The Michaud for Governor campaign is touting the results of an Aug. 27 poll conducted by Public Policy Polling of Raleigh, N.C. On the campaign’s website, the headline reads: “New Independent Poll Shows Michaud as Frontrunner”. (Emphasis added)
The campaign is right on one account: the PPP poll does peg Democrat Mike Michaud’s support 4 points higher than that of Republican Gov. Paul LePage (just 0.8 percent outside the margin of error), making him something of a “frontrunner.”
However, PPP is anything but an “independent” pollster.
According to Federal Election Commission records, PPP staff, including PPP’s founder, president and CEO Dean Debnam, have donated exclusively to Democratic causes and candidates.
Even Nate Silver, poll wizard and former FiveThirtyEight blogger for the New York Times, has argued that PPP has a bias for Democrats. According to Silver, who is anything but a conservative Republican, PPP’s polls carry, on average, a 3.1 percent bias towards Democratic candidates and causes.
In this light, given both the margin of error for the poll, and the house effect of the pollster, LePage may actually be the frontrunner by more than 2 points.