Last week Daily Kos editor Markos Moulitsas told readers that he was "putting the finishing touches on my new book, American Taliban, which catalogues the ways in which modern-day conservatives share the same agenda as radical Jihadists in the Islamic world." But the liberal Dinesh D'Souza (whose sinister claims about the left's "responsibility" for 9/11 are summarized and rebutted here by George Mason law professor Peter Berkowitz) found himself "making certain claims about Republicans that I didn't know if they could be backed up." Working backwards, Moulitsas set out to prove, via a Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll, that self-identified Republicans have much in common with the makeup-wearing, women-beating acolytes of Mullah Omar.
The poll's results obviously do not confirm Moulitsas's rather extreme judgment of rank-and-file Republicans, but are nevertheless alarming. After a quick read of the questions and methodology (areas in which I possess no expertise), I was skeptical.
Now, DailyKos founder Markos Moulitsas is admitting that the study was, in his words, "bunk":
I have just published a report by three statistics wizards showing, quite convincingly, that the weekly Research 2000 State of the Nation poll we ran the past year and a half was likely bunk.
Since the moment Mark Grebner, Michael Weissman, and Jonathan Weissman approached me, I took their concerns seriously and cooperated fully with their investigation. I also offered to run the results on Daily Kos provided that they 1) fully documented each claim in detail, 2) got that documentation peer reviewed by disinterested third parties, and 3) gave Research 2000 an opportunity to respond. By the end of last week, they had accomplished the first two items on that list. I held publication of the report until today, because I didn't want to partake in a cliche Friday Bad News Dump. This is serious business, and I wasn't going to bury it over a weekend.
We contracted with Research 2000 to conduct polling and to provide us with the results of their surveys. Based on the report of the statisticians, it's clear that we did not get what we paid for. We were defrauded by Research 2000, and while we don't know if some or all of the data was fabricated or manipulated beyond recognition, we know we can't trust it.
Good for Moulitsas for both allowing an investigation and coming clean when the results were unfavorable to Kos and Research 2000.