Rocky publishes follow-up on Beauprez polling claims after Colorado Media Matters item

››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

After items by Colorado Media Matters and others, the Rocky Mountain News followed up on a September 15 article that repeated a claim by Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez's campaign that "Beauprez overcame double-digit deficits to win in both of his congressional campaigns." In a September 19 story, the News reported, "Blogs both liberal and conservative have disputed the contention, saying their research shows Beauprez never trailed by as much as his campaign claims -- if he trailed at all."

After items by Colorado Media Matters and others, the Rocky Mountain News followed up on a September 15 article that uncritically repeated claims by Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez's campaign that, in the News' words, "Beauprez overcame double-digit deficits to win in both of his congressional campaigns." In a September 19 article that apparently referred to research by Colorado Media Matters and ToTheRight -- the weblog that first highlighted the Beauprez campaign's assertion -- the News reported, "Blogs both liberal and conservative have disputed the contention, saying their research shows Beauprez never trailed by as much as his campaign claims -- if he trailed at all."

The News reported the Beauprez's campaign's claim in a September 15 analysis of a Rocky Mountain News/CBS4 poll showing Beauprez opponent Bill Ritter (D) with a 17-point lead. News reporter Lynn Bartels wrote that article and the September 19 follow-up.

On September 15, the News reported, "In an e-mail to supporters last week, campaign manager John Marshall noted that Beauprez overcame double-digit deficits to win in both of his congressional campaigns." As Colorado Media Matters documented, however, none of the publicly released polls catalogued by PollingReport.com -- including polls conducted for the Beauprez campaign -- showed Beauprez more than 3 percentage points behind his 2002 or 2004 opponents.

In its September 19 follow-up story, the News reported, "It's news to Democrat Mike Feeley that he led Republican Bob Beauprez by 'double digits' in their 2002 matchup in Colorado's newly created 7th Congressional District." According to the News, "Feeley said nearly every internal poll his campaign took showed Beauprez in the lead, and public polls mirrored his results."

In a report similar to the Rocky Mountain News article of September 15, CBS4 reporter Jodi Brooks told viewers on the September 14 broadcast of KCNC's CBS4 News at 10 p.m, "As for Bob Beauprez's camp, they tell us, in his last two elections he was down 15 points, and in the end, he still won." In addition, CBS4 News reported the Beauprez campaign's claim in a story posted to its website September 15. As of midafternoon on September 19, CBS4 News had yet to post a follow-up article.

From Bartels's September 19 article in the Rocky Mountain News, "Beauprez, former foe recall polls differently":

It's news to Democrat Mike Feeley that he led Republican Bob Beauprez by "double digits" in their 2002 matchup in Colorado's newly created 7th Congressional District.

Feeley said nearly every internal poll his campaign took showed Beauprez in the lead, and public polls mirrored his results.

"Believe me, if I had been up by double digits I would have shouted it from the rooftops, but I wasn't," Feeley said Monday.

Beauprez is now running for governor and trailing in the polls. But his campaign says not to worry, that Beauprez in his two congressional races bounced back from double-digit deficits to win elections.

Blogs both liberal and conservative have disputed the contention, saying their research shows Beauprez never trailed by as much as his campaign claims - if he trailed at all.

John Marshall, Beauprez's campaign manager, said the polling data he cited comes from the Tarrance Group, the Virginia company that handled Beauprez's congressional polling in 2002 and 2004 and is now doing his governor's race.

[...]

A Tarrance poll that was made public, the last one conducted in 2002, showed Beauprez leading Feeley by 2 percentage points.

The poll was a close match to Feeley's own poll, which showed the race neck and neck and Feeley leading by 1 percentage point.

Feeley and other pundits say that if Beauprez had managed to erode a double-digit lead and turn it into a 2-point advantage in mere days, his campaign would have said so at the time to attract voters.

Marshall, who didn't work on that campaign, said those final figures are much different than results Tarrance got when it polled voters three other times that month. Those results weren't made public, he said.

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