On Sunday, a Huffington Post headline screamed what most Democrats were hoping: “GOP In Grave Danger Of Losing House In 2014, PPP Polls Show.” Of course, anything coming from Democratic pollster Public Policy Polling and MoveOn.org Political Action, which paid for the surveys, must be taken with at least a grain of salt.
PPP isn’t your typical polling firm. Its surveys often are intended to boost Democratic recruiting, fundraising or prospects. In this case, the “polls” were almost certainly commissioned to create a narrative about the political repercussions of the shutdown and the nature of the midterms.
It’s no coincidence, then, that the PPP memo accompanying the results, written by Jim Williams, observes, “The surveys challenge the conventional wisdom that gerrymandering has put the House out of reach for Democrats.”
Not surprisingly, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee sent out multiple fundraising emails in the hours after reports of the PPP polls surfaced, and dozens of Democratic candidates and liberal groups did the same.
That’s the standard modus operandi these days on both the right and the left: have a sympathetic media organization or polling firm assert some alleged finding, and then have fellow travelers cite the initial report to try to raise cash or create momentum. It is becoming (yawn — excuse me) a little trite.