Republican Leader Pulls A Romney, Accuses Pollster Of Skewing His Approval Ratings

Since the last debt ceiling fight tanked Congressional GOP approval ratings, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), probably shouldn’t be surprised by a new poll finding that 55 percent of Kentuckians disapprove of his performance while a scant 37 percent approve. But the McConnell camp is taking a different approach: they’re claiming the poll is skewed.

McConnell 2014 Campaign Manager Jesse Benton accused the Democratic-affiliated firm, Public Policy Polling (PPP), of having “an agenda to make Mitch McConnell look bad:”

It speaks volumes that even a liberal Democrat pollster with an agenda to make Mitch McConnell look bad still can’t find an opponent who can lead him in Kentucky. This Democrat poll has a long-held reputation for skewed approval numbers and that’s obviously the case here since there is no poll, public or private, that has shown Senator McConnell’s approval ratings anywhere near where PPP suggests

In fact, PPP has a sterling reputation for accuracy: an independent academic analysis found that PPP polls were the third-most accurate in the 2012 election. And while Benton is correct that two other recent polls, conducted by SurveyUSA, found higher support for McConnell, those polls surveyed voters who they expected were likely to vote in two years while PPP surveyed registered voters. SurveyUSA was tied with seven other firms for 12th most accurate in 2012.

Benton’s comments echoed the Romney campaign line that the polling that found them behind had been “called into question.” A number of prominent Republicans made similar predictions about the polling being “skewed” towards Democrats, culminating in Karl Rove’s refusal to admit Obama’s victory during a Fox News election night special.