December 24, 2012

State House Notebook: NRA's spending in Maine favors GOP candidates

By Steve Mistler smistler@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

Paul LePage's 2010 campaign for governor received $73,480 from the National Rifle Association, the nation's largest, most powerful pro-gun advocacy group.

File photo/The Associated Press

It added that the governor isn't helped by a "hard-line conservative approach," a "penchant for outspoken remarks" and an approval rating that has hovered around the same level at which he was elected.

Additionally, the magazine cited a poll by Public Policy Polling that showed LePage trailing a generic Democrat opponent.

Governing said LePage's re-election chances will increase dramatically if 2010 independent candidate Eliot Cutler runs again in 2014.

Of the 38 governors who will be up for re-election in 2014, the magazine found 22 not vulnerable, 10 potentially vulnerable and five vulnerable.

LePage joined Rick Scott, R-Fla.; Dannel Malloy, D-Conn.; Pat Quinn, D-Ill.; and Lincoln Chafee, I-R.I., in the vulnerable category. 


It was hard to follow the presidential election and not hear or read about a pollster's political bias, or more politely, house effect.

The theory is that some results in some polls skew toward Democrats or Republicans either because of methodology or the inherent bias of the pollster. Political operatives seize the house effect to discredit or champion a particular poll that favors or hurts their candidate.

Public Policy Polling, for example, is often labeled as a Democratic-leaning firm. The tag was reinforced in 2010 when New York Times statistician Nate Silver calculated that the firm had a 3.1-point Democratic house effect during the 2010 midterm elections.

Public Policy Polling apparently favored Republicans in 2012. Silver's post-election rankings showed the firm had a 1.6-point bias toward Republican Mitt Romney in its presidential polls.

Silver calculated that the Maine-based Maine Peoples Resource Center, a firm linked to the progressive Maine Peoples Alliance, had a 4-point Republican bias in its presidential poll.

Critical Insights, the firm commissioned by the Portland Press Herald, had an 8-point Republican bias.

In both instances, the bias rate is identical to the error rate that Silver assigned the Maine polls.

The Maine Peoples Resource Center error rate closely aligns with Silver's average 4.3 error rate for automated polls.

Critical Insights, which did live interviews, was well off the average 3.5 error rate for live interview polls.

Staff Writer Steve Mistler can be contacted at 791-6345 or at:




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