We Don’t Need a Rothenberg Lecture on Midterms

Especially when he’s probably wrong and abusing statistical information.

Rothenberg complains that a DNC press statement offers an unfounded optimism of Democratic prospects. Unfounded optimism of Democratic prospects… from the Democratic National Committee? Never!

The memo includes selected poll numbers from various sources to make two major points: The 2010 midterms won’t be anything close to the political waves of 1994 and 2006, and the party faithful “have every reason to be hopeful that we can weather a treacherous political climate and maintain strong majorities in the House and Senate.”

Of course, for every national poll number that seems to lend credence to the DNC’s argument, there is one that it happens to omit that undercuts the memo’s fundamental point.

Apparently to Rothenberg this isn’t trivial to the point of pure banality when considering a memo from the fundraising arm of the Democratic Party, as it really seems like it should be. Yet when writing this reaction to what must’ve been an incredibly slow news day such that the DNC advocating on behalf of Democratic Congressional candidates became an “issue,” Rothenberg still managed to screw up, offering us a comparison or two that are simply nonsense.

Gallup’s most recent Obama weekly approval rating of 46 percent (July 12-18) is identical to President Bill Clinton’s 1994 pre-election Gallup approval rating (Nov. 2-6), just days before the Democratic Party got slaughtered in Clinton’s first midterm.

One data point from July 2010 looks like one data point from November 1994? As opposed to the DNC’s data points that look different between 2010 and 1996? Why are November and July being compared here? After all, polls generally aren’t much good until early November, anyway. How is there a story here? Rothenberg is trading one side of an electoral bias for the other – and then moving it back a few months to render the comparison completely inaccurate.


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