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Disclosure Project Update

Topics: Disclosure

Since kicking off our Disclosure Project on Monday, we are pleased to report some very favorable early mentions and links from a variety of bloggers including The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder, Time's Ana Marie Cox, USA Today's Memmott and Lawrence, Politico Ben Smith, MSNBC's Clicked, DailyKos' DemFromCt, MyDD's Jerome Armstrong and Jonathan Singer, The Democratic Strategist's Ed Kilgore. Other names you may not recognize have left comments or endorsed the efforts on their blogs.

As of yesterday, we can add an important name to that list: My colleague Nancy Mathiowetz, the current president of the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR), left the following comment here at Pollster.com:

As President of the American Association for Public Opinion Research, I believe that this is an excellent opportunity for public opinion researchers to help improve the public understanding of polling methodology and interpretation.

Pollster.com is to be applauded for this effort.

More information from AAPOR about disclosure:

http://aapor.org/disclosuresfaqs

Regular readers will know that I serve with Mathiowetz on AAPOR's Executive Council, but it is nonetheless an honor to have her support.

I want to recognize the prompt and complete replies we have already received to our queries from the pollsters at ABC News/Washington Post and LA Times/Bloomberg and Time. Other organizations have requested more time to gather and report the data we requested. Given that we are doing something new here while also "debugging" our own process, we are going to allow as many organizations as possible to respond before publishing the first set of replies (and before sending out similar queries for polls done in New Hampshire, South Carolina and the nation as a whole).

I have also been in contact with the pollsters at Quinnipiac, Mason-Dixon and InsiderAdvantage regarding my post last Friday on their recent polls in Florida and will have more on that subject very soon.

I can say that all of those that have responded appear to be making a good faith effort to be transparent and, as Nancy Mathiowetz put it, "help improve public understanding of polling methodology and interpretation." For that we are grateful.

However, not all of the pollsters have responded to our queries, which is your why your support is important. As Ana Marie Cox put it:

The questions will probably seem unbearably wonky to many, but the reason for wanting the answers is important: They'll help reporters (and readers) better judge the accuracy and importance of these primary state polls.

Or to quote DemfromCT from DailyKos:

The bottom line is that if you want better data to analyze, then we, the consumers of all things political, ought to support pollster.com in asking for it. And if we expect and appreciate the analysis done by pollster.com, Swing State Project, Open Left, Slate, Real Clear Politics or any of the other sites that digest and analyze polling data, let's help make the data a bit more "open source" and transparent.

If you can comment or blog your endorsement of this, we would greatly appreciate it.

 

Comments

Good on you, and continued good luck with this. It really helps us all.

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Thanks for doing this - it will make a huge difference for all of us. I included a short plug at OpenLeft in my post about the Newsweek Iowa poll.

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sjc:

Another variable worth knowing, especially in the Democratic race, for polls done by live interviewers, what is the breakdown of race and gender of the interviewers and if there are statistically significant differences in the responses people give to male versus female interviewers and differences in the responses people give to black versus white interviewers.

White voters in Iowa might be more likely to say they will support Obama to a identifiable black voice than they would to a white voice, and male respondents might be more likely to tell a female interviewer they will support Hillary Clinton. This is one of many sources of bias and since pollsters use phonebanks from various parts of the country, the differences in racial composition of the interviewers should be a variable open to examination.

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