The polling firm Research 2000 is being accused of basically making up the results of polls it had conducted for prominent liberal blog Daily Kos. According to Kos founder Markos Moulitsas, three “statistics wizards” have closely examined the numbers from the polls and found them to be “bunk.” Kos is now suing Research 2000, which claims no wrongdoing and is threatening Moulitsas and bloggers like Nate Silver for slandering its (formerly) good name.
The allegations are a “big, big deal,” as the Plum Line’s Greg Sargent says, because “Research 2000 polls have been widely cited by many news organizations, and have helped shape the national political conversation.” For example, Politico notes, they “catapulted [Bill] Halter … from insurgent to perceived frontrunner” in his Arkansas Senate primary against Democratic incumbent Blanche Lincoln, which Lincoln went on to win. Besides skewing election narratives, Research 2000 also produced a particularly scary and depressing poll about Republican beliefs, one in which 73 percent of Republicans said that openly gay people shouldn’t be allowed to teach in schools and 31 percent said contraception should be banned. It’s not at all clear that Research 2000 fabricated this particular poll, but if they did, it means liberals can at least sleep easier at night knowing that a sizable chunk of Americans haven’t actually lost their minds.