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Rendell Gets Lucky

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Back before I shifted to blogging full time, I did fair amount of survey work in a particular locale where, by some odd twist of fate, we always managed to interview some relative or close friend of the client on every project. One reason for this phenomena, no doubt, was that we were calling into a relatively small county. As such, the odds of reaching someone just one degree of separation removed from the client were not that long. But someone who is the object of a question on the survey in a state the size of say, Pennsylvania, involves some very long odds.

Those long odds are what makes this story about the most recent Quinnipiac survey, blogged by Brett Lieberman of the Harrisburg Patriot-News (via Ben Smith), one for the record books:

[Governor Ed Rendell] was hanging out at home last weekend when the phone rang. On the other end of the call was a pollster from Quinnipiac University, who had no idea whom his computer had dialed. "That was funny," said Rendell, who says it was the first time in his life that he's been called by a pollster.

What was funnier was his response to a question about whether the governor's endorsement of Hillary Rodham Clinton make him "more likely to vote for Clinton, less likely to vote for Clinton, or doesn't it make a difference?"

"When they asked if Ed Rendell's endorsement had any impact, I said, 'Absolutely,'" Rendell told us last night.

Of course, the next question asked whether U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr.'s endorsement of Barack Obama had an impact on his vote. Rendell and Casey fought a tough 2002 primary and are often referred to as political rivals said. Rendell's response? "I said, 'no difference.'"

Anyone willing to calculate the odds of Quinnipiac's reaching Rendell and how they compare to say, winning the Powerball lottery? Extra credit for factoring in response bias.