Twitter was all-aflutter on Friday evening with news of a new Associated Press poll showing Republican Teahadist Mark Donka within five percentage points of incumbent Congressman Peter Welch. The apparent shocker quickly rattled around the dank corridors of #tvcot:
— Pat Crocker (@VTmomm) October 24, 2014
Er, sorry to piss on your bonfire, but that’s not a poll. Those are test election results, routinely circulated by the Associated Press before elections to make sure its systems are working. Apparently the results were posted online by the Daily Mail, a British newspaper, presumably by mistake.
I know about test results because in a past life I worked a lot of election seasons as a reporter. Back when there were teletype machines, they would spit out reams and reams of these test results in the days before an election.
I can tell by the formatting. The actual webpage has a huge long list of “returns,” but here’s the segment about Vermont’s congressional race.
275 of 275 precincts – 100 percent
x-Peter Welch, Dem (i) 98,083 – 44 percent
Mark Donka, GOP 87,107 – 39 percent
Matthew Andrews, LUn 2,778 – 1 percent
Cris Ericson, Ind 14,800 – 7 percent
Randall Meyer, Ind 2,799 – 1 percent
Jerry Trudell, Ind 16,643 – 7 percent
See, your tipoff is the first line, saying “275 of 275 precincts — 100 percent.” Election returns always show how many precincts have reported, and what percentage of the total have reported so far. There’s also the “x” in front of Welch’s name, indicating the winner. Any experienced reporter would tell you, that’s the standard AP election return format.
Poll results just don’t look like that.
Also, Cris Ericson and Jerry Trudell getting 7 percent apiece? Snort.
Also also, the Associated Press doesn’t do polls. And it certainly hasn’t done anything as intensive as polling every single Congressional district in the country, which is what our conservative Tweeters think this is.
A word to the #tvcot community: stop making fools of yourselves.