Lee Miringoff, who runs the Marist Poll, which reliably rates Barack Obama much higher than seems reasonable and thus tilts the Real Clear Politics average back toward Obama, is clearly on one side of the political fence – the liberal one.
On September 14, nationally syndicated radio host Hugh Hewitt conducted an interview where he confronted Miringoff head-on. Hewitt noted that Miringoff’s Ohio poll had 10% more Democrats than Republicans, 38% to 28%. Hewitt cogently pointed out that even in 2008, when Obama was at the height of his popularity, Democrats only had an eight-point advantage. To Hewitt’s great frustration, Miringoff kept dodging the issue, never truly explain in a coherent way how he had arrived at that 10 point differential.
But if Hewitt had known about Miringoff, he might not have been surprised. Miringoff has revealed his predilections in various Tweets.
1. On September 25, after the horribly blown call at the end of the Green Bay Packers-Seattle Seahawks football game, Miringoff tweeted:
It was the football equivalent of Bush-Gore in Fl. Ok I exaggerate. But, the ref call was certainly outside the M of E.
“I exaggerate?” Miringoff is saying the blown call pales in comparison to the 2000 outcome in Florida? That’s been a Democratic meme for 12 years, despite the fact that Bush’s victory has been proven legitimate time and again.
2. On September 3, on the eve of the Democratic National Convention, the “impartial” Miringoff tweeted his advice as a pollster to Obama:
BO's Conv 3R's: Refute MR's claim of disappointmt w/achievemts; Refuel w/rationale for 2nd term; Reclaim enthusiasm w/young,women
Needless to say, there was no such advice for Romney on the eve of the Republican convention.
3. On August 13, Miringoff taunted the selection of Paul Ryan this way:
If GOP VP pick ends up needing extra coaching from Team Romney during the fall, can I have first dibs on "Saving Candidate Ryan?"
4. January 11, mocking the Republican candidates:
Given the GOP's penchant for picking the previous runner up maybe that's why the current slate is trying so hard to be number 2 this time
It runs in the family; Miringoff’s brother Marc, who died in 2004, was noted as a progressive who argued that:
...growth, inflation, interest rates and other standard economic variables were insufficient to adequately capture the state of the social fabric. So he compiled an alternative index, combining data ranging from child poverty and infant mortality to crime, access to health care and alcohol-related traffic deaths.
Marc met with Al Gore during the 2000 campaign. Marc’s widow Marque, Lee Miringoff’s sister-in-law, a professor at Vassar, is a big Obama fan; she donated $3100 to Obama’s 2008 campaign and over $2100 to his 2012 campaign.
And Lee and Marc were close, as one left-wing site remarked after Marc’s death:
He understood polling and the underlying views they represented probably as well as his brother, Lee Miringoff, director of the reliable and respected Marist Poll. In fact, whenever he talked about public opinion, he would add, "this is what my brother and I talk about for hours every Sunday night."
There is very little doubt that Miringoff’s supposedly unbiased polls are anything but that. So the next time Marist releases a poll and squashes the lead Mitt Romney or another Republican has in other polls, take it with a grain of salt.