A We Ask America poll of May 13 shows Walker with a 9 point lead over Tom Barrett in the race for Governor of Wisconsin. I heard a lot of concern today, but question whether that's warranted, or just a distraction. It always pays to check background and methodology.
According to a Mar 28, 2010 story in Illinois' State Journal-Register, Gregg Durham, a former state spokesman, is now COO of Xpress Professional Services Inc., a for-profit subsidiary of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, which "does things including polling". The polling operation, We Ask America, started as "an extension of political work", had only recently unveiled its Web site, www.WeAskAmerica.com.
We Ask America does both automated polls — where recorded voices ask respondents for their views — and live-interview polls. The firm did more than 20 polls during the primary season for one client, the gubernatorial campaign of state Sen. Kirk Dillard, R-Hinsdale, and all but two of those were automated.WAA's Mothers' Day Wisconsin Gubernatorial poll was automated. No methodology is given at their website. But the FAQ page boasts that "we have a track record of predicting winners & losers that no other pollster predicted". Whether their unique position among pollsters was successful or not must not be frequently asked.
In very recent history, Durham said, automated polls have been much more accurate than interview polls nationally, but he thinks both have a place and it depends on the needs of a client. “My personal preference is for automated (polls) plus focus groups,” he said. “I think that’s a combination that works extremely well.”
Automated polls also can be worked up quickly. He [Dunham] said polls being put on the Web site are just a fraction of the surveys conducted by the firm. All this happens with a staff that includes mainly just three full-time workers.
“I had never done PR work,” He said, “but I can talk my way out of a paper bag.”
by admin on May 14, 2012 in Polls | 0 commentsAnd….scene. You can step out of that blinding light now, Gov, that's a take! It should play well up in bold, loopy Wisconsin. Hope no-one's so bold they peek outside Wisconsin's borders to see that the economic "tailspin" is these days just a localized phenomena.... or give much thought to your treatment of their mothers.
In the Midwest, it’s not easy to find a more polarizing figure than Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. In a state where bold ideas are often rewarded, Walker’s slash-and-burn rhetoric during his first months in office resulted in bringing national attention to his administration’s aggressive fiscal reforms while stirring a hornet’s nest of resentment from public unions and others who felt he went too far. Walker soon became the Poster Boy (good and bad) for partisan views fueled by an economy in a tailspin.
….Wisconsin’s loopy election laws make it comparatively easy to recall a governor, so Walker now faces a rematch…..
….what better way to celebrate Mothers Day than by asking 1,219 likely Wisconsin voters who they plan to elect on June 5?
…some of Walker’s detractors [sic?] have been vocal about the fact that Walker was duly elected in 2010 and in most states would not be able to be challenged with a recall without greater cause. And a whopping 95% of those called said they plan to vote in the June 5th election which will have the national spotlight on it.
For now, that light is shining a bit brighter on Scott Walker.
On the value of automated polls, WAA says they "can have a huge number of responses (we’ve conducted polls of up to 70,000 responses!), and cost about one-tenth the price of interview polls." Why then, does 1,219 work so well for Wisconsin? I guess the summary neglected to call Wisconsin a "cheap" poll date, too.
Though We Ask America challenges the reader to check their record with The American Research Group, who "keeps tabs on the accuracy of pollsters, including We Ask America", the only reference available there was for the 2012 Wisconsin Republican Primary. WAA's accuracy rating for polling that narrow demographic was the same as Marquette's.
And thank goodness (no, thank the loopy laws!) the recall was such a simple, easy undertaking. I must have missed all the loops while standing for hours numbing my brain in freezing rain and snow. I doubt I'd had the energy left to jump through had I even know about the loops. Here I wasted all my life believing Wisconsinites had a deep history of valuing education, research, discussion and concerned contemplation of policy, when all this time we were just boldly passing loopy laws for rewards!
Thanks WAA, for having the automation to get more in touch with my state than I am with a meager 61 years of personal experience here.
I had lots of questions to ask at the WAA website, but the 0 comments displayed will likely remain so, given there's no functional commenting system there. (And I so wanted to comment on the Mid-America Melee poll!) I must admit, however, that's a great (and cheap) way to leave an impression of unquestioned accuracy.
After that assault on my sensibilities, I'm left only to contemplate trends by looking at successive polls from the same source.
8/12-8/14 Barrett +1
10/20-10/23 Walker +2
2/23-2/26 Barrett +3
1/19-1/22 Walker +6
3/22-3/25 Walker +2
4/26-4/29 Walker +1
Happy automated Mothers' Day poll!
A division of Xpress Professional Services, Inc.
220 East Adams St.
Springfield, Illinois 62701
8:47 PM PT: Mr. Durham has responded to my inquiry about the methodology for the "Recall Fever" poll with a prepared, standard "statement of methodology" which does not address this, or any poll, specifically.
To summarize, voter lists are proprietary, cell phone algorithms are proprietary, methodology insures results are "projectable", and We Ask America adheres to the principles, ethics and guidelines of the American Association of Public Opinion Research.