Magyar admits mistake, promises to fix it but doesn’t
By Art Gallagher, [email protected]
Monmouth University pollster Patrick Murray responded to my post this morning, Patrick Murray is emphatic that his next poll will be negative for Christie, about his quote in Mark Magyar’s anti-Chistie spin piece on NJSpotlight with an email asserting that his analysis was mischaracteriszed.
Murray provided an email exchange between himself and Magyar wherein Magyar admits his mistake and promises to fix it.
My assessment of what is likely to happen to public opinion going forward was based on an analysis of the underlying dynamics of my own poll released on April 2 — specifically the public’s underlying initial skepticism of the Mastro report was in my own poll and my analysis of potential movement in that opinion. Mark, by his own admission, mischaracterized my analysis, which was based on actual public opinion data that I have collected and analyzed.
In the NJSpotlight piece, Magyar quoted Murray as follows:
A Quinnipiac Poll released last week showed that 56 percent of New Jerseyans regarded the report as a “whitewash” and only 36 percent believed it to be a “legitimate investigation.” Even more ominously, 65 percent of voters knew of the Hoboken case, and 57 percent of that group believe Zimmer’s allegation that the Christie administration improperly withheld Sandy aid from her city because she refused to support the Rockefeller Group development.
Murray said he expected to see similar results in his next Monmouth Poll. “It will be negative. This is not going to be positive,” Murray stated emphatically, asserting that the controversy over the Mastro report clearly resonated with voters. “The question now with Christie is, ‘Have we hit a floor where a certain percentage of people will defend him no matter what, and everyone else will attack him?’”
Murray corrected Magyar in a email at 9;32 this morning:
Out of fairness and accuracy, and giving credit where it is due: I never said anything about expecting to see similar results to Quinnipiac. In fact, we didn’t discuss Qpac. I was talking about my poll. I said I expect to see worsening numbers from my initial poll on Mastro. Remember, Monmouth had the first poll out on Mastro (4/2/2014 Gov. Christie Halts Ratings Slide). The Qpac numbers are in point of fact similar to MINE. You make it sound like I haven’t polled this yet whereas I have consistently been the FIRST poll out with new numbers when key Bridgegate news breaks. [And I do it without using loaded words like “whitewash.”]
Magyar responded seven minutes later, 9:39 am, as follows:
Mea culpa. The first draft talked about your first poll coming out too soon after the Mastro report to capture the full impact, which put it in context better, but that line was trimmed. i will fix it. thanks, mark
As of 5:03 this afternoon, Magyar has not corrected his article. Murray said he is none to happy about that.
Murray’s use of the word “likely” in his email to me above is not emphatic, which is how Magyar characterized the pollster’s expectations of how the Mastro Report and Memoranda will impact future poll results.
In a phone interview after we exchanged emails, Murray said that Magyar asked him how he expected the Mastro Memoranda to play with the voters. Murray told me he is emphatic in his expectation that voters will react unfavorably to the Mastro Memoranda, based upon what voters who were aware of the Mastro Report told him in his poll released on April 2 and based upon how the report and memoranda are being played in the media. That is very different than having an expectation about how the next poll will turn out.
In Murray’s April 2 poll of 803 New Jersey adults, 54% of the respondents said they were aware of the Mastro Report that was released on March 26th. Of those respondents, 31% said they believed the report represented a fair and unbiased investigation into Governor Christie’s involvement with the GWB lane closures. 59% said they believed the report was done to help Christie’s reputation. Of those who were unaware of the report, 28% said it was fair and unbiased. 44% said it was done to help Christie’s reputation. By 53-36 percent, those who were aware of the report said they tend to believe Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer’s allegations that Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno and DCA Commissioner Richard Constable delivered threatening quid-pro-quo messages to Zimmer on Christie’s behalf demanding that a Rockefeller Group development be approved in Hoboken in exchange for Sandy aid. Those who were unfamiliar with the Mastro Report didn’t believe Zimmer’s allegations by a 37 to 45 percent margin.
The Mastro Report is the result of the internal investigation commissioned by Christie at taxpayers’ expense into the GWB lane closures and Hoboken Mayor Zimmer’s allegations that Lt Governor Kim Guadagno and DCA Commissioner Richard Constable threatened to withhold Sandy relief dollars from the city unless a Rockefeller Group development was approved. Randy Mastro, a Democratic former federal prosecutor and former New York Deputy Mayor during the Giuliani Administration, lead a team of Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher attorneys in conducting the investigation. On March 26 Mastro released the areport of the investigation that exonerated Christie of having any prior knowledge of the GWB lane closures or the motives into the stunt. The report and Mastro’s public comments debunked Zimmer’s allegations.
On Monday, April 14, Mastro, at Christie’s direction, released a list of 75 people interviewed during the investigation and confidential memos from the attorneys who conducted the interviews. The interview memoranda were given to U. S. Attorney Paul Fishman’s investigators and to the Joint Legislative Select Committee on Investigation that is looking into the GWB lane closures and Zimmer’s allegations.