There are essentially two types of pollsters. One type conducts polls for campaign use. The other conducts them for public consumption (Survey USA’s Bluegrass Polls, for example).  A group of 19 campaign pollsters are calling out public pollsters for not being open enough about how they conduct their polls.

From Politico:

The letter called on public pollsters to adhere to more professional standards by fully disclosing their methodology, including sampling, sample design and question wording, and on the media to hold public pollsters to a standard of transparency.

The public pollsters’ response? Get off your high horse.

Tom Jensen, director of the Democratic automated polling firm Public Policy Polling — which had a breakout year in enhancing its public profile — said it was presumptuous to call for openness when the campaign pollsters’ own work rarely sees the light of day. When internal campaign polls are released, he noted, it’s almost always because a campaign is trying to convince the media and the public that it’s doing better than the public polls show.

Jensen uses a local case to back up his argument:

Jensen pointed to a pair of internal campaign polls released in advance of Kentucky’s May Republican Senate primary that seemed to show Trey Grayson within striking distance of Rand Paul, at a time when public polls showed Paul with healthy leads. (Paul won the primary by 23 points.)

“That was a case where the public polling was very accurate and the campaigns were putting out very misleading information,” Jensen said. “They weren’t releasing the full surveys, just a number. I don’t know how you could have possibly found Rand Paul and Trey Grayson tied in a poll in early May unless [the horse-race question] came after extensive negative message testing on Paul.”

 

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