Mark Blumenthal | October 1, 2007
Last Friday, in my semi-regular "remainders" wrap of interesting poll blogs of the week, I neglected to link to an interesting column from Kathy Frankovic of CBS News, which has an interesting twist on our recent focus on disclosure.
She writes of the laws in "at least 30 countries" other countries that prohibit the publication of pre-election poll results, but then also points out the unusual new law in Greece:
In Greece, however, the restriction on reporting pre-election polls was brand new, and it also carried disclosure requirements. A published opinion poll there has to be based on at least 1,000 interviews; and the questionnaire, the collected data and the survey report must be deposited with a special public committee.
After noting that the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution would prevent any such prior restraint in our country, she considers that disclosure requirement:
The Greek law's requirement of disclosure is something that professional survey research organizations have long desired. The American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR), the National Council on Public Polls (NCPP), and the World Association for Public Opinion Research (WAPOR), among others, require disclosure of information that would allow a reader or listener to judge the value of a poll.
However, these organizations also oppose government restrictions on publication of pre-election polls. (The Internet has made those restrictions more difficult to enforce. How could the French government enforce its law prohibiting the publication of poll results, if those results appeared on Web site based in Switzerland?)
She goes on to consider the implications of a lack of pre-election polling in the last two weeks of the Greek campaign. It's worth reading in full.