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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Lies, damn lies -- and polls (II)

Come Tuesday night we are either going to have the biggest upset in Massachusetts political history or the biggest scandal involving political polling we have ever seen.

And while my gut, based on years of observing Massachusetts politics, suggests we are going to be dissecting the polls, don't ask me the put any cash down on it because there is a weirdness in the national psyche.

In the space of hours yesterday two polls with diametrically different results: Survey 2000, commissioned by Blue Mass. Group, shows Martha Coakley with an 8-point lead. A Suffolk University-Channel 7 poll then shows Brown with a 4-point lead -- with all parties quickly noting that result is clearly within the survey's 4.4 percent margin of error.

BMG's polls was taken Monday's televised debate. The Suffolk poll encompassed the day of the showdown and the following two days.

Trying to make sense of polls that have bounced from 15 points up to 4 points down within the space of a week is impossible. Volatility doesn't begin to describe the seemingly schizophrenic results.

One thing that is clear is that neither survey takes into account the massive commercial ad buy we saw hit the airwaves on Thursday, mainly from Democrats and their surrogates. In my unscientific view, the needle swung from Brown dominating the spots to Coakley pushing harder. But that was just last night.

There's little doubt media advertising offices will be cranking late into the night to schedule all the radio and TV spots they sell today. This late Christmas present for them will leave many of us wondering if the Colts are playing the Browns and not the Ravens.

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