Since I posted earlier today about poll numbers being relatively reliable indicators of upcoming political events, I’m glad a poll has come along to display how important it is to disregard “junk polls” and also look at polling averages to get a sense of actual public opinion in any given state.

The poll in question is of Iowa, and was sponsored by the Washington Free Beacon (or as it is often known among progressives, the Free Bacon). It was clearly designed to show Democrat Bruce Braley as being in deep trouble after the brouhaha over his “Iowa farmer” remarks to a Texas trial lawyer group, and perhaps reflected impatience that other Iowa polls showed little or no impact on the race.

If there is a principle of accurate polling this sucker does not violate, it doesn’t occur to me at the moment. The sample leans heavily to the starboard side; 46% of the respondents self-identify as conservatives (plus another 4% as libertarians). Even in 2010, the ultimate skewed-to-the-right year, exit polls showed only 39% of Iowans self-identifying as conservatives. The questions about Braley’s remarks are wildly leading (“Do you agree or disagree that Braley’s statement about Grassley shows that he has a higher regard for lawyers in Texas than farmers in Iowa?”). He is tested only against a generic Republican, which suggests that maybe the numbers for Braley against the named Republicans who have been campaigning like rats in heat for months now aren’t sufficiently bad.

But my favorite part of the poll doesn’t even involve Braley. Gaze in awe:

Charles Koch [coke] is a successful businessman who has created tens of thousands of jobs and donated hundreds of millions of dollars to charity in his lifetime. He has
dedicated his life to preserving the principles of economic freedom in this country….

Harry Reid is the Democratic leader in the United States Senate. He has recently come under scrutiny for making improper payments to family members and has accused
families suffering under Obamacare of lying about their plight….

If the next election for President were held tomorrow would you vote for Harry Reid on the Democratic ticket or Charles Koch on the Libertarian/Republican ticket?

Shockingly, the job-creating philanthropist Koch beats the voter-hating corrupt nepotist Reid by a 42/30 margin.

This poll smells like overcooked bacon.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.