Thursday, 29 October 2015 18:02

Vitter's campaign, supporters malign pollster Verne Kennedy, and so?

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kennedy-graphLeading up to the recent Governor’s primary, I received a number of polls, all different from one another in some way.


Whenever they would be released, and of course, they were all considered to be independent polls by those pushing them, I would hear critics scream and shout electronically, “how can you post such trash”. 

“Don’t you know, the pollster is a republican/democrat/liberal/paid for by/always inaccurate (pick one)” the other polls were.

I must confess, that during the election season, the greatest hostility towards any poll or pollster erupted after I posted the Verne Kennedy's MRI  poll during the summer.  One of the subscribers to the poll, of various business people involved, was John Georges, Publisher of The Advocate.

What made it even worse for the credibility of the poll, in some respect, was the fact that at the time,Georges was considering a run for the governor spot.  Also, Kennedy has been Georges pollster since, well, I guess forever, so for that reason alone, those who disagreed with any of his polls or some of Kennedy’s polls, were quick to point that out, as, I suppose they should have done.

Kennedy’s poll released in July rang the bell loudest in terms of backlash.  The Vitter folks made it known that the results were bogus, alive, that Kennedy was most unreliable.  They cited one Kennedy poll from 2010 that they said was so out of orbit, that Kennedy, and by extension, Georges, had zero cred.

The conservative bloggers, in particular, one, slashed and burned Kennedy.  A local pollster also chimed in furious that I would even put any stock whatsoever in the Kennedy poll.  They all seemed to be following the talking points from Camp Vitter in the content of their attacks and its vitriol.

Why such enmity?

Because it was the very first poll that indicated that just maybe, Scott Angelle was on an upswing, coming from two percent to actually competing with Vitter.  And, if one were to believe that poll, one would accept the proposition that Vitter was dropping like a dead-weight.  Obviously, the world could not face the fact that the armor of invincibility would somewhat get tarnished.  After all, Vitter had the substantial war-chest, name recognition, and shall I add the political endorsements, from Ted Cruz to John Kennedy, to Steve Scalise to anybody and everybody.  Any thoughts that Vitter would fade, was rank heresy and bias. 

Well, as fate would have it, the pollster that seemed to be the most reliable of all during this time period and certainly during the final days of the election, was none other than-- 

Yep, Verne Kennedy.

This does not mean that Kennedy did not have issues with his polls.  It came with the turf when subscribers, some wanting one candidate and others wanting another candidate, would leak a poll that was not designed to be released to the public but used for internal purposes. 

Here’s how Lou Gehrig Burnett of Fax-Net put the poll derby, back in August:

The latest poll comes from Triumph Campaigns, located in Mississippi, and was first published by our news partner,
    The survey polled only the governor’s race only and contains interviews by landlines only with 2,285 persons and has a margin of error of 2.1%.
    If the election were held today, here is what Triumph says the results would be:
    U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R) – 31%.
    State Rep. John Bel Edwards (D) – 30%. 
    Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle (R) –  14%.
    Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne (R) – 13%.
    Undecided – 11%.
    The results of the Triumph poll differs greatly from a poll conducted in late July by Verne Kennedy of Market Research Insight (MRI)  
    MRI’s poll had a stunning result. It showed Angelle with 24%, Vitter with 22%, Edwards with 20%, and Dardenne with 13%.  Undecided was 20%.
    But when Kennedy, who has polled in Louisiana  for decades, factored in the black vote according to historical patterns, the results were Edwards 34%, Angelle 22%, Vitter 22%, and Dardenne 12%.

Not to pick on Triumph which I published only once I received the cross tabs, which was my same request, once I received Kennedy’s tabs also.

The publication that seemed to excoriate Kennedy the most was popular conservative blog.  Their poll, during the period showed and never did they post the cross tabs to determine reliability.

hayride-poll 0

Looking at the poll, Vitter started to drop in May and as of October 15, had reached the low of 28.5.  Angelle had only 12.7 with Edwards, precisely at 40.5%.

Thus, given the actual results, their last poll was off.  The real unofficial results: 40, Vitter 23 and Angelle 19 percent. 

Thus conservative blog was off by 5.5% on Vitter and 7.3% on Angelle although they were virtually on the money with Edwards or 12.8% on Vitter vs. Angelle, second place spot.

The last Kennedy poll showed Edwards 33, Vitter 21 and Angelle 18. 

So, how far was Kennedy off for the extremely important second place since we all knew that Edwards was a basic shoe-in for the primary?

Kennedy was off 2 percent on Vitter and 1 point on Angelle for 3 percentage point differential, compared to the conservative blog’s 12.8% off course.

Incidentally, aside from the Vitter partisans and conservative bloggers’ ridicule of the Kennedy poll, topping that department was none other than Vitter Campaign itself.

So, how did they have the elections, only right prior to election day?

Here is an email sent to the Vitter brass, two days prior to election day:

Begin forwarded message:

From: Courtney Guastella <<>>
Date: October 22, 2015 at 8:42:05 PM CDT
To: Courtney Guastella <<>>

I understand that there has been another “fantasy” poll circulated.  I also understand why, we are two days out from election day, and there are two people who do not want to face the reality that this race is coming to a close for them.

I just thought some of you would appreciate seeing our internal numbers.  We are now tracking every night and feel VERY confident of our strong hold on second place.  Two things are very clear, we will be in the run off and it will be a tough fight once we get there.  We will need your help, but in the end will reach the goal line.  Thank you again for all of your support.

Courtney Guastella

Finance Director,
David Vitter For Louisiana

vitter-poll 1









Election wrap and what Edwards, Vitter must do to win--UNO's Ed Chervenak, Jim Brown discuss the election 
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