up too early — hopefully mucho R-bucks will get spent on this fool’s errand.

3. Darryl spews:

Nate Silver’s analysis does not suggest that Rasmussen’s general election polling is biased (i.e. has a “house effect”)—unless you go back to their polling in the 2000 elections.

Rasmussen’s state general election polls tend to be pretty close–at least as the election nears. There is some debate about bias earlier in the election season, but, aside from timing the poll to make Republicans look more favorable (like, you know, polling on the day Rossi announces), I’ve seen no good evidence or statistical analyses that their methods change over the course of an election. Have you?

Rasmussen’s presidential approval and generic congressional polls do have a substantial “house effect” that favors Republicans. That particular house effect was just as obvious during Shrub’s tenure as it is now.

4. Mary Plante spews:

You said the Elway poll was started in April but my summary indicates it was conducted May 1, 2 and 3.

5. Darryl spews:

Mary Plante,
Elway’s report says 29 Apr to 2 May (pg 4).

6. Zotz spews:

@3: I am not a statistician by any means. I wish I was capable of doing the analysis myself. I am thankful that you are (hint).

But I think Nate has been way too polite re Rasmussen. What’s significant about Nate’s piece in my opinion is that he appears to be building (toward) the case. It’ll be a bombshell when Nate lowers the boom because he’s been so reticent to call out Rasmussen heretofore.

And you’re absolutely correct about Rasmussen’s house effect not being new and the Lewison piece you link destroys their credbility on generic stuff, IMO.

But a pattern is pretty clear that Rasmussen polls for narrative effect as part of the right wing meme machine: skews or selctively polls such that an R narrative is supported in early polling, then shifts too more accurate polling as the election nears to preserve its “accuracy” ranking. Kos nails them (recently) here:

And again on the CT-Sen flap from last week, here:

There’s several good examples of issue poll wankery in the comments in the link to Nate’s piece.

Here’s another Nate piece doing some head scratching and finger wagging at Rasmussen on Rand Paul:

…At the same time, there are things that Rasmussen could do to quell the criticism from here and other quarters. For one thing, they could engage in a more earnest dialog about their methodology. For instance, they’ve said that their use of a likely voter model is the reason for their house effect, but a more careful examination reveals that it doesn’t suffice to explain the discrepancy.

And, as Markos Moulitsas pointed out yesterday, Rasmussen has engaged in a strange disappearing act this year when it was actually time to put their necks on the line and poll races close to election day. Last week, they gave us polls on thrilling contests such as the Kansas gubernatorial race and the Idaho senate race, and revealed to us that 51 percent of Americans think that the United States is the “last, best hope for mankind”. But the only poll we got of an actual, flesh-and-blood election was in Pennsylvania, and it was nearly two weeks out of date by the time that Tuesday came around. They ignored the primaries in Arkansas and Kentucky. They also ignored the special election in PA-12…

And just obsevationally, if you play around with and remove the Rasmussen polls, the Rasmussen anti-D / Issue skew is consistent, pretty much wherever you look.

Anyway, lots of indicators. Hopefully someone will pull it all together in one place (hint).

7. righton spews:

Love Goldy’s intro; what were Patty’s qualifications prior to becoming senator? Uh, ovaries and ability to do what Emily’s list tells her to do.

You wouldn’t hire her to be librarian, let along one of our 100 senators.

Rossi won his first election, only to have the earing judge and Logan (aka dem machine) flood the returns w/ newly found ballots.

8. manoftruth spews:

the polls are worthless. thats what robert gibbs said about obamas unfavorable polls. so that must mean all polls are worthless.

9. Chris Stefan spews:

I love it, 18 years in the Senate and the wingnuts can’t figure out why the citizens of Washington State keep re-electing Sen. Patty Murray.

10. Michael spews:


You wouldn’t hire her to be librarian, let along one of our 100 senators.

Well, we might not hire Murray to be a librarian, but we’d hire her to be a teacher seeing as she was one prior to becoming a state senator and then US senator.

And that’s a pretty normal transition: work☞ state senate☞ US senate.

11. righton spews:

and i wouldn’t hire her today to be a teacher nor a librarian. Lets hope we get enough sensible people to send her home. 18 years is enough.

12. Michael spews:

Part of me was hoping that Murray would decide to step down at the end of this term. I think she’s done a great job in office, but she’s been in D.C. for long enough. I don’t like perma-senators or congressmen.

But, the question then becomes replace that person with whom? I can think of a few folks from the center or left, both in and out of public office that I think would make good senators, but I can’t think of a single person on the right that would be able to do the job. Rossi and Benton’s legislative records are lackluster at best. Benton believes all sorts of crazy shit and Rossi refuses to tell us what he believes.

So, you’re stuck with replace her with whom? The answers that the Republican’s have come up with so far are laughable. Murray will be returned to office by a wide margin.

13. proud leftist spews:

Patty Murray has been a damned fine Senator for this state. She doesn’t have the oratorical skills of some of the Senate’s giants, but I’m not sure there are any of those sort left. She gets things done. She is progressive. Dino Rossi? What the hell has he really done that qualifies him for anything other than being the defendant in a civil suit for fraud?

14. Mr. Cynical spews:

1. I Got Nuthin’ spews:

Rossi always starts strong and always fades as we get to election day.

He was waaaaaaaay behind in 2004 and won!

15. Mr. Cynical spews:

Rasmussen called the Brown/Coakley race even….and Brown won by 5.

Polls give you a snapshot in time…..they aren’t predicting the final outcome today.

