Rasmussen out with dubious poll on Wisconsin political controversy


Nate Silver, the best polling analyst in the business, is RAISING QUESTIONS about the validity of a new Rasmussen poll that purports to show plurality support among American voters for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s anti-union proposal.

Silver argues that the wording and order of the questions in the Rasmussen survey “may have biased the responses.”

He also offers this observation:

Another automated poll by the survey firm We Ask America, which is a subsidiary of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association and uses methodology similar to that of Rasmussen Reports, found that a majority of respondents disapprove of Mr. Walker’s budget plan — but it was a survey of Wisconsin residents, not the entire country, as Rasmussen’s was.

Because of the problems with question design, my advice would be simply to disregard the Rasmussen Reports poll, and to view their work with extreme skepticism going forward.



  1. I wonder what Silver’s thoughts are on this validity of this poll from the Washington-based Clarus Group:

    Do you think government employees should be represented by labor unions that bargain for higher pay, benefits and pensions … or do you think government employees should not be represented by labor unions?

    A full 64% of the respondents said “no.”

    That includes 42% of Democrats, and an overwhelming majority of Republicans. Only 49% of Democrats think public workers should be in unions at all.


  2. henry herrler

    Absolutely ridiculous. My God Pat, have you no shame? Walker ran for governor on this. The most important poll is the election. No trick wording in an election.

  3. henry herrler says “Walker ran for governor on this,” an obsevation that says nothing about the subject of this post, which concerns the validity of the Rasmussen poll.

    But, regarding henry’s non sequitur, is he saying that “Walker ran for governor” on a promise of doing away with collective-bargaining rights for public employees?

    I can find no record of Walker making any such promise during his campaign. I doubt that henry can find any such record either.

  4. I will answer your question to Henry with a post I placed on a different thread. A post that asks you a question which you did not answer:

    I would say the answer to the question is no. But one of his key promises was to balance the state budget and not kick the problem down the road. His other key promise was to do this without raising taxes.

    The voter mandate is for just that. Balance the budget, improve the business climate of the state. He has explained repeatedly why he thinks that limiting collective bargaining ( not a right, but a privilege) is required to do this at the state,county and municipal level.

    If the voter’s don’t like how his plan works out, they can vote him out of office. It’s hard to judge a plan until it has actually been enacted though, don’t you think?

    Wisconsin is facing a 3.6 billion dollar budget deficit that must be balanced by law. Walker has his plan which you obviously oppose, but what is your solution?

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