As Twitchy reported Wednesday, the Public Policy Polling Company, a firm that conducts polls for Democrats, has come under fire from FiveThirtyEight editor Nate Silver and others for withholding the results of some of its polls.

Yesterday PPP came in for a second round of thrashing after Nate Cohn of The New Republic raised serious questions about PPP’s fly-by-the-pants approach to polling:

After examining PPP’s polls from 2012 and conducting a lengthy exchange with PPP’s director, I’ve found that PPP withheld controversial elements of its methodology, to the extent it even has one, and treated its data inconsistently. The racial composition of PPP’s surveys was informed by whether respondents voted for Obama or John McCain in 2008, even though it wasn’t stated in its methodology. PPP then deleted the question from detailed releases to avoid criticism. Throughout its seemingly successful run, PPP used amateurish weighting techniques that distorted its samples—embracing a unique, ad hoc philosophy that, time and time again, seemed to save PPP from producing outlying results. The end result is unscientific and unsettling.

PPP’s opacity and flexibility goes too far. In employing amateurish weighting techniques, withholding controversial methodological details, or deleting questions to avoid scrutiny, the firm does not inspire trust. We need pollsters taking representative samples with a rigorous and dependable methodology. Unfortunately, that’s not PPP.

Once again, Silver took to Twitter to blast PPP:

Silver will continue to incorporate PPP’s questionable polls in its much-heralded “poll of polls.” But don’t worry because he is going to come up with a weighting method that is “punative” to PPP and other pollsters using sketchy methodologies.

In other words: Garbage in, garbage out.

Ouch.

Editor’s note: The headline of this post has been changed because we thought of a better one.

  • TheOriginalDonald

    Clearly Nate Dogg’s still down with PPP, if not OPP 😛

    • Jesse Malkin

      Not bad. Not bad at all.

    • GrindingMills

      I think he is NOT down with PPP. His opinion on OPP is unknown, but who isn’t down with OPP?

    • GrindingMills

      I think he is NOT down with PPP. His opinion on OPP is unknown, but who isn’t down with OPP?

  • Bemani Dog

    At least in the title they admit it’s left-leaning

  • GrindingMills

    I don’t think Nate Silver puts “garbage out”. We might have disagreed with him in 2012, but that’s because he didn’t forecast what we wanted. He forecasted what was right, unfortunately.

    • Jesse Malkin

      fair point.

    • http://blog.khelek.us Brian Johnson

      You took my point…during the 2012 election cycle, I despised everything that had to do with Silver, particularly the fact that liberals would re-bleet anything that had to do with him and his predictions. And given the direction of the country and the 2010 mid-term metaphorical slaughtering of the Democrats, I (as well as other Conservatives) were certain that Silver was blowing smoke and didn’t know what he was talking about and we had the election.

      Sadly, on November 07, 2012, he was vindicated and we were left feeling like we were throat-punched.

      • GrindingMills

        He also predicted Republicans would reclaim the house in 2010, so it’s not like he’s blind to reality and only pumping out Democrat talking points. Personally I don’t care for him, but his analysis is the best in the business.

        Think about this for a second. For the 102 possible outcomes of state by state results (and DC) in the last two Presidential elections, he’s gotten 101 correct. The only one he got incorrect was Indiana in 2008, which Obama only won by about 28,000 votes. The guy’s a machine.

  • Maxx

    PPP is akin to the one goober who goes through 12 women in a nightclub before finding someone who will finally dance with him and after the train wreck concludes, walks back to the bar to tell his buds “yeah, they’re feeling it.”

    PPP’s accuracy? Sorta like that.

  • TN05

    Despite being a liberal, when in comes to polls Silver does tend to be accurate. Coming from the media’s polling guru of last cycle, this is a pretty harsh damnation of PPP.

  • Jack Deth

    What is the left to do when they neither believe or effectively use data collection that has been spiked out of embarrassment because it does not lean in their favor?

    The PPP poll was the writing on the wall before a record Colorado recall . And because it did not fit the liberal template, it was not disseminated.

    Sucks to be them.

  • Jack Deth

    What is the left to do when they neither believe or effectively use data collection that has been spiked out of embarrassment because it does not lean in their favor?

    The PPP poll was the writing on the wall before a record Colorado recall . And because it did not fit the liberal template, it was not disseminated.

    Sucks to be them.

  • Stephen K

    What PPP is doing looks more akin to push-polling than opinion polling. Producing polls that have a desired outcome so the MSM can flog them to death and drive public opinion the way they want, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.

  • http://extremesplash.wordpress.com/ Ben Bollman

    Yeah, this is why I have a problem with Nate Silver. Sure, he got lucky in 2012 but how good can his data be if a lot of it comes from biased polls?

    • US vs. Them

      Lucky? In 2012 he accurately predicted 51 out of 51 State results. In 2008 he scored 50/51, missing only Indiana, which went to Obama by less than 1%. He doesn’t use “biased polls”, he uses probability theory. I made a lot of money betting on the election results using Silver’s predictions with conservatives who don’t understand this concept and thought Romney would win in a route. Lucky. Yeah.

  • http://www.vatican.va/ Rulz

    This just cracks me up. Someone should tell the GOP elite and Todd Akin about this.

    Really, it’s not that hard ladies and gents.

  • Walter

    PPP must have produced that the poll that claimed “90% of people support background checks”

  • Misanthrope

    Shorter Nate Silver: How dare PPP not provide me free and unfettered access to its polling.