NEWS1 July 2010

Daily Kos files promised lawsuit against Research 2000 over ‘fabricated’ polls

News North America

US— Political blog Daily Kos is suing pollster Research 2000, claiming that polling data it supplied was “almost certainly falsified”.

In a suit filed in a district court in California (and posted online by Washington Post blogger Greg Sargent), Markos Moulitsas (pictured), owner of Daily Kos, accuses Maryland-based Research 2000 of “falsification of data in whole or in part”.

The firm is seeking to recover lost profits plus damages and legal costs. The sum sought is not stated, although in submissions relating to jurisdiction of the court, the matter is said to exceed $75,000 excluding costs.

Daily Kos is one of numerous media outlets to have commisioned or cited polls from Research 2000, including the Washington Post, CNN and the New York Times.

Based on anomalies identified in an analysis of the results by a team of statisticians, Daily Kos says: “Research 2000 had almost certainly falsified the results in whole or in part”. This, it said, was the “only logical conclusion”.

The statistical anomalies, according to Kos Media, include that the totals of male and female sub-samples in one instance came out either both with odd or both with even numbers in 776 out of 778 questions. “Since the odds of getting a match each time randomly is 50%, the odds of obtaining 776/778 matches is the odds of obtaining 776 heads on 778 tosses of a fair coin, an event which should occur one in every 10228 (ten followed by 228 zeroes) times.”

Week-to-week variation in favorability of politicians also showed a distribution “far outside the expected ranges and far outside the ranges demonstrated by other polling firms”, the suit claims.

Daily Kos claims that when it raised its concerns with Research 2000 and asked for the raw data to verify the poll results, Research 2000 initially indicated it would comply, but then stalled and failed to provide the data.

Research 2000 had been providing polling services to Daily Kos since 2007, and had run regular ‘State of the Nation’ polls since the 2008 election, but the relationship came to an end last month after the firm scored poorly in ratings of pollster accuracy conducted by Nate Silver of political blog

Research 2000 could not be reached for comment at the time of publication. Company president Del Ali told Research yesterday that both parties wanted to resolve the situation “pretty quick”.