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Automated or Not?

Topics: Automated polls , Disclosure , Insider Advantage , IVR , National Journal column

My National Journal column for this week looks at the failure of one pollster, Insider Advantage, to disclose whether it uses live interviewers or an automated method in its reports and the resulting consequences.

I have more to add on this topic -- please check back later today.

Update: I posted thoughts on how we how we plan to do better at holding Pollsters to minimal standards for disclosure here at Pollster.com.

Update II: A response from InsiderAdvantage CEO Matt Towery.

 

Comments
Researchrants.wordpress.com:

Mark, while I don't have any tolerance for those who refuse to disclose their methodology, in a world where Chuck Todd, Gary Langer, and others automatically discount the work of all IVR pollsters, I can sort of see why a pollster might want to obscure his methods: good work is being dismissed out of hand because of indefensible bias.

Chuck Todd, four full years ago:

Until the track records of these surveys are proven over a long period of time, we'll continue to ignore these poll results when conducting our own analysis.
How many more elections do the leaders of the IVR polling community -- SurveyUSA, Rasmussen, and PPP -- need to nail before Todd stops ignoring them?

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sfcpoll:

Really Researchrants? You can understand why these firms would want to obscure their methods because they are unfairly discriminated against?
I certainly hope not- it's one thing to feel that your research isn't fairly judged, but wholly another to try and hide the fact that you produce polling that many think is bunk. I don't believe Insider Advantage had such nefarious motives, but sympathizing with nondisclosure of polling methodology is like sympathizing with a politician who doesn't disclose a conflict of interest because he knows you would interpret it negatively. In addition, the disguising of methodology does not help the case of quality for IVR surveys.

It is for the polling consumer, not the polling producer, to judge the quality of any given survey.

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Researchrants.wordpress.com:

Well, I'd say that understanding what their motivation might be and having sympathy for them are entirely different things. I understand WHY my kid doesn't want to come tell me he broke the neighbor's window with his baseball, but that sure doesn't mean I'm OK with it.

There's no excuse for nondisclosure, but there's no excuse for ignoring more than a decade of solid IVR performance, either.

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