Robocalls called the Massachusetts special election 

Pollster Scott Rasmussen issues a spirited defense of robocall polling, in response to an attack by ABC pollster Gary Langer on Public Policy Polling, a North Carolina-based Democratic firm which, like Rasmussesn and SurveyUSA, uses robocalling. Langer was responding specifically to a PPP poll which showed that more Americans trusted Fox News than ABC, CBS or NBC News.  

Rasmussen convincingly defends robocalling and makes a further important point.  

“Rasmussen Reports is a new media outlet, digital from birth, and we informed our audience that this was a race worth watching two weeks before the stunning upset victory by Republican Scott Brown in an historically very Democratic state. Our first poll showed Brown within single digits and even closer among those most likely to vote. Our coverage was picked up all sorts of new media sources and helped define the race for those in the Bay State. Looking back, The Politico’s Ben Smith wrote, ‘The overwhelming conventional wisdom in both parties … was that [Democrat] Martha Coakley was a lock. It's hard to recall a single poll changing the mood of a race quite that dramatically.’

“ABC is about as old-media as they come and chose not to share the news of a close race with their audience. In fact those who rely on ABC News didn’t learn anything unusual was happening in Massachusetts until just four days before the election. By that time, Rasmussen Reports and PPP both showed the race to be a toss-up but trending toward Brown, and President Obama had decided to attend a campaign rally to help Coakley's floundering campaign.

“The difference in coverage is that new media outlets are quite comfortable trusting people with information, while old media outlets view themselves as gatekeepers.” 

The Ben Smith article Rasmussen links to, written on January 17, two days before the Massachusetts election, gives credit to those who early on spotted the potential of a win for Scott Brown: Red Mass Group blogger Pail Breau (December 9), the Weekly Standard’s William Kristol (December 22), the Boston Herald’s Howie Carr (December 25) and The Next Right blogger Patrick Ruffini (December 30). I first weighed in on this race on December 13, in response to The Next Right blogger Ironman’s December 11 post; I expressed skepticism that Brown could win. I revisited that opinion on December 30, linking to Ruffini’s post and concluding that Brown’s chances were “definitely above zero,” and then again on January 5, linking to the Rasmussen survey conducted the previous day, which showed Brown trailing Democrat Martha Coakley by only 50%-41%.

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