The Romney campaign is pushing out a memo from its pollster, Neil Newhouse of Public Opinion Strategies. It's not a 'leaked internal' memo, it's written for the public, in an attempt to tamp down the sense that Obama might be pulling ahead in the race.
This is never a good sign for a campaign, and this memo is especially troubling; it contains no internal polling numbers to refute the public ones, it cherry-picks a few data points from public polls, and mostly it just kind of argues that voters will eventually pick Romney because the economy sucks. Yeesh.
But what's really worrying is that we've seen this kind of thing from Newhouse before.
Who in Massachusetts can forget the mid-October release of a Newhouse memo claiming an internal poll had Charlie Baker 7 points ahead of Deval Patrick, countering the public polls to the contrary -- most notably a Suffolk University poll showing Patrick ahead by 7?
And two weeks later, the Newhouse memo claiming that "it appears that Charlie Baker is well-positioned to win this race"?
Patrick won by 6 points.
Or how about 2006, when the Kerry Healey campaign ran around touting an internal Newhouse poll that showed Patrick's lead cut in half, to single digits, and public opinion of her improving? Healey lost by 21 points.
I'm not saying Newhouse is a terrible pollster. What I'm saying is that when a campaign is touting Newhouse claims to counter external evidence, in my experience that spells trouble for the campaign.