Eric Boehlert, 2010 (a senior fellow with Media Matters, a progressive research center): “I don’t think there are Republican polling firms that get as good a result as Rasmussen does. Their data looks like it all comes out of the RNC [Republican National Committee].”
Nate Silver concluded that Rasmussen’s polls were the least accurate of the major pollsters in 2010, having an average error of 5.8 points and a pro-Republican bias of 3.9 points according to Silver’s model. He singled out as an example the Hawaii Senate Race, which Rasmussen showed the incumbent 13 points ahead, where he in actuality won by 53 – a difference of 40 points, or “the largest error ever recorded in a general election in FiveThirtyEight’s database, which includes all polls conducted since 1998.”
Nate Silver (NYT): Earlier this week, Ezra Klein of The Washington Post published a column titled “Obama Revealed: A Moderate Republican”….he argued that the president’s policy preferences in some key areas, including health care, resemble those of a Republican from the early 1990s….
….I’m a big fan of Mr. Klein’s work, but I don’t find his thesis persuasive in this case … It’s fairly easy to demonstrate that Mr. Obama’s policy preferences resemble those of a typical Democrat in today’s Congress … A system called DW-Nominate rates each member of Congress on a scale from negative 1 (very liberal on economic issues) to positive 1 (very conservative) based on their roll-call votes. The system also creates a score for each president based on cases in which the outcome he desired from a vote in Congress was clearly articulated.
According to the system, the score for the average Democrat in the 111th Congress was -0.382, although there was a fairly significant range, from very liberal Democrats like Dennis J. Kucinich (-0.612) and Barbara Lee (-0.743) to moderates like Heath Shuler (-0.100) and Ben Nelson (-0.030).
Mr. Obama’s score of -0.399 was very close to the average, splitting the difference between his party’s liberal and moderate wings….
Mr. Obama’s positions are also broadly in line with the median Democratic voter. According to polling conducted by Public Policy Polling, a Democratic-leaning firm, 70 percent of Democrats think Mr. Obama’s positions are “about right”, and those who disagreed were about as likely to say he was too conservative (12 percent) as too liberal (14 percent).