Only a couple months ago I defended Rasmussen Reports. I know its run by Republicans, I said, but it has a reputation to maintain and it is possible for partisans to run credible polling agencies. Even objective pollsters have private allegiances, after all.
But some of the most recent polls are a little hard to take. I can believe Scott Walker and Mark Neumann are ahead of Tom Barrett, but I cannot believe Ron Johnson is within the margin of error against Russ Feingold. What percentage of likely voters have even heard of Ron Johnson?
One point to keep in mind is that because this is a non-presidential election, the "likely" voters are more knowledgeable. I'm still not convinced though. It is way too early and Johnson just started running TV ads. Moreover, Rasmussen released a similarly absurd poll a month ago, when Johnson had just received the GOP nomination. Only six percent undecided?Give me a break.
This seems like a rather blatant attempt to excite state Republicans and make activists believe they have a chance in a race that every other credible electoral observers is classifying either "safe Democratic" or "likely Democratic."
By the way, another great pollster, Nate Silver, is rating World Cup soccer. As of yesterday, Italy was rated as having a 77% chance of advancing, Slovakia a lowly 14%. Haha.