The Chamber surveyed ten swing House districts to guage opposition to health insurance reform, finding large majorities in these Dem-held districts opposed to the bill. But not so fast, says NYT's You're the Boss Blog:
As regular readers know, polls, especially those by interest groups, must meet stringent standards (pdf) before we can publish their results. These polls don’t. Instead of randomly selecting their respondents, the Chamber of Commerce sampled from voter lists, a practice The New York Times and many other media pollsters do not endorse because the lists are often outdated and are generally not representative — they do not include unlisted telephone numbers, for example. Moreover, the firm that conducted the surveys, Ayres, McHenry & Associates, identifies itself as a partisan (Republican-leaning) firm.*
So the question The Agenda will concern itself with is how much local news coverage did the Chamber’s gambit win. After an exhaustive consultation with Google, we conclude: not that much. In Nevada’s 3rd District, represented by November aye-voter Dina Titus, The Las Vegas Review-Journal published a long article about the poll. (Ms. Titus is undecided, according to The Review-Journal and The Hill.)
The poll also was covered by The Fort Collins Coloradoan. Representative (and former small businesswoman) Betsy Markey originally voted no; she is now undecided.
In Arizona’s 8th District, The Arizona Daily Star in Tucson mentioned the poll in an article reporting that the Chamber’s target, Gabrielle Giffords, “appear[s] to be moving closer to the ‘aye’ side of the ledger.” (She supported the bill last November.)
Elsewhere, the polls don’t seem to have made much of a ripple. The other districts targeted by the Chamber were:
•Florida’s 2nd District (Allen Boyd originally voted no).
•New York’s 24th District (Michael Arcuri originally voted yes).
•Ohio’s 1st District (Steven Driehaus originally voted yes).
•Pennsylvania’s 4th District (Jason Altmire originally voted no).
•Texas’s 17th District (Chet Edwards originally voted no).
•Virginia’s 2nd District (Glenn Nye originally voted no).
One of those targets, Arcuri, has said he'll vote no. If it's on the basis of this poll, he might want to rethink his vote.