Predictably Charlie Sykes hawks a Rasmussen poll that shows nigh unknown Republican Senatorial candidate Ron Johnson within two points of Russ Feingold. Sykes goes so far to hail it as a "Ron Johnson bump." (IIRC his producer seemed to have some doubts about its validity -- as he should be, given the goal of Rasmussen's polling seems to be to drive Republican narratives and Rasmussen has a dismal track record in Wisconsin).
The result is absurd because no one really knows anything about Johnson. And the Brawler suspects, based on George Will's mash note to Johnson, that the great GOP hope is too far right to win in Wisconsin. He's staunchly antiabortion rights, and appears eager to make an issue of that, and he supports Paul Ryan's Road Map to Ruin even as other Republicans recognize it's political poison. He'll be easy to paint as an extremist -- because he is an extremist.
Polling ace Nate Silver at 538 takes aim at the absurdity of the poll -- though notes that it is always possible Johnson could win -- and uses it to call out the problematic nature of Rasmussen's polling, noting Rasmussen accounts for an "outright majority" of weird polls.
This afternoon, we got an interesting example of that. Rasmussen released a pollsuggesting that Ron Johnson, a businessman from Oshkosh, is running just 2 points behind Democratic incumbent Russ Feingold in Wisconsin's Senate race.
Have you ever heard of Ron Johnson? I hadn't until about three days ago. And it seems unlikely that many voters in the Badger State would have heard about him either. Johnson didn't announce his candidacy until two weeks ago. He's never held political office before. He runs a small business called Pacur Inc that has only 73 employees. He doesn't have a campaign website up. He doesn't have a Wikipedia page. Prior to this morning, he'd beenmentioned in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the state's largest paper, just three times over the past month.
And yet, according to Rasmussen, 68 percent of Wisconsin's "likely voters" have already formulated an opinion about Ron Johnson! And 94 percent of the state's voters know how they'd vote if he were to run against Russ Feingold!