Things got tense between the Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling and the former New York Times' campaign forecaster, Nate Silver, after PPP admitted that it didn't release the results of a survey predicting defeat for pro-gun control lawmakers facing recall in Colorado.
"VERY bad and unscientific practice for @ppppolls to suppress a polling result they didn't believe/didn't like," Silver, who now works at ESPN, tweeted.
The tweet was prompted by the polling firm's statement on the Colorado recall elections. "We did a poll last weekend in Colorado Senate District 3 and found that voters intended to recall Angela Giron by a 12 point margin, 54/42," PPP's Tom Jensen posted on the company site. "In a district that Barack Obama won by almost 20 points I figured there was no way that could be right and made a rare decision not to release the poll. It turns out we should have had more faith in our numbers because she was indeed recalled by 12 points."
The company didn't take kindly to Silver's slam. "Nate I'm sorry but that is absurd. You're saying you would put out a model if you had serious concerns that it was wrong?" PPP replied.
Silver turned the heat up to 'oh, snap!' when he countered that at his Five Thirty Eight blog, "We design our models to be robust in the first place. Then we publish ALL results from them, yes."
And then it just got personal. "Why Nate would be jealous of us when he is such a bigger entity I have never really understood," PPP said in a tweet, adding, "But he has been very passive aggressive and looked for chances to take shots at us for the last 4 years."
PPP then issued its own challenge. "Where are your models for special elections, recall elections, etc? More reason to be cautious about findings on those," the polling firm tweeted.
Silver acknowledged the need for caution, but pushed back, saying, "Yes, so express your cautions in your write-up of the poll. Don't suppress the data."
Speaking of data -- "BTW PPP and 538 both got all 50 states right for President last year. But we got MT-Sen race winner right that he got wrong so..." PPP let the thought hang.
Next, after expressing "all the respect in the world" for Silver, PPP tweeted that "his shot at us is absurd and just shows total lack of understanding of the obligations private polling companies have to the public."