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Daily Kos poll fraud

For the past year and a half, Daily Kos has contracted with the pollster Research 2000 to conduct polling for the site. As part of the deal, Markos Moulitsas posted all of the internal numbers that were part of the poll. Recently, a few statisticians took a look at those numbers and wrote to tell Markos that they thought they were fishy. After looking at their report, waiting for Research 2000 to respond and having independent statisticians assess the evidence, Markos has concluded they're right.

"While the investigation didn't look at all of Research 2000 polling conducted for us, fact is I no longer have any confidence in any of it, and neither should anyone else," Markos says. He's filing a lawsuit against the pollster. In the meantime, I'm sure I've used his polling in the past, and so have others. If you come across any posts based on it -- on this site or on others -- consider them null and void.

By Ezra Klein  |  June 30, 2010; 3:36 PM ET
Categories:  Polls  
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I guess he wont be publishing that book he wrote about Republicans being the same as the Taliban, since the whole premise is base on a poll from that firm.

Posted by: MoCheese | June 30, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse


Was Markos Moulitsas (or Nate Silver) a member of Journolist, and did you discuss Research 2000 polling thereon?

Posted by: JakeD2 | June 30, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

JD2 threadjacking again. Silly rabbit(jd2), tricks (threadjacking) are for kids....

Posted by: srw3 | June 30, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

It's a simple (albeit "compound") question, seeking transparancy as to Ezra's -- and other "reporters" -- bias and coordination.

Posted by: JakeD2 | June 30, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Follow-up question:

Which of the "Blog Roll" you link to were members of Journolist?

The American Scene
Baseline Scenario
Brad DeLong
Felix Salmon
Justin Fox
Kevin Drum
Marginal Revolution
Mark Thoma
Matthew Yglesias
Megan McArdle
Paul Krugman
Real Time Economics
Ryan Avent
Spencer Ackerman
The Stash
Steve Benen
Tom Laskawy
The Treatment
The Vine

Posted by: JakeD2 | June 30, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

The Daily Kos puts the right foot forward by stating that "without full transparency of results, this fraud would not have been uncovered" -- transparency does help to thwart fraud, just as document shredding and secrecy tends to promote fraud. But then the blogger takes that right foot out and shakes it all about by saying "our friends on the Right will get to take some cheap shots [...] our commitment to accuracy and the truth is far more important than shielding ourselves from cheap shots from the Right." It's the sad hokie-pokie that is becoming the favored dance of the Daily Kos and its crony/peer publications.

Are we at a point where is it a "cheap shot" to chastise one who claims to be a journalist for failing to perform independent investigation and validation of that which he publishes? Why should I blame Research 2000 for the fiction-based opinions and conclusions of Daily Kos? Didn't Daily Kos have a full and fair opportunity to exercise good judgment -- to use a historical metaphor, who is to blame for failure to notice folks going into a work camp and never coming back out?

The fact is that the Daily Kos published fictional data and represented it to be factual -- the Daily Kos, perhaps (perhaps) unwittingly but definitely to its own financial and political advantage, participated in a large-scale deception of the public. And the fictional data was also touted here at the Washington Post, strengthening the fiction through repetition.

Please, somebody scold me once more and tell me that I shouldn't be concerned about the rise of negative propaganda and innocent propaganda "clubs".

Posted by: rmgregory | June 30, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

I have here in my suitcase proof (PROOF!) that at least 23% of the members of Ezra Klein's blog roll are now or were at one time members of Journalist!

Listen to me! Acknowledge me! Fear me!

Posted by: BHeffernan1 | June 30, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

I suspect that it is closer to 100%.

Posted by: JakeD2 | June 30, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

The sniping from the right is both predictable and absurd. Sure, Kos and the eponymous website are deeply partisan; but this is hardly a secret. They wanted a source of polling data, but knowing that their acknowledged partisan bias oculd be used to discredit any polling data they released, they decided to make all aspects of the process completely transparent, so that critics of their polls would have to attack their methods, not their motivations. Furthermore, they explained when they started that they were adopting a policy of complete openness in their polling for this reason.

Now, it looks like R2K decided it would rather make up results than do the work it contracted for - but how is this Kos's fault? How is it possible that people who gleefully trumpet the latest absurd Zogby or Rasmussen poll are attacking Kos over this, even though Zogby and Rasmussen are infamous for polls with slanted construction and twisted results, presented with an opacity that makes them impossible to audit?

