With this being the first election-cycle since Rasmussen got roundly panned for being way off during for the 2012 Presidential year, Rasmussen has been through a lot of soul-searching. While it’s still sticking to only landline phones when it comes to calls, it’s also instituted some random online surveys into it as well to offset the lack of cell phones. Which, is all to say, that Rasmussen is still perfecting its new recipe this cycle. Rasmussen know they make their real bones during Presidential election years.
It’s easy to see this reflected in their current polls for Colorado where Rasmussen has Rep. Cory Gardner up 48%-47% on Sen. Mark Udall, and Gov. John Hickenlooper up 50%-46% over former Rep. Bob Beauprez (these totals include leaners— undecideds who were asked which way they were leaning). Still, with most other polls having barely any candidate breaking 47%, let alone three candidates, Rasmussen is showing something the other polls aren’t. Now, as we get closer to Election Day, and the undecideds start making up their minds, the other polls will start having candidates with numbers that high, but until then, we can’t compare apples to apples between the polls.
From what we can gather from the crosstabs, we’re guessing Rasmussen is weighting its poll to reflect an almost evenly divided voting electorate (third Republican, third Democrat, and a third independent). With the major overhaul in Colorado’s election law in 2013 by the Democrats, it’s still pretty much anyone’s guess on how closely this mid-term electorate will reflect previous ones. Most polls, like Rasmussen, are hedging their bets and going with the generic a third, a third, and a third. While most likely this means they won’t exactly nail the true outcome, they’ll also not be so far off as to draw attention to themselves.
As for Rasmussen specifically, we are led to believe that it’s gone from being too Republican in its bias in 2012, to being too liberal this cycle. Rasmussen’s approve/disapprove numbers for President Obama have by far been the most friendly to the President of all polling places asking the same question. With its net approval rating for Obama being at -4 (47%/51%), it is well above the other polls, who have consistently had Obama’s net approval ratings being in the negative double-digits. Likewise, the favorables and unfavorables for Hickenlooper and Udall are much more positive than other polls are showing them at.
Whether Rasmussen has stumbled upon a new recipe that will restore its reputation this cycle, or whether it’s gone too far in the other direction after a rough 2012, we won’t know until November. But, if we were Democrats and we found ourselves looking to a Rasmussen poll for comfort, that might tell us all we need to know about how our campaigns are doing.