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DailyKos Fires Research 2000

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Markos ("Kos") Moulitsas has opted to "part ways" with DailyKos polling partner Research 2000 and seek "a new polling partner to finish out this election cycle." And if that were not enough, he explains that "The decision was made, in part, on the results of Nate Silver's new pollster rankings."

Research 2000's past results aren't actually as bad as people will try and make them out to be. In fact, if there's one thing that's striking about the chart, is how closely clumped together those pollsters actually are. The difference in accuracy between the best and worst pollsters (omitting Zogby's genuinely crappy internet poll) isn't very big. As Nate told me via email as he walked me through the results:

The absolute difference in the pollster ratings is not very great. Most of the time, there is no difference at all.

And while many will focus on R2K's misses in Alabama and Arkansas, fact is they nailed several others, like the Hawaii special, the Nevada primaries, NY-23, etc. Every pollster has hits and misses, and R2K was no different. But in an industry measured in percentages, fact is they underperformed their peers.

I believe in accountability, in accuracy, and in making sure we provide the absolute best information not just to this wonderful community, but also to the outside world. As such, Daily Kos will be on polling hiatus the next several months as we evaluate our options and decide how to best proceed.

I reached Del Ali, the president of Research 2000, by telephone a few minutes ago. He said he considered the Kos blog post "very kind to us" although he takes issue with the characterization of their final Arkansas poll as a "miss:"

We're the only polling firm that did this race, so there's no comparison with other pollsters for the record. But, having said it, our final numbers were 49-45 in favor of Halter [with a] four percent margin of error. I do believe the result fell within the margin for error.

Ali also pointed to two factors that "one has too look at" in assessing his final Arkansas poll, which was fielded last week from Wednesday to Friday. First, he gave credit to the "Clinton machine" for being "very effective with the Democratic party establishment over the weekend." Second he mentioned the "controversy that's still lurking even though Halter conceded --- the forty some odd polling areas or polling precincts that people could not vote in the areas of the state that Halter could have done well in." Put that together, Ali says, and "it comes out as, you know, 'Dewey Defeats Truman.'

This news is a likely a blow to the Olney, Maryland based research firm. Ali told me in March that DailyKos and other progressive sites or organizations like the Progressive Change Campaign Committee have sponsored roughly 80 percent of the publicly released polls conducted in recent years by Research 2000. The vast majority of the Research 2000 polls we have logged at pollster have been sponsored by DailyKos.

I will have more to say on this story soon

Update - Del Ali emails with this clarification:

Kos polling and PAC's is about 80% of our political polling only. However, our political polling is less than 15% of our overall business. Overall, 85% of what we do involves consulting for businesses and non political organizations, polling for non state wide candidates around the nation and a great deal moderating focus groups around the nation. That is where we make our money.

If we lived on Kos polling and media polls we would not exist. So, where I will miss polling for Markos, the financial impact is minimal if not non existent.