Sunday, August 5, 2007

Stephens Reply

Below is the comment we received from Mark Stephens in regard to my latest post. I figure its fair to give him front page space to reply. For what its worth I disagree with most of what he has to say, but I will save my comments for the comments section.


The logic of your blog entry of August 3 is founded on two basic premises.

First - that because a client of mine chooses to refer to PPP polling, I must have personally encouraged the client to do so. While I wish my clients would always take my advice, that is not the case. In fact, I've never called a reporter to push a poll on them - yours or others - that employ a similar methodology utilized by PPP.

Second - that because that particular client of mine referred to a PPP poll, it somehow proves that the methodology utilized by PPP is sound and accurate. That logic is even more flawed than your polls.

I've been around this stuff for nearly 30 years. During that time, I've seen various new technologies come and go. Some good and useful - some not so good. If it's good, you keep it and use it.

The polling methodology utilized by PPP is not new. It's been around for some time. It lacks accuracy and I would never recommend it to a client that requires accuracy. I would never recommend it to anyone in the media that is attempting to analyze a political issue or campaign. The selling point for the product is that it is cheap.

I've never contended that it is totally useless. Over a period of time, it may serve to track trends and movement, but the data of any given poll is not reliable enough to make sound judgments.

I have nothing against your company. You serve the liberal political community in North Carolina and elsewhere. If they want to buy your wares - that is fine with me.

The only time I've voiced objections is when your company and clients attempt to persuade the media that your polling - or political spin based on that polling - has equal weight with traditional methodologies that have been tried and tested over decades. IMHO - that is not true and can mislead the media and their readership.

For what it's worth, that's my two cents.

Mark Stephens


Justin Guillory said...


IVR polling may not be new, but as technology has improved the amount of polling has increased. With that practices and accuracy have improved.

You say it lacks accuracy but have no proof. All the evidence I have seen suggests IVR polling is just as accurate as "traditional" pollsters, if not more so. Like you can see in the latest Bill Graham poll, we are getting the same numbers.

Yes we are much cheaper than "traditional" polls but that's because our polls are much shorter and we don't have to pay the salaries of live interviewers-- plus our profits for execs are much lower. The low price has nothing to do with any expectation of lower accuracy.

Finally, you may think that we are persuading the media to accept some lesser product, but many observers and people in the media disagree with you. We are not misleading the media or its readership. I think we are only doing the readership a favor by providing more quality measurement of public opinion and starting more dialogue between the people and the politicians, instead of relying on the echo chamber of political insiders.

Anonymous said...

I am glad I read this blog. Justin seems to be about as honest as they come.

I suggest mark takes a look at:

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