Thigpen could lose FDU polling gig

Fairleigh Dickinson University may be forced to fire Rick Thigpen as their Democratic poll analyst after finding out that Thigpen coordinated his analysis of a U.S. Senate poll with Robert Menendez’s campaign staff and provided the Menendez campaign with polling numbers the day before they were released to the public. FDU requires their analysts to keep their data confidential, and there is talk among the academics who run the Public Mind operation that Thigpen,a Trenton lobbyist and son of Essex County Democratic Chairman Phil Thigpen, must be replaced in order to maintain the integrity of future polls. Thigpen was among the Democratic operatives who participated in regular conference calls with the Menendez campaign to determine a media spin strategy during the U.S. Senate race. Thigpen was also among the Democrats on regular spin calls for Jon Corzine’s campaign, at the same time he was providing analysis for FDU’s polling of the 2005 gubernatorial campaign. A Tom Kean campaign staffer suggested that FDU gave Menendez an unfair advantage by supplying numbers to just one candidate before they became public. Since the FDU polling operation opened in 2001, the Public Mind has supplemented their academic analysis with partisan analysis; Stephen Salmore, who ran the Star-Ledger/Rutgers Eagleton poll for years before becoming a GOP pollster, was the Republican analyst along with Thigpen. After Salmore’s death in September 2005, FDU has alternated between Michael Torpey, a former Chief of Staff to Governor Christine Todd Whitman and Thigpen’s business partner, and Dr. Mark Campbell, a Republican political consultant. Torpey and Campbell were not actively involved in the Kean campaign.

Thigpen could lose FDU polling gig