"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics," according to the late British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli.
Fibbing aside, both camps in the 6th District congressional race appear to be telling their own version of the truth — internal polling from each campaign reveals opposing views on how the race is shaping up between Republican challenger Richard Tisei and incumbent Democrat John Tierney.
Tisei's poll, conducted May 2 and 3 and commissioned in part by the National Republican Congressional Committee, shows the Republican leading Tierney by 7 points — 40 percent to 33 percent among likely voters.
The Tierney poll, conducted Jan. 23 to 25 by pollster Jefrey Pollock, has the Democrat winning by 15 points — 46 percent to 31 percent.
Both sides were skeptical of the other's data and confident about their own.
Tisei's camp said Tierney's data are old, noting that Republican Bill Hudak was still in the race during part of the Democratic polling. Hudak dropped out Jan. 23.
Tierney's camp, however, said the GOP poll "has a double-digit Republican bias," noting that the same poll showed U.S. Sen. Scott Brown with "an implausible 24-point lead" over Democratic rival Elizabeth Warren. Statewide, the two are seen as virtually tied.
In fact, the GOP poll does have elevated Republican representation, GOP poll author John McLaughlin said in an email to the Times' sister paper, The Salem News. The actual makeup of registered voters in the district is 13 percent Republican, 30 percent Democrat and 57 percent independent. But their poll respondents were 22 percent Republican, 29 percent Democrat and 49 percent independent.
He contends Tierney is "still losing," however, because independents are underrepresented and Tierney doesn't fare as well with them.
The Democratic poll did accurately reflect the current voter registration of the district, Pollock said.
Both polls have a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percent.