TIME has described Rasmussen Reports as a "conservative-leaning polling group". Democratic Party activists have pointed out that Scott Rasmussen was a paid consultant for the 2004 George W. Bush campaign. According to Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight.com, while there are no apparent records of Scott Rasmussen or Rasmussen Reports making contributions to political candidates and its public election polls are generally regarded as reliable, "some observers have questioned its issue-based polling, which frequently tends to elicit responses that are more conservative than those found on other national surveys.".
John Marshal of Talking Points Memo commented on their reliability in a February 2009 article:
The toplines tend to be a bit toward the Republican side of the spectrum, compared to the average of other polls. But if you factor that in they're pretty reliable. And the frequency that Rasmussen is able to turn them around -- because they're based on robocalls -- gives them added value in terms of teasing out trends. But the qualitative questions, in terms of their phrasing and so forth, are frequently skewed to give answers friendly toward GOP or conservative viewpoints. All of which is to say that his numbers are valuable. But they need to be read with that bias in mind.
Rasmussen has received criticism over the wording in its polls. Examples of Rasmussen's questions with wording issues include:
* Agree or Disagree: "Rush Limbaugh is the leader of the Republican Party. He says jump, and they say how high."
* Do you favor or oppose the economic recovery package proposed by Barack Obama and the Congressional Democrats?
* Suppose that Democrats agreed on a health care reform bill that is opposed by all Republicans in Congress. Should the Democrats pass that bill or should they change the bill to win support from a reasonable number of Republicans?
* Do you agree or disagree with the following statement... itís always better to cut taxes than to increase government spending because taxpayers, not bureaucrats, are the best judges of how to spend their money?
Some of Rasmussen polls have contained two different weights for questions, depending on the party of the statesman in the question. In one example, the first question asks for a job rating for Tim Pawlenty, a Republican governor, using an approve/disapprove scale. The next question asks for the way that Al Franken, a Democratic senator, is performing his role, but uses a Excellent/Good/Fair/Poor scale. Nick Panagakis of Pollster.com has pointed out that, when using the latter scale, "approval is often reported by combining the top two and bottom two scores", including the "fair" score as a "disapproval" vote.