Election 2016

Will Internal Pollsters Mislead GOP Campaigns in 2016?

When Dick Morris infamously predicted we were headed for a landslide victory for Mitt Romney in 2012, he wasn't entirely alone.

Far removed from the serially-wrong Morris and the unskewed polls guy, pollsters hired by Republican PACs and campaigns painted a picture of the election that wasn't even close to accurate.


The Romney campaign, for example, was genuinely surprised on election night because their internal polling showed the race much closer than it actually was. At the time, conservatives pointed fingers at the Romney campaign's ORCA program, a failed 'get out the vote' project that, internally, predicted a Romney victory. The consultants hired by the campaign to run the program were alleged to have presented unrealistic numbers to the campaign so they would look good.

I bring this up because Marco Rubio's internal pollster, Whit Ayres, has declared that his candidate has the best chance of winning in 2016 because only he can capture enough of the Latino vote.

This bold and seemingly-unlikely prediction is matched only by the rhetoric he used to make it.

"I loved watching Michael Jordan play basketball, because he could do things with the basketball that were not teachable," Ayres, a University of North Carolina alumnus, said. "Marco Rubio is the Michael Jordan of American politics. And anyone underestimates his ability at their peril."

Everyone may want to be like Mike, but Marco Rubio is not Mike.

If you asked me if I thought Marco Rubio was going to run for president, I would say no because he doesn't stand a chance, but if his staff are telling him that he's the 'Michael Jordan of politics," it's easier to see why he would run.

It's not a stretch to say that conservative candidates who believe America should be run more 'like a business' may run their campaigns like businesses. Businesses sometimes hire consultants whose only job is tell the executive that he deserves a raise, but campaigns shouldn't.

It would be fair to say that this amounts to concern trolling on my part because I don't believe any Republican candidate stands a chance in 2016, but don't be surprised if history repeats itself in two years as conservative pundits and campaign operatives predict a landslide victory that will never come.

If Rubio's pollster is telling him that he's Michael Jordan, I'd say that's evidence that internal pollsters are already misleading their campaigns.