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March 11, 2014 3:32 PM McCain and That “Bogus Poll”

By Ed Kilgore

On Fox Business today, John McCain dismissed a PPP survey showing him with very low (actually, the lowest in the Senate) job approval numbers as “bogus,” reports The Hill’s Peter Sullivan.

Well, at least he didn’t call it “skewed.”

But let’s look at the “bogus” claim for a minute, lest we concede it’s a business-as-usual complaint by a Republican pol against a Democratic polling firm.

The question involved was a straightforward job approval favorability or unfavorability inquiry. No questionable wording was involved, and it appears McCain’s job approval came up first in a list of Arizona pols, so question order shouldn’t be an issue.

Now most often poll results are questioned over the composition of the sample: too many of these, not enough of those. But McCain’s job approval ratios were pretty even across party ID lines: 29/53 among Dems, 35/55 among GOPers, 25/55 among indies. A shift in sample composition wouldn’t have made much difference. Could the sample have perhaps been too small? Well, the poll came with an MoE of 3.3% to reflect the sample size, and again, a maximum shift in McCain’s favor would have left him underwater in all three types of voters.

What’s McCain’s counter-data?

I can sense the people of my state. When I travel around, which I do constantly, they like me, and I am very grateful.

Oh, okay. That’s convincing.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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