I’ll have to defer to pollsters as to whether this is consistent with professional polling protocol.

PPP has admitted that it deliberately did not release a poll showing that Colorado State Senator Angela Giron was likely to lose the recall election by a wide margin:

We did a poll last weekend in Colorado Senate District 3 and found that voters intended to recall Angela Giron by a 12 point margin, 54/42. In a district that Barack Obama won by almost 20 points I figured there was no way that could be right and made a rare decision not to release the poll. It turns out we should have had more faith in our numbers becaue she was indeed recalled by 12 points.

What’s interesting about our poll is that it didn’t find the gun control measures that drove the recall election to be that unpopular. Expanded background checks for gun buyers had 68/27 support among voters in the district, reflecting the overwhelming popularity for that we’ve found across the country. And voters were evenly divided on the law limiting high capacity ammunition magazines to 15 bullets, with 47% supporting and 47% opposing it. If voters were really making their recall votes based on those two laws, that doesn’t point to recalling Giron by a 12 point margin.

We did find on the poll though that voters in the district had a favorable opinion of the NRA by a 53/33 margin. And I think when you see the final results what that indicates is they just did a good job of turning the election more broadly into do you support gun rights or are you opposed to them. If voters made their decision based on the actual pretty unobtrusive  laws that Giron helped get passed, she likely would have survived. But the NRA won the messaging game and turned it into something bigger than it was- even if that wasn’t true- and Giron paid the price.

John Hickenlooper won the district overwhelmingly in 2010 but is only tied at 42 with Tom Tancredo in a hypothetical match up there, so it’s something Democrats will have to figure out how to deal with before next year.

PPP has a further explanation here:

If I’d thought we’d pulled a fast one on the world, I certainly wouldn’t have released the poll after the election.

PPP is the pollster for Daily Kos, whose readership invested heavily in the recall elections, contributing more money than the NRA.  On August 26, Markos wrote:

The scuttlebutt from people who have seen the numbers are that Giron is relatively safe (or as much as you can be in a summer special election with an uncertain electorate), but that state Senate President John Morse, the other recall target, lags slightly among likely voters. The NRA certainly smells blood in the water (they have lots of practice with that), and are trying to close strong.

I could find nothing on the website indicating that it was clued into the PPP polling on Giron.  The day of the recall, Markos blandly wrote:

Sen. Angela Giron’s SD-03 is 45.2 percent Dem, 22.9 percent Republican, and 31.9 percent other. President Barack Obama got 59.7 percent of the 2012 two-way vote, and Giron got 55 percent of the vote in 2010. Democrats have a solid advantage in “super voters”, 14K versus 8K Republicans.

Yet word from my sources in the district has been that Morse is in better shape than Giron. Weird, if accurate.

I have an email in to PPP to find out if the polling information it did not release was in any way shared with Daily Kos or anyone involved in the Colorado recalls. (Update – they say no.)

I’ve been suspicious and critical of PPP’s messaging and spinning in the past, although its actual election polling is average.

This strikes me, however, as a no-win for PPP.  A good argument can be made that by keeping Giron’s weakness a secret, it disadvantaged left-wing groups like Kos who might have gone into panic and GOTV efforts more intensively had they known.  If I were Markos, I’d be upset, even if Kos did not commission the poll.

I’ll chalk it up to a bad decision, until further information demonstrates otherwise.

Update:

This is turning into a serious fight:

This also doesn’t look good (h/t Sean Davis) — the head of PPP was an expert witness for Democrats in litigation challenging recall petition as to Senate President John Morse:

4. Finally, Grueskin called as a witness Tom Jensen, director of Chapel Hill, North Carolina-based Public Policy Polling, an organization described as ”a “Democratic-leaning” polling company because in its private client work, it conducts polls only for Democratic campaigns and progressive organizations.”

Grueskin attempted to use Jensen’s testimony regarding a PPP poll (commissioned by Grueskin) purporting to show widespread ignorance of the Recall process among voters in Morse’s Senate District 11. PPP’s poll, surveying a random sample of 381 voters in the district, returned results showing that over half of those surveyed (54%) did not understand the process for selecting a replacement in the event of a successful recall vote.

On cross-examination, Jensen admitted that the poll did not tabulate poll survey results with actual petition signers, and thus could not confirm that the survey was reflective of the knowledge of those who actually signed the petitions. As a result, the bearing of the survey as evidence is questionable.

Still waiting for a response to this:

Response received:

 
 0 
 
 4