Politico Allen's Idea Of 'Real Toss-up': Hoffman Ahead By 17%

UPDATE--Nov. 4 6:35 AM: Mike Was Right

When Mike Allen appeared on Morning Joe today, the very first thing he did was  tweak Joe Scarborough over the 3:1 odds, described below, that Joe had offered to those wanting to bet against Doug Hoffman.  Joe responded that no one, including Allen,  had taken up the bet.  While Allen apparently didn't plunk down any dollars, it must be mentioned that at the end of the original segment, the Politico correspondent did say "we're in" on Scarborough's offer.

So let me acknowledge that in calling the race in the 23rd a toss-up, Mike Allen was right--not ridiculous.  

Looking back, my two cents say the turning point might well have been the under-reported fact that when Hoffman, who does not live in the district, was interviewed by the Watertown newspaper, he demonstrated surprising unfamiliarity with issues important to the district including a major highway proposal and changes to the St. Lawrence Seaway.  Not the kind of thing that gets national headlines, but important to people who live and work in the area.  Candidates everywhere, take note.

The results should also be a rebuke to the New York Republican establishment.  Remember that Dede Scozzafava was foisted on Republicans as their candidate by party chairmen meeting behind closed doors.  If instead there had been a primary, Republicans would almost surely have chosen someone who would have won this race.

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When you're an MSMer, you're an MSMer all the way--even when faced with facts that might make you like, well, ridiculous . . .

Mike Allen, appearing on Morning Joe, has declared the NY-23rd race a "real toss-up" despite a new poll from a respected organization showing Doug Hoffman with a 17-point lead.

The claim by Allen, Politico's chief political correspondent, was so absurd that, on the spot, host Joe Scarborough offered 3:1 odds to Allen and anyone else wanting to place a few kopeks on Dem Bill Owens.

MIKE ALLEN: This is a real toss-up, because there are a lot of absentee ballots that are already in, we don't know who those are for. And this could be the race that keeps Democrats from having a real black Tuesday.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Would you do me a favor, Mike? As we show this poll that came out last night from Public Policy Polling. If you could find all, gather up all the people that say this race is a toss-up now, and give them my email address, and tell them I will give them 3:1 odds, I will be glad to take any bets--if that's legal--any bets on this race. It's not a toss-up. You know my email: tell your friends, anyone who wants to bet, they get 3:1 odds, and Joe's the bookie.

A long--and I mean protracted--silence from Allen ensues.

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Mike?

ALLEN: We're in.

So Allen rates the race a "real toss-up" based on absentee ballots he admittedly knows nothing about?  This is wishful MSM thinking at its worst.

As per its website, Public Policy Polling was rated by the Wall Street Journal one of the two most accurate pollsters in its analysis of swing state polls in 2008. It's story on the 23rd is entitled "Hoffman Primed For Dominant Victory."

So, Mike's "in" on Dem Owens. For how much?

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.