Spin That Poll!

It wasn’t an ideal day for releasing polling data on the 2016 Republican presidential nominating contest. But you have to admire the folks at Bloomberg Politics, who found an opportunity to pre-release and contextualize some select findings from a planned Monday release of the latest Iowa Poll that Ann Selzer does for BP and the Des Moines Register. The headline made it sound like they went right into the field in anticipation of a Romney withdrawal: “Romney Would Have Faced Many Campaign Hurdles.” And John McCormick and Margaret Telev, who wrote this up, also teased out a finding that nearly half of likely caucus-goers didn’t want Romney to run.

Interestingly, they go on to show Romney beating Bush in every preferred candidate characteristic category they tested, which doesn’t quite match the headline. And then over at the Register, in a similar article drawing from the same poll (hard to tell which went up first), Jason Noble shows Mitt with plurality positives on several leading questions about his vulnerabilities; we’re apparently supposed to see these results as showing why Mitt was smart not to run.

Oh well. You work with what you’ve got, I guess.

Meanwhile, they were luckier at Fox News, which put out a new national poll this morning showing Mitt with more than double the support of the next-strongest Republican proto-candidate. But they did some back-up polling of the field without Mitt, and so were able to show that now he’s out of the race, Bush leads with 15%; Huck and Paul are right behind at 13%; Ben Carson’s at 10% and Scott Walker is at 9%. No spinning was necessary, which is nice when you are dealing with Fox News.

UPDATE: In the original version of this post, I attributed the item I’m mildly mocking to Bloomberg View rather than Bloomberg Politics. My buddy Jonathan Bernstein, of the former outfit, informed me of the error. So sorry.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.