Saturday, October 03, 2009

Don't trust Strategic Vision's reported poll numbers

How likely is it that Strategic Vision LLC has just been making up the numbers it reports? The New York Times reports:
news organizations are rethinking their use of Strategic Vision’s numbers after the company was reprimanded [* See below] last week by a professional association of pollsters for failing to disclose “essential facts” about its methods.
Strategic Vision was founded by Mr. Johnson and his wife, Laura Ward, as a Republican-leaning mom-and-pop public relations company in 2002. In 2004, the company branched out into polling, focusing on Senate and presidential races. One of its clients is the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, based in Indiana, which supports the use of government vouchers to send children to private schools.

Like many of its competitors, Strategic Vision issued polls it said were self-financed, as a way of attracting attention and clients. The company was successful in part because its polling was prolific and was often among the earliest on a given race, like the one in which Ralph Reed, former executive director of the Christian Coalition, ran for lieutenant governor of Georgia in 2006.

Early on, questions were raised about how such a small firm could conduct so many self-financed polls, but Mr. Johnson, a frequent commentator on Fox News, said they accounted for the company’s entire marketing budget. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution repeatedly requested supporting documentation for the poll results but never received any, said James A. Mallory, senior managing editor. A spokeswoman for CNN said it had declined for years to use Strategic Vision’s polls.
The reprimand, by
[*] the American Association for Public Opinion Research, stemmed from an investigation it conducted after many polls showed Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton trailing in the run-up to the 2008 Democratic presidential primary in New Hampshire, where she went on to win. The association requested minimal information from 21 polling companies that, according to its professional guidelines, all polls should disclose, including sample size, response rate and polling dates.

Strategic Vision was the only company that did not provide the information, prompting a complaint filed with the association.
Let's see. New company. No track record. Based on a lot of publicity by the owner. Right-wing oriented. Refuses to provide sample size, response rate and polling dates which are minimal data for evaluating a sample poll.

That's a company to disbelieve whenever its name is associated with any poll.

They'll do something about this report quickly. My bet is that they will soon change the name of their company.

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