A study in scarlet

During the fall of 2000 and 2002 I had several conversations with Rob Daves, the man who runs the Minnesota Poll at the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The conversations raised questions of methodology and accuracy of the poll; Daves defended both. I was also a party to email exchanges between Daves and Ben Whitney, the head of Norm Coleman’s successful 2002 senate campaign. Daves consistently showed Coleman trailing by substantial margins. Based on the Coleman campaign’s internal polling and other factors, Ben thought Daves had it wrong.
I laid out the case against the Star Tribune’s Minnesota Poll immediately following the November 2002 election: “The case against the Star-Trib poll.” This past Friday, Minnesota Republican Party state chairman Ron Eibensteiner called for the dismissal of Daves based on the sorry history of the Minnesota Poll — a history that Ron laid out on a spreadsheet at the news conference: “GOP chairman urges Star Tribune to fire poll director.” The linked Star Tribune story includes the paper’s defense of Daves and the poll. (Click here for the audio of the Ron Eibensteiner’s press conference posted by the Star Tribune.)
Yesterday USA Today issued a press release announcing the results of its latest poll of likely voters in Minnesota: “USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll shows Bush and Kerry in dead heat in Minnesota.” (Courtesy of Peter Swanson.)

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