In the 2012 presidential race Republican Governor Mitt Romney carried Arkansas by 24-points. So why does the New York Times/Kaiser Family Foundation poll out this morning have a sample that gives Mr. Romney only one point more than President Obama?
With a sample that has Mr. Obama’s share 23 points more than it was in the state in 2012, no wonder the survey has Democratic Senator Mark Pryor up by 10 points over Republican Tom Cotton in the 2014 Senate race.
The race is more likely to be where the Real Clear Politics average was before the Times and Kaiser came out of the field: dead even.
The same holds for the 2014 Senate race in Kentucky: Mr. Romney carried it by 23-points. The New York Times/Kaiser Family Foundation poll’s sample is only three points more Romney than Obama. That’s a 20-point shift to Mr. Obama. No wonder Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell leads his Democratic challenger, Alison Lundergan Grimes, by only one point in this new poll.
Mr. Romney carried Louisiana by 17-points in 2012, but the New York Times/Kaiser Family Foundation poll’s sample actually gives the state to Obama by three points. What happened to the Romney voters? With a sample skewed so Democratic, the New York Times/Kaiser poll has Senator Mary Landrieu leading Republican challenger Congressman Bill Cassidy by 24 points.
There's more. Mr. Romney carried North Carolina by 2-points. The New York Times/Kaiser poll’s sample is seven points more Obama than Romney, a shift of nine points in the Democrats’ direction. That probably more than accounts for Democratic Senator Kay Hagan’s two-point lead over Republican state house speaker Thom Tillis.
These four state polls conducted by a major newspaper and wealthy foundation grossly over-sample Obama voters, providing a distorted picture of the current condition of each race.
This is either incompetence or a deliberate attempt to boost the fortunes of Democratic candidates in trouble.
If the first, it is a stain on the reputations of the New York Times and the Kaiser Family Foundation.
If the latter, it is time both organizations file the cost of the polls as in-kind contributions with the Federal Election Commission.
Karl Rove joined Fox News Channel as a political contributor in February 2008. He also currently serves as a columnist for the Wall Street Journal. Mr. Rove helped organize the political-action committee American Crossroads. His latest book is "The Triumph of William McKinley: Why the Election of 1896 Still Matters" (Simon & Schuster, 2015). Follow him on Twitter @KarlRove.