Rasmussen Reports

Rasmussen Reports

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Founded2003
FounderScott Rasmussen
HeadquartersAsbury Park, New Jersey, United States
Key peopleTed Carrol (Noson Lawn Partners)[1]
Fran Coombs (managing editor)[2]
Amy Holmes (spokeswoman)[3]
ProductsPolitical commentaryopinion polling
OwnerNoson Lawen Partners (majority investor)[4]
Websitewww.rasmussenreports.com

Rasmussen Reports /ˈræsˌmʌsən/[5] is a conservative[6] American polling company founded in 2003.[7] The company engages in political commentary and the collection, publication, and distribution of public opinion polling information. Rasmussen Reports conducts nightly tracking, at national and state levels, of elections, politics, current events, consumer confidence, business topics, and the United States president‘s job approval ratings.

Rasmussen’s polling in the 2000 and 2012 U.S. presidential elections has been criticized by polling watchers as highly inaccurate while the company’s performance in the 2004 and 2008 presidential elections was credited for its accuracy. Some, including Patrick Caddell and Douglas Schoen, have lauded Rasmussen Reports while others, such as Chris Cillizza, have questioned its accuracy. FiveThirtyEight gives the firm a “C+” rating, reporting it had a 3.9 point bias in favor of Republican candidates in the 2010 midterm election. The company’s frequent divergence from results reported by other polls has been attributed to its use of likely voters, rather than registered voters or all adults, in its survey panels.

Surveys by the company are conducted using a combination of automated public opinion polling involving pre-recorded telephone inquiries and an online survey. The company generates revenue by selling advertising and subscriptions to its polling survey data.

Contents

History[edit]

Rasmussen Reports, was founded in 2003 by Scott Rasmussen, who served as the company’s president from its founding until July 2013, when he left to found the digital media company Styrk.[4][8][9][10][11][12][13]

Rasmussen founded his first polling company in 1994.[14] That company, Rasmussen Research, was bought by TownPagesNet.com for about $4.5 million in ordinary shares in 1999.[15] Starting in 1999, Rasmussen’s poll was called Portrait of America.[16] In 2003, Rasmussen founded Rasmussen Reports, based in Asbury Park, New Jersey. In August 2009, The Washington Post reported that Rasmussen Reports had received a “major growth capital investment.”[17] New Jersey Business magazine reported that the company increased the size of its staff later that year.[18]

Business model[edit]

Rasmussen Reports engages in the collection, publication, and distribution of public opinion polling information, tracking the political world, current events, consumer confidence, business topics, and the president’s job approval ratings.[7] Rasmussen Reports also conducts nightly national tracking polls and scheduled state surveys. The company provides commentary and political analysis through a daily email newsletter. In September 2012, Rasmussen Reports and Telco Productions launched a nationally syndicated television show called What America Thinks With Scott Rasmussen.[19][20]

For surveys such as its daily Presidential Tracking Poll, Rasmussen’s automated technology calls randomly selected phone numbers, ensuring geographic representation.[21] To reach those who have abandoned landlines, an online survey tool interviews randomly selected participants from a demographically diverse panel.[21] These types of polls are believed to be less accurate[22] and biased[23]. Rasmussen’s automated surveys are conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, a firm that licensed methodology developed by Scott Rasmussen.[24] Rasmussen Reports generates revenue by selling advertising and subscriptions.[25] FiveThirtyEight gives Rasmussen a C+ rating. Rasmussen is not a member of the National Council on Public Polls or a supporter of the American Association for Public Opinion Research‘s Transparency Initiative.[26]

Polling topics[edit]

Political sentiment[edit]

Presidential approval tracking[edit]

Rasmussen Reports conducts a daily Presidential Tracking Poll which measures the president’s job approval rating.[27][28] Rasmussen Reports notes that, “It is important to remember that the Rasmussen Reports job approval ratings are based upon a sample of likely voters. Some other firms base their approval ratings on samples of all adults. Obama’s numbers were almost always several points higher in a poll of adults rather than likely voters. That’s because some of the former president’s most enthusiastic supporters, such as young adults, are less likely to turn out to vote.”[27][29] Newsweek also notes that polls of all adults produce results that are more favorable to Democrats than do polls of likely voters. Mark Blumenthal of Pollster.com notes that, “Rasmussen’s Obama job approval ratings do tend to be lower than most other polls, but they are not the lowest.”[30]

