07/15/2013 05:54 pm ET

POLLSTER UPDATE: Gallup Agrees To $10.5 Million Settlement


Gallup pays big bucks to settle with the Feds. A new Quinnipiac poll has more crack for New York City polling junkies...and an unfortunate new nickname for Anthony Weiner. This is the HuffPost Pollster update for Monday, July 15, 2013.

GALLUP AGREES TO SETTLEMENT - DOJ: "The Justice Department announced today that the Gallup Organization has agreed to pay $10.5 million to settle allegations that it violated the False Claims Act and the Procurement Integrity Act for conduct involving several of its federal government contracts and subcontracts....The settlement announced today resolves allegations in a complaint filed by the United States in November 2012. The United States' complaint alleged that Gallup knowingly overstated its true estimated labor hours in proposals to the U.S. Mint and State Department for contracts and task orders that were to be awarded without competition. Because of Gallup's conduct, the complaint alleged, the two federal agencies awarded Gallup contracts and task orders at falsely inflated prices. The settlement also resolves allegations that Gallup engaged in improper employment negotiations with a then Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) official, Timothy Cannon, in order to obtain a FEMA subcontract at an inflated price and additional FEMA funding after the subcontract had been awarded." [DOJ]

QUINNIPIAC ON NYC: WEINER GAINS SINCE JUNE, SPITZER LEADS - A new Quinnipiac University poll of all registered Democrats in New York City finds that former Congressman Anthony Weiner (25 percent) and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (22 percent) lead a pack of contenders in the Democratic primary for mayor. Three more candidates trailed, including Comptroller William Thompson (11 percent), Public Advocate Bill de Blasio (10 percent), and Comptroller John Liu (7 percent), and 21 percent were completely undecided. Weiner's current standing represents an eight percentage point gain since a previous Quinnipiac poll in June. In the primary for city comptroller, former Governor Eliot Spitzer leads Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer by a 48 to 33 percent margin. [Quinnipiac]

Consistent with recent Marist polls - The new Quinnipiac poll result is very similar to the findings of the last NBC 4/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll conducted in June, which gave Weiner a 4 percentage point edge over Quinn (25 to 21 percent) among likely Democratic primary voters. A more recent Marist poll showed Spitzer leading Stringer by a slightly smaller margin (44 to 36 percent) among likely primary voters. [Marist polls from June, July]

Support from black voters boosts Weiner and Spitzer -- Quinnipiac's release notes that "strong support from black voters" is what moves Weiner to "the top of the heap" and what Spitzer his lead: Black voters go 31 percent for Weiner, 16 percent for Quinn, 14 percent for Thompson, 11 percent for Liu and 8 percent for de Blasio. White voters go 22 percent for Quinn, 20 percent for Weiner, 16 percent for de Blasio and 12 percent for Thompson...There is a big racial split...in the Democratic primary for comptroller: Spitzer leads 61 - 26 percent among black voters and 47 - 27 percent among Hispanic voters while Stringer leads 44 - 36 percent among white voters." [Quinnipiac]

-The Guardian's Harry Enten: "The real story is the collapse of Christine Quinn... who now holds a worse net favorable than Weiner... AKA, he'd be a [favorite] in a runoff." [@ForecasterEnten]

Remember turnout - Quinnipiac's survey estimates the views of all registered Democrats in New York, but the actual turnout is likely to be a fraction of that population. Just 18 percent of New York City's registered Democrats voted in the last competitive primary in September 2009, and 28 percent turned out for a competitive primary in October 2001 (when many thought the Democratic primary would choose a new mayor). Pollsters debate about the appropriate timing for the use of likely voter "models" and whether such screens make polls more or less accurate at this point in a campaign. All of that said, keep in mind that upwards of two-thirds of those interviewed in Quinnipiac's sample are unlikely to vote.

Remember name recognition - On horse race poll questions, better known candidates always have early (and sometimes fleeting) advantages over those with lower profiles. In the controller's race, 62 percent of the registered Democrats polled by Quinnipiac say they didn't know Stringer well enough to rate him, compared to just 12 percent who said the same of Spitzer. If Stringer's campaign is well funded and well covered, Spitzer's early name recognition advantage will fade.

Speaking of name recognition... Quinnipiac: “'Notoriety has earned the 'Tabloid Twins,' former Gov. Eliot Spitzer as Client 9 and former Congressman Anthony (Tweets) Weiner, good initial numbers in the polls,' said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute." [ibid]

INTEREST IN ZIMMERMAN TRIAL VARIES SHARPLY BY RACE - Pew: “The final days of the trial of George Zimmerman, which concluded July 13 with a verdict of not guilty, attracted relatively modest public interest overall. In a weekend survey, 26% say they were following news about the trial very closely. This is lower than interest in the initial controversy over Trayvon Martin's shooting when it erupted last year. In March 2012, 35% said they followed news about Martin's shooting very closely. However, the story has consistently attracted far more interest among blacks than whites – and that remained the case in the trial's final days. Blacks are more than twice as likely as whites to say they tracked news about the Zimmerman trial very closely (56% vs. 20%).“ [Pew]

MCDONNELL'S APPROVAL DROPS - Tom Jensen: “PPP's newest Virginia poll finds that Bob McDonnell's net approval rating has dropped 12 points in the last month, and that for the first time since taking office he's under water. Only 36% of voters approve of the job he's doing to 41% who disapprove. McDonnell's numbers are down across the board from our last poll of the state. He's dropped from 73% approval with Republicans to 62%, 22% approval with Democrats to 14%, and from a 39/41 spread to a 36/43 one with independents. McDonnell's favorability numbers are even worse than his approval numbers with just 32% of voters seeing him in a positive light to 45% who have a negative opinion." [PPP]

MONDAY'S 'OUTLIERS' - Links to more news at the intersection of polling, politics and political data:

-More Americans believe their view of immigration and immigration reform are closer to the Democrats than the Republicans. [Gallup]

-Harry Enten says GOP primary voters will pick a winner in 2016. [Guardian]

-Sean Trende says Brian Schweitzer's demurral greatly improves Republican chances of winning the Senate in 2014. Nate Cohn does too. Nate Silver thinks Republican chances are "close to even-money." [RCP, TNR, NYTimes]

-Danny Hayes charts the disappearance of gun control from news coverage since the Senate bill failed. [WaPost via Monkey Cage]

-Stand-your-ground laws make not guilty rulings more likely for white-on-black shootings. [PBS, see also Society Pages]

-Everything you wanted to know about broccoli polling, part two. [YouGov]