Posted by: WarrenTerra | June 30, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

@ MC:I guess he wont be publishing that book he wrote about Republicans being the same as the Taliban, since the whole premise is base on a poll from that firm.

Actually one could make a case that the religious rightwingnuts have the same goals as the Taliban (subordination of women, theocratic state, law based on "holy" documents (and not on, you know, that constitution thingy and 200 years of case law), special priviledges for the state religion, the right to discriminate against other religions, etc. I don't need a poll to make that comparison.

Posted by: srw3 | June 30, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

"Yes, yes. Daily Kos is Daily Kos. But they commission polls from Research 2000, a respectable outfit."

That's Ezra Klein on September 21, 2009, 8:29 AM ET. By February 2, 2010, 4:13 PM ET, we were told that "Maybe Research 2000's sample is off" but we should still look at a graph of its poll data demonizing the opposition.

Posted by: rmgregory | June 30, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse


Hence, the necessity of my initial questions on this thread.

Posted by: JakeD2 | June 30, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Yes, the only way Ezra possibly could have done a post about Kos and DailyKos' polling results would be if Kos were a member of JournoList! Of course! The collusion is clear and demands explanation! It's theoretically impossible, let alone likely, that Ezra reads DailyKos as part of a broad swath of blogs he reads as part of his job and that he looks for polling data from multiple sources when discussing various issues!

Why, just look a few posts down! He discusses four different polls regarding the change in popularity of healthcare reform! Ezra, please explain whether the AP was part of JournoList and if you had private discussions with them regarding the results of their polling data!

Posted by: MosBen | June 30, 2010 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Fraud is a word that needs to be applied to Markos Moulitsas, because it's been apparent since he first slithered onto the net with his blog, Daily Kos. Among his first regular readers, the various myths he concocted to hype himself started to disintegrate almost from the beginning. He lied about his having a law degree, and this was found out when intrepid former loyal supporters started routing around to get answers for themselves. He lied about being trained by the CIA, a homophobic article he had written to his school newspaper emerged. Moulitsas and his partner, Jerome Armstrong of, were found to have perpetuated various frauds. Armstrong, a former psychic and astrology con man, was learned to have been paid to hype various public offerings of stock, prior to settling on a new con, left wing advocacy online. Armstrong was subpeonaed and prosecuted and found guilty by the SEC.

Moulitsas and Armstrong were found to have been using their sites to promote the campaign of Howard Dean, without disclosing that they were in the Dean campaign's employ, a violation of FEC law. Moulitsas had a screeching fit when this was learned, and lied to his readership, claiming he'd put a notice up on his site, when he most certainly hadn't.

Moulitsas has been found to hold misogynistic points of view, attacking members of his site, censoring and banning them for doing no more than defending themselves from hateful attacks.

Moulitsas has always presented himself as rising up from poverty to fame and fortune. He's always had a hard time keeping his lies straight. At one point, he claimed to have been born in Latin America, in El Salvador, then on other occasions he claimed he was born in Chicago. His family was never poor, they are connected to the banana republic government of El Salvador, his father heads the department of tourism. His super wealthy family own a large resort, they built on the coast, in an environmentally fragile area, and have been harangued for dumping sewage and waste in an area that should be protected.

Is it any wonder that this shakeown scam artist is laughable? But then again, his moral relativism is the same as Excrement Klein's. The truth, the issues, don't matter to these corrupt nonentities, they only care about power. It's more than likely that if the polling data was false, it was because Moulitsas wanted false data that complemented his desired outcome that he wanted to use to hawk his book.

Posted by: jenn3 | June 30, 2010 6:22 PM | Report abuse

The only thing really notable about any of this is that Kos and (by extension) Ezra Klein have both openly admitted a possible error on their part, corrected the mistake, and are honest with their readers about the implications for it. While this might seem shocking in the current media culture, it's really just honest disclosure and good ethics. It makes me trust both of them more, not less.

Posted by: andrewbaron78 | June 30, 2010 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Unless, of course, Ezra and Markos have been conspiring since BEFORE Obama was elected to use knowingly fraudulent data (maybe they are "coming clean" now because they know evidence of the fraud is about to make its way to Andrew Breitbart?).

Posted by: JakeD2 | June 30, 2010 6:34 PM | Report abuse

MosBen (or andrewbaron78):

Are YOU now, or have you ever been, a member of Journolist?

