Kenric Ward comes unglued: assigns Reuters poll to Reid Report

The right wing website Sunshine State News, described by its executive editor Nancy Smith as a “conservative organization” (see here in comments, and note that she didn’t say “conservative news organization…”) has finally taken the chaser out. The site is now full-on pimping for Republicans, including flacking for the Heritage Foundation, and no longer hiding behind the guise of “fair and balanced” (in order to get its polls picked up by actual news organizations. I see you, St. Pete Times!) That, I think, is a good thing. Honest presentation always is.

But the site’s “senior political correspondent” Kenric Ward, who among other things, can’t look up voter demographics on the Florida Division of Elections website, and has to have Democratic consultant Steve Schale email him the real numbers, has now come absolutely unhinged, and demonstrated once again that the right just can’t resist personalizing politics.

Ward attacks the Reid Report in an ad hominem so full of angry, right wing goodness, your humble … what did he call me? “Charlie Crist apologist” blogger can’t help but respond. Enjoy this typographical fusillade from his blog post:

After criticizing last week’s Sunshine State News Poll that showed Rubio holding a 43-29 margin over Crist, one would think the Reid Report might detect a pattern with the release of this week’s Reuters/Ipsos poll, which has Rubio with a 40-26 advantage, and a new Rasmussen survey pegging Rubio’s lead at 41-30.

But instead of gaining wisdom, the liberal blogger just pecked away at each poll, futilely looking for methodological shortcomings while grasping at straws for Crist.

Lurching into her hypothetical universe, she pondered the prospect of a Senate contest without also-ran Democrat Kendrick Meek and noted that the race would then be essentially tied — Rubio 46, Crist 45. Whoo-hoo!

Whoo-hoo! (Ahem…) Ward is taking issue with this post, which he didn’t even bother to link to (bad blog etiquette, that…)  in which I apparently offended him by reporting on a Florida Senate poll without working in the notion that SSN’s right wing polls are just as legitimate as say, real polls. On that I’ll say guilty as charged.

Mr. Ward caught me in an instance of citing Rasmussen robot polls, which I also believe, based not on gut feeling, but on objective analyses of Rasmussen polls and their consistent sampling and reporting bias, to be conducted with their thumb on the scale for Republicans — a view on which I’m hardly alone. But even given that, I certainly think Rasmussen polls are more legitimate than Sunshine State News polls, which are conducted by an organization that self-describes as a GOP outfit (whereas with Rasmussen, they deny polling for the benefit of the GOP, even if no one believes them.) That makes SSN polls akin to Republican internal polls, not “legitimate” polls, i.e., Quinnipiac or Pew polls or even Gallup, with their creaky demos and occasional wild outliers. The point is not that Rasmussen or SSN polls can never get anything right, but that it would be more honest of the pollsters to self-describe (or be described with that caveat by media outlets that report on them) as conservative polls (the way PPP admits to its Democratic lean, or Fox News’ new polling outfit is clearly understood…) since that, my friends, is what they are. Meanwhile, the only “wisdom” I’ve gained out of this episode is that unlike Rasmussen, Sunshine State News gets all pissy and whiney when bloggers won’t legitimize them. Hope that clears that up.

Next, Mr. Ward, who apparently gave up journalism in order to become Sean Hannity without the network, the household reach, or the sheer entertainment value, assigns a Reuters/Ipsos poll number to me. Little old me! Let’s look at that paragraph again:

Lurching into her hypothetical universe, she pondered the prospect of a Senate contest without also-ran Democrat Kendrick Meek and noted that the race would then be essentially tied — Rubio 46, Crist 45. Whoo-hoo!

Mr. Ward, sir … um … the Rubio/Crist statistic didn’t come from me, or my alternate universe (not that I don’t have quite a colorful one…) It came from the Reuters/Ipsos poll. They asked it as a poll question, and that was the result. See? Look, here’s a link. And here’s an even better one! I’ll even reprint some of what the Reuters folks wrote, in their universe:

When voters were asked their choice between Rubio and Crist if Meek was not in the race, the contest is essentially tied — Rubio 46 percent, and Crist 45 percent.

Reuters also stated the obvious in their poll write-up: that Crist and Meek are splitting the Democratic vote. But then, that’s kind of obvious to any political correspondent who’s paying attention. The key point, Mr. Ward, is that much like your “statistics” about how many Republicans versus how many Democrats there are in Florida — a piece of objective data anyone with an Internet connection can look up — you simply made up the notion that I concocted those numbers.

I have, on many occasions on this site, stated plainly that I think that as of today, the metrics in the Senate race in Florida favor Marco Rubio. I don’t pretend to be objective, so I’ll say flat out that I’m not happy about that, but those are the facts, and if you read TRR, you know that’s what I think. As for being an “apologist” for Charlie Crist, I can only take that as an expression of Mr. Ward’s personal distaste for Mr. Crist as a Republican (which is certainly typical of how Republicans feel about the governor) since like his statistics, he can’t have gotten it from this website.

Ward is typical, I think, of what has happened to conservatism. It’s no longer a dignified battle of ideas with the other side — it’s a grudge match. These people were so infuriated by the loss of Congress in ’06 and so unhinged by the loss of the White House in 2008, they’ve lost all connection to facts and reason. Even their so-called journalists are caught up in the frenzy of rage, and seeking political retribution, even against humble little bloggers like me. It’s actually kind of sad. I’m waiting for the first birther piece to appear on SSN, at which time I’ll know they’ve gone absolutely over the edge. Hey, maybe I can post something snarky enough to get them there…

So “who-hoo” yourself, Mr. Ward. And good to know you read the Report!

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2 Responses to Kenric Ward comes unglued: assigns Reuters poll to Reid Report

  1. Nancy Smith says:

    Sunshine State News is a conservative news organization. There.

  2. Dave says:

    My money is on the results and turnout numbers supplied by SSN. It’s not too hard to figure out, either…

    What Mr. Schale fails to acknowledge in this poll of ‘likely voters’ – and what is backed up by the SSN, Rasmussen polls, and mostly by IPSOS – is the turnout factor (you know, ‘likely’ to vote). Schale seems to think that voter turnout in November will be split evenly across parties. I seem to think he should be drug-tested on the spot for making that supposition. Nevertheless, The Reid Report appears to agree with his assessment as you chastised Ward/SSN for not having looked up voter demographics on the FEC website and relying solely on those registered voter numbers to assume turnout.

    So maybe you should look into voter turnout this past primary as it is a far better gauge of voter enthusiasm and projected turnout for November. On August 24th, over 40% more Republicans turned out to vote than Democrats in an election where each party had serious choices to make (Gov & US Senate). Prior to this year, the greatest spread in modern history was 14% (2006) and the recent averages come in around 9%. 40% is huge.

    Why does IPSOS back this argument up the most? Because it provides both registered voter numbers and likely voter numbers… and the results speak for themselves as to who is coming out in November.

    Based on all this, the SSN poll of likely voters weighing turnout at 42-36-22 seems far more reasonable than Schale’s estimate of 41-41-18. Just look around at Florida and the nation and ask …Who is motivated to vote this year?

    But, like Ward writes in his response… We’ll see who’s closer to being correct on Nov. 2.

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