NC: Civitas poll of Senate race conducted by Republican pollster
National Research Inc. based in Holmdel, N.J., describes itself as a “Republican polling firm” on its website and boasts an impressive list of clients that speaks to that fact. The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), Republican Governor’s Association (RGA), Club for Growth, GOPAC and many Republicans members of Congress regularly use the company for polling. Adam Geller, CEO of National Research Inc., has an impressive resume himself, working with an array Republican candidates since the early ’90s. On the organization’s testimonial page, Republican U.S. Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming is listed as saying, “Thanks again for a terrific job. I look forward to working with you again.”
The Civitas Institute, a conservative organization that has polled various races in North Carolina, is a regular client of National Polling Inc., which was used in a new Civitas poll released Monday looking at the U.S. Senate race in North Carolina between incumbent Republican Richard Burr and his opponents Democrat Elaine Marshall and Libertarian Michael Beitler. The question is whether the results from this partisan pollster give an honest look at how the candidates stand in the race.
The poll shows Burr leading Marshall 39-32 percent, with the Libertarian candidate Beitler receiving 7 percent of the vote. The poll has a +/- 4.9 percent margin of error.
On July 27, Civitas conducted a poll of the Senate race using Tel Opinion Research of Alexandria, Va., as the pollster.
Chris Fitzsimon, executive director of NC Policy Watch, says Civitas will, “use their polling to drive a partisan political agenda. What we have is a Republican-funded organization using a Republican pollster to tell us a Republican is ahead.” Fitzsimon said because there is such little polling done, Civitas can drive news headlines by releasing a poll like this. “The point of this poll is to influence the election and help Burr,” Fitzsimon said.
Chris Hayes, an analyst at the Civitas Institute, said they’re using National Research based on past results: “They correctly predicted the turnout for the New Jersey governor’s race last year.” Hayes also said Civitas is always evaluating different pollsters.
The survey measured 400 unaffiliated, likely voters from August 16-18.
(Photo: Flickr Commons/elainemarshall; Flickr Creative Commons/burrforsenate)