On polls, Ralph Hudgens, and Strategic Vision

Georgia-based Strategic Vision’s return to public polling this week by the larger names in the field. The following was posted by Mike Blumenthal at Pollster.com:

But let’s ponder the meaning of “genuine” as we consider what Strategic Vision’s latest release doesnot tell us: They say nothing about the mode of the survey (whether it used live interviewers or some automated method), the sample frame (whether telephone numbers were selected from some sort of list or via a random digit method), the weighting procedure (whether results were weighted and the variables used to weight them), and they do not identify of who conducted the survey (the call center or field-work provider, if these used one). These basic facts are part of the minimal disclosure requirements of both AAPOR and the National Council on Public Polls (NCPP).

NCPP also requires that its members describe the “size and description of the subsample, if the survey report relies primarily on less than the total sample.” It is not clear whether NCPP’s mandate applies to cross-tabulations, but it is very clear that Strategic Vision tables provide no information about the size of each demographic subgroup.

Both organizations also mandate that releases tell us, “who paid for the poll?” Strategic Vision’s release says nothing about how this poll was paid for and, as an alert Pollster reader informs me, fails to disclose a significant conflict of interest: A search of Georgia campaign finance records shows that Strategic Vision was paid $3,500 to conduct a poll in 2009 for Ralph Hudgens, a candidate in the Republican primary contest for Insurance Commissioner tested in the new survey.

So again, for all of these reasons, we will no longer publish results by Strategic Vision, LLC on Pollster.com. But that raises a much bigger problem: Strategic Vision is not the only polling organization that has fallen far short of the minimal disclosure requirements of organizations like AAPOR and NCPP, and their results do appear on Pollster.com. That shortcoming is something I want to discuss at greater length this week. Stay tuned.

David Johnson, CEO of Strategic Vision, called this afternoon to say that, in hindsight, it would have been better to disclose the fact that his firm had polled for Hudgens. Johnson said that SV will no longer poll on the race for state insurance commission.

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