A new poll has Rick Perry beating President Obama in a general election 44 percent to 41 percent. The news was picked up on several conservative blogs, and nowhere else. Why? It seems to be because the poll was conducted by Rasmussen.
Fox Nation picked up the news, so did the Weekly Standard, Newsmax, Pajamas Media, Weasel Zippers, San Diego Conservative Examiner. And pretty much nowhere else.
As The New Republic's Jonathan Chait explained last year, Rasmussen has become the polling gold standard among conservatives -- even as The New York Times' Nate Silver has shown that Rasmussen consistently overpredicts the performance of Republicans. Chait, admittedly from a left-leaning position himself, writes:
If you go to a conservative set on basically any random day, you'll see somebody touting a Rasmussen poll. Here is John McCormack at the Weekly Standard touting a poll showing huge support to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Here is Peter Wehner at Commentary doing the same. Rasmussen frequently asks unusual polling questions that produce results almost certainly calculated to demonstrate public support for the conservative position. (Here's one example of a loaded Rasmussen question.) Rasmussen has become a right-wing celebrity. He's the author of a conservative book. This fall he is a featured guest on National Review's cruise, along with other conservative luminaries.
Rasmussen serves a similar role for conservatives that Public Policy Polling plays for liberals -- though while Rasmussen reassures conservatives that Republicans are on their side, PPP comforts liberals with that fact that conservatives are stupid, with, say, robo-questions showing 44 percent of Republicans think Obama wouldn't be raptured in the Apocalypse.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.