-- Research 2000 and Daily Kos have settled their lawsuit, though the former pollster did not admit wrongdoing as a part of the settlement. The evidence suggests, however, that their polls were sloppy, if not downright fabrications. The episode also underscores a larger point about political polling in general. Too often, polls -- regardless of the rigor of their methodology -- dictate the trajectory of a race. In last year's Arkansas Senate race, a Research 2000 poll was the only survey conducted between the Democratic primary and the runoff between then-Sen. Blanche Lincoln and then Lt. Gov. Bill Halter. That the poll -- its veracity is now in doubt -- showed Halter ahead led the conventional wisdom to incorrectly predict he would knock off the incumbent. Producers and consumers of political media need to be more discerning about polls. -- Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, continued to fuel speculation this week that he will make a bid for the new district in Washington State, should his own district be lost in Ohio's reapportionment process, with yet another trip to the Seattle area last weekend. While much talk has centered on the "will he or won't he" game, Washington Democratic Party Chair Dwight Pelz said this week that WA-10 is likely going to be drawn in the Seattle suburbs, where the Democratic base is more conservative than in other parts of the state and a liberal firebrand like Kucinich is going to have some trouble. Not to mention, arguably premature allegations of carpetbagging are flying through Western Washington -- Pelz has been very vocal about his opposition and the Everett Herald and the Olympian have both published editorials in recent weeks telling Kucinich to run elsewhere. -- With the New York Magazine piece on FOX News head Roger Ailes revealing that Ailes grew tired of Glenn Beck's antics and Beck being the face of Ailes' network, and MSNBC's one week suspension of Ed Schultz for his racy comments toward conservative commentator Laura Ingraham, cable networks seem to be easing off the incendiary talk that has garnered them ratings. Keith Olbermann was ousted from MSNBC earlier in the year. Although ratings don't show a shift away from partisan programming, it seems, as the 2012 campaign approaches, cable heads are moving away from the extreme hosts that put them at the top. -- A surprising number of House Republicans voted in favor of two amendments to the defense bill that would scale back operations in Afghanistan. The first amendment called for immediately beginning a withdrawal from Afghanistan, and was defeated easily; the second called for a more gradual dial-down of operations, and was defeated narrowly. -- Florida Gov. Rick Scott's sinking poll numbers and the likely November ballot referendum to overturn Ohio Gov. John Kasich's collective bargaining could be early promising signs for Democrats' (including Obama) chances in two important battleground states. Further reason for Democratic optimism is a looming Department of Justice investigation into Scott's election law measure, which could hamper Obama and third-party GOTV efforts in the Sunshine State.
What We Learned: Dividing Lines
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