Over the weekend, using a trove of suspect polls from Republican pollsters as cover, RealClearPolitics pointlessly reclassified Washington State’s 2022 U.S. Senate between Patty Murray and Tiffany Smiley as a “tossup,” breaking ranks with every other major forecaster in the election prediction and ratings racket.
Current ratings for U.S. Senate in Washington State as tracked by Wikipedia contributors
Source Ranking As of The Cook Political Report Likely D October 18, 2022 Inside Elections Likely D July 1, 2022 Sabato’s Crystal Ball Likely D October 19, 2022 Politico Likely D April 1, 2022 RCP Tossup October 30, 2022 Fox (FNC) Solid D August 22, 2022 DDHQ Likely D September 12, 2022 538 Likely D October 19, 2022 The Economist Likely D September 7, 2022
The rating change was promptly seized upon by Tiffany Smiley’s campaign as fodder for a fundraising email, with followers receiving a missive at 9:21 AM Pacific today crowing: “Friend, my Senate race is now a TOSS-UP!!! Everyone now is paying attention to this all-important race. I’ve been telling people for months that the people of Washington State are ready for a change. I knew in my gut that this could happen, but everyone counted me out.”
Hilariously, less than two hours before that, at 8:02 AM Pacific, the operatives running Smiley’s campaign had sent an email to the list complaining that Smiley’s campaign against Murray keeps being “ignored” by the “mainstream media.”
So… which is it? Is “everyone” locked in and “paying attention” to this “all-important race,” or is Smiley still getting “ignored”? (It sure seems like different operatives are pretending to be Smiley simultaneously these days…)
Smiley’s silly emails aside, for anyone who’s wondering if RealClearPolitics is on to something that everyone else is missing, let me assure you that they’re not.
They’re simply choosing to take a bunch of Republican-commissioned and Republican-polls seriously, even though those Republicans polls are at odds with the credible independent public opinion research that’s been done in this race.
Here’s a list of the recent credible polls, all from different pollsters and sponsors:
- Crosscut/Elway: 13 point lead for Murray. Murray 50%, Smiley 37%. Fielded September 12th-15th.
- KOMO4/Strategies 360: 12 point lead for Murray. Murray 52%, Smiley 40%. Fielded September 22nd-26th.
- Emerson College: 9 point lead for Murray. Murray 51%; Smiley 42%. Fielded September 30th-October 1st.
- Seattle Times/KING5/UW/WSU/SurveyUSA: 9 point lead for Murray. Murray 49%, Smiley 41%. Fielded October 14th-19th.
- Civiqs Analytics: 14 point lead for Murray. Murray 55%, Smiley 41%. Fielded October 15th-18th.
- NPI/Public Policy Polling: 10 point lead for Murray. Murray 52%, Smiley 42%. Fielded October 19th-20th.
Patty Murray’s average performance in these polls? 51.5%.
Tiffany Smiley’s average performance in these polls? 40.5%.
Crucially, Murray is over fifty… the magic number.
In Senate polling going back several years, no Democratic U.S. Senate or presidential candidate who polled over 50% in the body of credible polling has lost according to an analysis by Change Research, another one of NPI’s pollsters.
Based on polling, this contest is not a close race or a dead heat. This isn’t 2010, when a detected lack of Democratic enthusiasm suggested trouble for Murray. Perhaps that’s why Republican firms are putting out this garbage data. Republicans are not seeing what they want to see, so they’re trying to manipulate media coverage and forecasting to engineer a red wave narrative.
They’re not just doing it in Washington State, either. It’s a nationwide thing. “There is a ferocious campaign GOP campaign right now to flood the zone with their polls, game the averages, declare the election is tipping to them,” observed Simon Rosenberg over the weekend. “No question they could win but the early vote and polling this week do not confirm this trend. Sorry. ”
We can’t know what is actually happening right now in the election because no returns will be published until the evening of November 8th.
No pundit, strategist, journalist, or forecaster knows the future. Polls can’t be used to predict it, either. Even the best, most credible polling is merely suggestive. We can analyze and discuss probabilities, but not certainties.
The same goes for ballot return statistics and other data.
An appropriate current rating for Washington’s 2022 U.S. Senate contest using the logic of the election prediction and ratings racket is “Likely Democratic” or something similar (Fox uses “Solid Democrat.”) Credible polling indicates that a Patty Murray victory is the most plausible outcome of this contest. That was the case before RealClearPolitics pronounced it a “tossup” and it’s the case now.
An honest and accurate rating, however, would be the same for every race: We Don’t Know Since We Don’t Possess A Working Crystal Ball — Sorry!