The head of Public Policy Polling has picked a candidate in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate.
Dean Debnam, the chief executive and president of PPP has contributed $2,400 to Lexington lawyer Cal Cunningham, according to the Federal Elections Commission.
Longtime Dome readers know that both of our most frequently cited pollsters have partisan leanings.
Public Policy Polling is a Democratic firm and the Civitas Institute is a conservative organization. Dome frequently cites polls by the groups because their methodology is sound and the polls have proven to be consistent and accurate. (You can compare results on the same questions from both pollsters at our Polling Central feature.)
Debnam was out of the country and could not be reached Friday. But director Tom Jensen noted that Debnam also gave contributions to Kay Hagan during her successful run in 2008 for the U.S. Senate. Records show Debnam gave a pair of $2,300 contributions to Hagan, a Greensboro Democrat, in the primary and general election.
"Our polling there certainly held up well," Jensen said. "We have proven our accuracy repeatedly."
Update: Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Ken Lewis called on PPP to include a disclaimer in future polls about the race. Lewis says the contribution to Cunningham, and a $2,500 payment from Secretary of State Elaine Marshall's campaign for polling means that Lewis is being unfairly portrayed as the third place candidate.
"The appearance of conflict becomes even more evident in light of PPP’s recent pronouncements on the race which have consistently been slanted to bolster other campaigns at the expense of the Lewis campaign," Lewis spokesman Ryan Tures said.
"Every statewide campaign that has ever publicly attacked us — Richard Moore, Bob Orr, Elizabeth Dole — has ended up losing badly. Attacking pollsters is a sign of a campaign in trouble. But if Lewis' support starts picking up our polls will certainly reflect that," he said.