16. proud leftist spews:

Your lunacy continues. I’m not sure whether you or manoftruth is the most delusional troll who posts here. Rossi lost in 2004. He knew it. A Superior Court in the most conservative county in this state said he lost. The rule of law said he lost. He didn’t appeal. Little pickled brains like yours cannot ever grasp anything beyond what you heard at age 6.

17. Josef (aka Vote Dino, Get Marummy Too) spews:


We have Marummy.

Last time we had Jill Strait who quite frankly didn’t realize she was filling gi-gan-tic shoes so now anybody needing training wheels is no longer in charge of Rossifaria.

Replace Dean Logan w/ Patty Murray and you’ll see how this is gonna go mate.

See George Nethercutt was too slimey to get elected in this state, he’s the right-wing version of some Loserburg nut in Pierce County who got pierced by some General of the Army of Washington and Lt. General “Give ‘em Janelle” that you and your crowd don’t like that much Goldy. I voted Libertarian in ’04 in that race, voting Rossifarian-Marummy Coalition Party in ’10. Gawd, I hope this works.


18. proud leftist spews:

Nethercutt doesn’t come close to Rossi when we’re talking about slime. Put out the Slug Bait if Dino’s coming by, otherwise you will get slimed.

19. MikeBoyScout spews:

Read @11 righton on 05/29/2010 at 8:28 pm
and laughed.

Nobody has hired you as a school superintendent so you are not now nor have ever been in a position to hire a teacher.

Nobody has hired you as a director of any library so you are not now nor have ever been in a position to hire a librarian.

I don’t know, but I greatly suspect you’ve rarely, if ever, been in a position of authority and responsibility to hire for any position.

So, it is funny to read your critique of someone you do not know (and probably never met) based upon some fantasy that she would come to you for a job in professional areas you are neither qualified to hire for or authorized to hire for.

In your mind’s fantasy where you are head of NASA and don an Iron man suit, would you hire her to be an astronaut?

20. righton spews:

mikeboyscout. I’m not sure your logic really works. My question or challenge was, “she’s unqualfied and certain nowhere near the top of the curve of who could serve as senator”. Do you really put her in the top tier of citizens of wash state?

All she offers is a reliable vote on left wing matters. At least you could get a lefty who understands the subject (e.g. Maria).

I’ve never spoken to her personally, but have heard/read her nonsense for a long time now; have (lefty, but smart) friends who have met her and are embarassed by her.

She’ll get another Dem gig ; let her go.

21. MikeBoyScout spews:

@20 righton 05/30/2010 at 8:09 am,

Senator Patty Murray was qualified enough to vote against authorizing the invasion and illegal occupation of Iraq costing thousands of brave US citizen soldiers & sailors their lives and their livelihood. The irrational invasion and occupation has cost nearly a trillion dollars to hard working taxpayers, when we have higher needs.

You frequent this board with many comments about spending and over active government, but in the most difficult of times with the nation under threat and the executive branch of G. W. Bush lying about WMD in Iraq and Iraqi connections to al qaeda, and yellow cake in Niger, Senator Murray stood up and said no.

And what good has that invasion and occupation brought us?

And then you waltz in here with your half-assed analogies of librarians and teachers and throw out “lefty”.

If anyone is unqualified, you provide the best example of what it means to be unqualified. Heck, you can’t even berate a political foe in a meaningful and intelligent way.

22. Green Thumb spews:

Still trotting out the Monte Carlo analysis? Why not just report the latest polls and offer some insightful political analysis instead of an empirical exercise that doesn’t tell us a whole lot?

23. Steve spews:

“He was waaaaaaaay behind in 2004 and won!”

Dumbfuck KLOWN. Rossi lost. Then he lost again. Add it up anyway you want. He’s a loser. As for your sorry self, you’ve always been a loser.

24. David spews:

That Rossi is as high up as he is just shows the value of name recognition.

He’s failed every election he’s run in. He’s failed to have the courage to let people know where he stands on important issues. Pretty much, he’s failed – but because people recognize his name, he gets extra points.

25. righton spews:

fair point on the war(s). i’m not a fan and didn’t vote for GW 2x (really).

But I’m not sure saying no to the war votes proves anything other than she is predictably left wing. In the meantime she votes yes on every left wing issue you can name.

She’s never done one thing that represents me; heck she even fiddled while Boeing skipped town.

Face it, she’s a moron.

26. doggril spews:

I love righton’s “logic”. Having 18 years’ experience as a senator is “too much” experience and having zero experience is “just right” — but only if the one with zero experience is a Republican; because having zero experience as a Democrat (again, as righton defines “experience”–which is another exercise in tortuous logic) was also not the right amount.
I wonder how he/she goes about looking for a doctor…

27. doggril spews:

@7 – You’re full of shit. There was no point at which Rossi “won”. He was ahead on the first count; but was never declared the “winner.” As has been pointed out on several occasions, the LEGAL recounts were observed by D’s and R’s, and stood up to a challenge that was overseen by a conservative judge in a conservative county.
There was no Democratic machine that did squat. It was simply the will of the voters.
Stupid sore-ass loser.

28. Steve spews:

“Stupid sore-ass loser”

Teabaggers in a nutshell.

29. Puddybud sez, Ask the goatsee the caboose of every thread spews:

Didn’t Patty Murray once say this about Osama Bin Laden – “out in these countries for decades, building schools, building roads, building infrastructure, building day care facilities, building health care facilities, and the people are extremely grateful. We haven’t done that.”

Yep she was clueless in 2002 and still is in 2010, just like her drooling followers above!