This is news:
First Nevada Poll In Weeks Shows Sanders Tied With Clinton
Or is it?
A Washington Free Beacon/TargetPoint Consulting poll released Friday shows between Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sander (I-VT) in Nevada. It's the first poll conducted in the state this year.
The poll showed support for Clinton and Sanders tied at 45 percent of respondents.
This is, to put it mildly, an outlier:
In December, a Gravis Marketing survey showed Clinton up by 23 percent.
Should we believe this poll? It's from the conservative Washington Free Beacon. The pollster is TargetPoint Consulting, a GOP linked firm that's provided microtargeting data to the Republican National Committee, Bush Cheney '04, and Mitt Romney's 2012 campaign. Nate Silver has said that, as a polling firm, it "has a pretty strong Republican lean." At one point in 2008, it published a poll showing John McCain beating Barack Obama in Colorado by 12 points, at a time when all other polls of the state showed Obama leading. (Obama ultimately won Colorado by 9 points.)
And while the first half of the poll seems legit, with no controversial questions leading up to (and thus biasing the results for) the "whom do you think you would vote for?" question, the survey finishes up with questions intended either to turn voters against the two Democrats or to test lines of attack that can be used by Republican opponents. Here are those questions:
While Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, the Clinton Foundation received millions in foreign donations and did not disclose them, despite her promising President Obama that she would do so. Does this make you more or less likely to support her?
Bernie Sanders says he wants to increase taxes on corporations in order to improve income equality, while other say this money would go to pay for new government spending programs. Does this make you more or less likely to support him?
Hillary Clinton supported the Wall Street bailout and big banks have given her over $1.6 million dollars in campaign contributions and speaking fees. Does this make you more or less likely to support her?
Bernie Sanders has proposed trillions in new government spending, including $15 trillion dollars more for a government run health care program. Does this make you more or less likely to support him?
Recently several news organizations have reported that the FBI could indict Hillary Clinton over her handling of her email server. How concerned are you that she could actually face such an indictment?
(If you care, the first two Clinton items are a matter of concern for respondents, though the final Clinton item and the Sanders items aren't.)
This is a poll conducted in the service of the GOP. It might be reliable. But I take it with a grain of salt.
(Crossposted at No More Mr. Nice Blog)