Harvard disavows survey released by CD 7 Republican Al Santos

Al Santos
'Harvard Business School was not involved (and asked them) to retract their statement.'

The Harvard Business School disavowed and asked for a retraction of a survey that Republican congressional candidate Al Santos released purportedly showing him leading in Florida’s 7th Congressional District Republican Primary.

Santos’ campaign put out a news release Monday morning entitled “Al Santos led the field in a new Harvard Business School Survey Model & Regressive Analysis on Florida Congressional District 7.”

The first sentence of the news release read, “The Harvard Business School Survey Model & Regressive Analysis on Florida Congressional District 7 was unveiled and has Lt Colonel (Retire) Al Santos leading the crowded field with 23.8%.”

Attached was what appeared to be a poll summary, showing Santos on top, followed by state Rep. Anthony Sabatini, Cory Mills and Brady Duke. The document included a couple of cursory sentences about survey dates, sample size and margin of error.

But there was no letterhead on the document. And there was no clear information in either that document or the news release about how the survey was conducted, or whether there was any reason for Harvard’s name to be associated with it. Nor was there any suggestion the poll was conducted by anyone else, or if it may have been produced internally.

After Florida Politics sought an explanation for the poll, the campaign explained Santos would call to talk about it. He didn’t.

When asked about it Monday, a Harvard Business School spokesman checked and then disavowed the release and the purported survey it announced.

“Harvard Business School was not involved in the production of this survey. We reached out to their media contact asking them to retract their statement and they agreed to do so,” the Harvard spokesman said.

The purported results released by Santos’ campaign certainly would be far out of line with other publicly released polls in CD 7. They have had Sabatini, Mills and Duke jostling for the top of the eight-candidate Republican field, while Santos is nowhere in sight of the top.

Santos has claimed his internal polling shows him leading. But nothing has publicly corroborated that, except for the disavowed poll his campaign released Monday.

A survey released last week by St. Pete Polls had Mills leading the Republican Primary Election field at 23%. Sabatini was second, at 22%, and Santos was tied for seventh, at 3%. A previous poll by Rasmussen in July had Sabatini in front, and Santos wasn’t even listed.

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected].


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