You'd think that a consulting firm, no matter how much it needs the clients (and their $$$), wouldn't want to completely trash its reputation over one poll for one client in one race. Yet, if there's any justice in the world, that's exactly what McLaughlin & Associates may have done with its Keith Fimian poll.
I'm not so much concerned with the top-line number, which has Keith Fimian ahead of Gerry Connolly 40%-35%, although that's not particularly plausible. What really blows my mind is that McLaughlin & Associates thinks we're all stupid enough to believe that Virginia's 11th CD is far more conservative than the country as a whole. To quote McLaughlin & Associates, "On the generic ballot for U.S. Congress, the Republican candidate has a 19 point advantage over the Democrat candidate (52% to 33%)." Hahahahahahahahahaha.
OK, now back to reality, which is that the national "generic" Congressional ballot is tied between Republicans and Democrats right now, at 43% a piece. Which means McLaughlin & Associates wants us to believe that Virginia's 11th CD - where Democrats just won a couple of special election victories (Marsden, Filler-Corn), and where Democrats Tim Kaine, Jim Webb, Barack Obama, Gerry Connolly, Sharon Bulova, etc., etc. all won in recent years - is 19 points more Republican leaning than the rest of America.
To the contrary, it's likely that VA-11 is similar to the rest of the country or significantly more Democratic, meaning that the supposed 40%-35% margin for Keith Fimian over Gerry Connolly is more likely a 10-15 point lead for Connolly. But hey, if Republicans want to believe this garbage, more power to 'em. I only hope they start using McLaughlin & Associates for all their candidates this year! :)
P.S. By the way, I love use, in a polling memo, of the juvenile pseudo-epithet "Democrat candidate," as opposed to the grammatically correct "Democratic candidate." Very professional, guys! LOL
h/t: Good catch by Not Larry Sabato