In March 2009, a Rasmussen Reports poll was the first to show President Barack Obama’s approval rating falling. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Scott Rasmussen, along with President Clinton’s pollster, Douglas Schoen, said, “Polling data show that Mr. Obama’s approval rating is dropping and is below where George W. Bush was in an analogous period in 2001. Rasmussen Reports data shows that Mr. Obama’s net presidential approval rating—which is calculated by subtracting the number who strongly disapprove from the number who strongly approve—is just six, his lowest rating to date.”[31]

The Rasmussen polls are often viewed as outliers[32][33][34][35][36][37] due to their favorable Donald Trump approval ratings.

Generic Congressional Ballot[edit]

Each week, Rasmussen Reports updates a Generic Congressional Ballot Poll. The poll tracks what percentage of likely voters would vote for the Republican in their district’s congressional race if the election were held today, and what percentage of likely voters would choose the Democrat instead.[38][39] In 2009, Rasmussen Reports produced the first poll that showed Democrats trailing on the Generic Congressional Ballot for the 2010 midterm elections.[40]

Healthcare reform[edit]

Starting in 2009, Rasmussen Reports tracked attitudes about health care reform legislation on a weekly basis. Since the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act became law in March 2010, Rasmussen Reports consistently measured double-digit support for repeal of the law in 100 polls taken from March 2010 to July 2012. Likely voters favored repeal by an average margin of 16 percentage points during that period.[41]

Political Class/Mainstream Index[edit]

Rasmussen Reports tracks the gap between what it labels “Mainstream Voters” and the “Political Class.”[42] According to the Wall Street Journal, “To figure out where people are, he [Rasmussen] asks three questions: Whose judgment do you trust more: that of the American people or America’s political leaders? Has the federal government become its own special interest group? Do government and big business often work together in ways that hurt consumers and investors? Those who identify with the government on two or more questions are defined as the political class.”

Other[edit]

Rasmussen Reports conducts a weekly tracking poll that asks voters whether they think the country is heading in the right direction or is on the wrong track.[43][44] The company also provides regular updates on topics including global warming and energy issues, housing, the war on terror, the mood of America, Congress and the Supreme Court, importance of issues, partisan trust, and trends in public opinion. In 2007, Tony Snow, White House press secretary for President George W. Bush, attacked a Rasmussen poll that showed only 19% of Americans believed the Iraq War troop surge of 2007 was a success.[45]

David Weigel wrote that, “where Rasmussen Reports really distinguishes itself, and the reason it’s so often cited by conservatives, is in its issue polling. Before the stimulus debate began, Rasmussen asked voters whether they’d favor stimulus plans that consisted entirely of tax cuts or entirely of spending. Tax cuts won every time, and Republicans began citing this when they argued for a tax-cut-only stimulus package.”[46]

In May 2012, a Rasmussen Reports poll found that “a solid majority of voters nationwide favor legalizing and regulating marijuana similar to the way alcohol and tobacco cigarettes are currently regulated.” Of those polled, 56% favored legalizing and regulating marijuana, while 36% were opposed to legalizing and regulating the drug.[47]

In July 2012, a Rasmussen Reports poll found that over two-thirds of Americans would fire every member of Congress.[48] In January 2013, a Rasmussen Reports poll found record low levels of support for the Tea Party movement. Of those polled, 30% held a favorable view of the Tea Party, 49% held an unfavorable view, and only 8% identified as a part of the group.[49]

Elections[edit]

Presidential[edit]

2000[edit]

In the 2000 presidential election, Scott Rasmussen polled under the name Portrait of America, a predecessor to Rasmussen Reports.[16] The Portrait of America prediction for the 2000 presidential election was off by 4.5%,[50] compared to the average 1.1% margin of error most other national polls gave at the time.[51]

2004[edit]

In the 2004 presidential election, “Rasmussen…beat most of their 

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