Thoughts on Polling Firm Foster McCollum White & Associates

A polling firm is only as good as their reputations and “Foster McCollum” is comparatively new on the national scene compared to a Gallup, Rasmussen or Quinnipiac.  It doesn’t make them any more or any less credible but it does mean they have less of a track record to check for a “house bias” as Nate Silver measures it.  Obviously they generated a lot of buzz (most of it negative) for their Florida poll showing Romney up +15 points in a race that has been a toss-up for either candidate depending on the week.  I credit the polling firm’s President Eric Foster for meeting the controversy head on by addressing the poll’s findings and unusual sample sizes by reaching out and posting a public comment on my post.  Foster offered great detail and an explanation that helps readers to more credibly look at the results.

A few people have taken shots at me because I have referred to the firm as a “Democrat Polling firm.” I came to this conclusion based on how they have been referred to previously. Here is Business Insider interviewing the President of the firm regarding the Presidential contest: “Democratic Pollster: Obama’s Negative Tone And Messaging Is Going To Lose Him Michigan.” Real Clear Politics also identifies them with a (D) designate after their name (Side note: I need to find out the right way to refer to them. RCP calls them Baydoun/Foster). Feel free to dismiss my posts as partisan because of the labels I ascribe to some firms, but dismiss me and apparently Foster McCollum at your own peril.

In the above linked “Democratic Pollster” piece, Foster McCollum’s President claims Obama may lose Michigan at a time  (mid-June) when genuinely biased Public Policy Polling had Obama leading by an incredible 14 points. The pro-Obama media was derisively laughing at the Romney campaign trying to compete in Michigan claiming the state was part of an impregnable “blue wall.” Today the Real Clear Politics Average is Obama +3.3.  It appears President Eric Foster knew a lot more about what the poll numbers were telling him than either the conventional wisdom or PPP were representing.

Additionally, in my quick search I came across their polling for the Republican primary in Michigan which was a razor thin win for Romney in his “home” state.  The final results were Romney winning by 3 points over Santorum 41 to 38.  The evening before the primary Foster McCollum released its poll (a time most precarious because you have no excuses if you’re way off) and it showed Rick Santorum closing fast, erasing an 8 point deficit and closing to within just over 2% of Romney — nearly the exact outcome.  They also had the order correct: Romney, Santorum, Paul and Gingrich and almost each candidate’s final vote percentage within the margin of error. Romney’s total was 0.6% above the margin of error.  For a primary election that is damn accurate.

None of this means the much talked about Florida poll is definitely correct.  In my humble opinion it reflects a best case scenario for the Republicans where their base is fired up and the Democrats are resigned to defeat (basically an inverse of 2008 which is how Obama won North Carolina and Indiana).  But they called the GOP Michigan primary spot on, they forecast  Michigan exactly as it has played out and the big take-away from the Florida poll was that seniors are trending towards Romney after the Ryan pick and that is exactly what is happening.

One Comment

  1. tom
    Posted September 10, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Permalink | Reply

    To call this “Democratic” or even “unbiased” polling is clearly a joke. I shall unsubscribe immediately.

4 Trackbacks

  1. […] Update II: Please take a second and check out my thoughts on the track record of polling firm Foster McCollum White & Associates. […]

  2. […] to be trending strongly towards Obama.  For the critics of this polling organization, they have met the challengers head on and stand by their polls. In their latest survey of Michigan President Obama has a 3-point lead […]

  3. […] anyone quick to dismiss FWMB, read this post first, and dismiss the results at your own peril. Much of the criticism revolves around the fact that […]

  4. […] the poll results which lets you know how the sausage really gets made. I have blogged my own thoughts on the firm when they first showed up on my radar and notably they provide a FMWB Public Opinion Polling […]

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