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Automated Pollster Includes Cousin in Republican Primary Survey Automated Pollster Includes Cousin in Republican Primary Survey

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Politics

Automated Pollster Includes Cousin in Republican Primary Survey

June 7, 2011
Three percent of "usual Republican primary voters" said they had a favorable opinion Patton, while fully 14 percent said they had an unfavorable opinion of her. Patton, former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson and activist Fred Karger had roughly the same splits -- with the percentage of voters who have an unfavorable opinion of the candidate being at least quadruple the percentage that had a favorable opinion. "I was also interested to see how a random person's favorability would stack up to some of the back of the field candidates," said Jensen. "It shows you how much traction the Gary Johnsons and Buddy Roemers of the world are getting when their numbers are the same as someone you just throw on the poll out of the blue." Considering 83 percent of respondents had no opinion of Johnson and 80 percent had no opinion of Roemer, we're not sure that including an employee's cousin on the poll was necessary to prove that these lower-tier candidates are little-known. There is nothing that prevents a pollster from using a fabricated name in a matchup. For instance, if a candidate is the first to declare early in a race, pollsters working for the campaign may sometimes test that candidate against a fabricated name to determine the candidate's initial strength on the ballot, in lieu of testing them against a generic opponent. Both Democratic and Republican pollsters said that including one's cousin on a ballot test was not unethical. But one veteran Republican pollster characterized that aspect of the poll as an attempted "cheap shot" at Huntsman and lesser-known Republican candidates "that didn't work out" because Patton did not receive a single vote, so the pollster could not say that his cousin outperformed those candidates on the ballot and earn media attention. The pollster did conduct two matchups -- including an initial ballot test -- without Patton included; automated polls do not meet Hotline On Call's standards for publication.
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