Senior Obama Campaign adviser David Axelrod reportedly contacted The Gallup Organization to discuss the company’s research methodology after their poll’s findings were unfavorable to the President. After declining to adjust their methodology, Gallup was named in an unrelated lawsuit by the DOJ.
Axelrod took to Twitter to direct people to an article by the National Journal’s Ron Brownstein suggesting a flaw in Gallup’s methodology. Brownstein compared Gallup’s demographic sampling predictions to previous election exit polls as well as contemporaneous research released by Pew, CNN/ORC and ABC/WaPo.
The heart of the Obama camp complaint lies with varying predictive models for 2012 turnout. Gallup had predicted a lower minority turnout, effecting Obama’s margin against Romney.
An email chain from Gallup employees reveals the deliberations about how to handle Axelrod:
In response to that suggestion, another senior Gallup official wrote — in an email chain titled “Axelrod vs. Gallup” — that the White House “has asked” a senior Gallup staffer “to come over and explain our methodology too.”
That Gallup official, the email continued, “has a plan that includes blogging and telling WH [the White House] he would love to have them come over here etc. This could be a very good moment for us to [show] our super rigorous methods compared to weak samples etc. …”
The writer named several news organizations with their own polling methodologies, all of which resulted in numbers more favorable to President Obama at the time.
In response to that email, a third senior Gallup official said he thought Axelrod’s pressure “sounds a little like a Godfather situation.”
“Imagine Axel[rod] with Brando’s voice: ‘[Name redacted], I’d like you to come over and explain your methodology…You got a nice poll there….would be a shame if anything happened to it…'”
Since Axelrod first contacted Gallup, the DOJ has become interested in an old allegation made by a former Gallup employee, claiming that the firm violated the False Claims Act by overcharging on their contracts with other federal agencies. Michael Lindley, a former Gallup employee, filed suit against Gallup in 2009 and Gallup was served and responsed to Lindley’s suit in 2010. The DOJ signed on to Lindley’s suit in August of 2012.
Lindley, was a former field organizer in Iowa for the Obama campaign in 2008.
In addition to Gallup’s unfavorable polling numbers on the Obama re-election effort, they have also published employment numbers that are not “politically helpful” for Obama.
“Gallup publishes its research without seasonal adjustments,” William Tate wrote for the American Thinker. “The BLS’s version applies adjustments in an alchemic formula that’s more mysterious than the Shroud of Turin.”