Joe Scarborough makes no secret of his disappointment about the decision of the Fox Business Network to exclude New Jersey Governor Chris Christie from tonight’s Republican presidential debate.
But rather than take aim at the network itself, Scarborough has chosen to vent his anger at the Investor’s Business Daily/TIPP poll, which I direct. He’s shooting the messenger. It’s not right and, in this case, Scarborough is firing blanks.
Some background is in order. To qualify for the Fox Business prime-time debate, candidates had to score 2.5 percent or higher in an average of the four national polls conducted prior to Fox’s selection deadline. Candidates who failed to make the cut had to receive a minimum of 1 percent support in at least one of the four polls to qualify for the earlier “undercard” debate.
In addition to our Investor’s Business Daily/TIPP poll, Fox Business Network evaluated polls that were conducted by Fox News, Quinnipiac University and The Wall Street Journal/NBC News.
Our inclusion apparently irked Scarborough because of our finding that Gov. Christie registered at 1 percent among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents — far below the threshold 2.5 percent figure. The CBS/New York Times poll also put Christie at 1 percent, but it was the inclusion of our survey that set off the “Morning Joe” host.
Our poll, Scarborough claimed, “was rated as one of the worst in 2012” and “historically inaccurate and bad.”
This came as a surprise to us, since the Investor’s Business Daily/TIPP poll has been rated “the most accurate” in predicting the final outcomes of the last three presidential elections.
Scarborough wasn’t alone.
Within hours of Fox Business Network’s debate lineup announcement, Politico’s Daniel Strauss and Hadas Gold charged that our poll “is little known and considered less transparent than other surveys.”
“Little known?” We plead guilty. We put our efforts into accurate results, not public relations.
“Less transparent?” Hardly. To the contrary, we are proud of our approach, which is the basis for our having been the most accurate predictor of voter behavior in presidential elections over the last 12 years. It is why our work is trusted by some of America’s (and the world’s) leading corporations, including Ferrari and Maserati, to name just two.
Unlike surveys that depend on online or automated phone polling (so-called “robo-calls”), we conduct live interviews with every respondent; it makes an enormous difference, as the final results in the last three elections bore out.
Additionally, we make upwards of four separate attempts to reach each respondent by telephone. By not doing so, other researchers tend to skew the results and jeopardize the accuracy of the findings.
Instead of focusing on the individual polls that are used by television networks to make their debate cuts, Scarborough and other critics would be better served to question why the networks are excluding any of the candidates at all. Surely, the case can be made that voters deserve to hear the views of all the candidates — regardless of how unwieldy the production becomes.
We didn’t request for our survey to become part of Fox Business Network’s debate process and, for the record, we most certainly were not part of some grand “conspiracy” (to use Scarborough’s term) to exclude the New Jersey Governor from the stage.
Ours is one of America’s preeminent survey research firms, and we are proud of our methods, which we stand by. We certainly didn’t deserve Joe Scarborough’s broadsides.
Perhaps it’s time for “morning Joe” to switch to the decaf.
In the meantime, Joe, do your homework — and hold your fire. I’m only the messenger.
Raghavan Mayur is president and founder of TechnoMetrica and director of the Investor’s Business Daily/TIPP Poll.