Republicans vowed to fix the polling problems that plagued their 2012 campaigns.
It looks as though they still have some work to do.
Eric's Cantor's shocking defeat Tuesday is being blamed on any number of factors. But among the seasoned Republican campaign operatives, the biggest internal culprit is seen as the majority leader's longtime pollster, John McLaughlin, whose survey of the Virginia race showed Cantor leading his opponent by 34 points. Cantor went on to lose by 11 points — an unfathomable 45-point swing.
The error was reminiscent of the litany of polling mistakes made by Republican campaigns in the 2012 election, when the party's internal data predicted everything from victory for Mitt Romney to marked gains in the House and Senate. But while those problems were rooted in difficulty surveying young and minority voters, the missteps in Cantor's race underscore another dilemma for Republicans: The continued reliance, by at least some of their candidates, on pollsters with poor track records.
It's not as if McLaughlin's surveys were held in high esteem before Tuesday. His polls were routinely off the mark in 2012, missing wildly in a host of presidential states such as Colorado and Virginia. His reputation wasn't good in official Republican circles: One GOP campaign aide confirmed that McLaughlin was not on the National Republican Congressional Committee's list of preferred pollsters. Among GOP operatives, his poor track record was well-known.