By Nathan L. Gonzales, Roll Call
If you werenâ€™t buried in the avalanche of polling last cycle, beware: More numbers are on the way.
Daily Kos, one of the countryâ€™s best-known liberal blogs, recently started its weekly State of the Nation poll measuring President Barack Obamaâ€™s job approval rating and other national atmospherics. But the siteâ€™s founder is going one step further by releasing the raw data along with the standard top-line numbers.
â€œEveryone should release the raw data,â€ Daily Kos publisher and founder Markos Moulitsas told Roll Call in an e-mail. â€œIt would help keep pollsters honest … but also gives the public the opportunity to slice and dice the information however they want to.â€
Itâ€™s a lesson that Moulitsas admitted â€œI learned the hard way,â€ after he learned his pollster, Research 2000, was releasing questionable figures.
â€œDemocratizing access to our poll results means that everyone gets access to it,â€ Moulitsas said. â€œIf conservatives want to accuse me of dishonesty or cherry picking of results, well then, they have the ability to dig into the raw data in order to try and prove those accusations.â€
Pollsters say Moulitsas could just be compensating for the Research 2000 problems, and it remains to be seen whether heâ€™s starting a trend and whether the raw data are useful to the average political junkie.
â€œItâ€™s a little bit of chest-thumping,â€ GOP pollster Adam Geller of National Research Inc. said about the release of the additional numbers. â€œThe fact is that thatâ€™s fine and good, but the raw data doesnâ€™t demonstrate anything but a poll was conducted.â€
In this case, thatâ€™s not an insignificant detail.
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