Posted by: JakeD2 | June 30, 2010 6:40 PM | Report abuse

to WarrenTerra, which polling firm accurately predicted the 08 presidential results??? Geez, it was Rasmussen, that horrific wingnut, but then just like Mr. Hope, facts don't matter,

Posted by: michaelhunt277 | June 30, 2010 7:10 PM | Report abuse

The Daily Kos statement "without full transparency of results, this fraud would not have been uncovered" is preposterous. If you read the daily Kos post and look at the data presented there, the fraud could easily have been detected by someone who took the time to look at the most basic published poll results -- for example, just the Obama approval rating, which almost never remained the same from week to week, though one would expect that to be a common occurrence. This is not to take credit away from the people who took the time to look at the data, something that apparently nobody else did.

Posted by: ChuckCardiff | June 30, 2010 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Michael Hunt,
As I recall it, pretty much everyone got the 2008 election right. Whole blog posts and magazine articles have been written by far better informed people than me about the behavior of Zogby and Rasmussen - and one point that these articles often make is that Zogby's and Rasmussen's horserace polling is by far the most reliable and most accurate part of their polling, especially close to the election. Of course, any sane pollster, no matter how slanted or misleading their other polls, would have to adopt just such a policy of releasing accurate horserace poll result close to the election because those are by far the most testable poll results they release. It's on the horserace polling farther out from the election and especially on the issue polling that these firms' practices and reliability are so often called into question.

Mind you, as i tried to say above, I see nothing wrong with an interested party commissioning a poll to take the public's temperature; indeed, it would be odd if they didn't. But if these interested parties are going to then claim that the polls prove something about public opinion, the only responsible method is to release all of the polling methodology so that its fairness can be assessed (so long as the pollster hasn't just invented the results, of course, which apparently was the problem here). Indeed, knowing that his vehement partisan leanings could be used to discount any results he released, Kos adopted just such a practice of using complete openness in his poll results and methodology.

Posted by: WarrenTerra | June 30, 2010 7:45 PM | Report abuse

@JakeD2: Before reading this post, I'd never even heard of Journolist. For what it's worth, I don't think I've ever taken a poll of any kind seriously in my life.

Are YOU now, or have you ever been, without something more important to worry about?

Posted by: andrewbaron78 | June 30, 2010 8:01 PM | Report abuse

JakeD2, please, oh please tell me that that was intended to be funny. If so, I must give you kudos because that was very good.

Posted by: MosBen | June 30, 2010 8:28 PM | Report abuse

What I want to know is, did all the reporters on JournoList support playing down Obama & Clinton's ridiculous position on Honduras and the application of pressure to try and re-instate wannabe MArxist dictator and Hogo Chaves aligned Manuel Zelaya----or did they just think that it wasn't in the interest of their party politics to point out just how ideologically aligned the leaders of the Democratic party are with a Communist consolidation of governments in Latin America.....then again...never mind...I know the answer.

Posted by: FastEddieO007 | June 30, 2010 10:19 PM | Report abuse

"Actually one could make a case that the religious rightwingnuts have the same goals as the Taliban

...and it would be a ridiculous case at that. Even the most fanatical "religious rightwingnuts" fall far short of standard Islamic law (Sharia), which includes such penalties as death for premarital sex, adultery, and homosexuality (not just homosexual behavior, but simply being homosexual). Oh, don't forget chopping hands off for stealing, executing women for being raped (unless they can find 4 male witnesses to testify that they witnessed the rape), and executing anyone that converts from Islam to another religion.

The left does no good for itself when it makes such retarded comparisons.

Posted by: dminnich312 | June 30, 2010 11:59 PM | Report abuse

No surprise, everyone knows the Daily Kos and Ezra are not unbiased journalists.

Posted by: Jmacaco4 | July 1, 2010 12:45 AM | Report abuse


Assuming that's true, it's the other "secret" members who are pretending to be unbiased that is my concern. Maybe current and former WaPo, NYT, Time magazine, etc. subscribers could file a class action lawsuit for fraud.

Posted by: JakeD2 | July 1, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse


Yes (I never "worry" about anything).


It was intended to be funny (but I still want an answer).

Posted by: JakeD2 | July 1, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Ah, that's good news indeed, JakeD2. I'll take in the good humor in which it was intended, and have a little bit of my faith in humanity restored.

Posted by: MosBen | July 1, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

But you aren't going to answer the (funny) question?

Posted by: JakeD2 | July 1, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

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