Liberal Blog Seeks Transparency by Offering Poll Data

by
January 28, 2011

By Nathan L. Gonzales, Roll Call

If you weren’t buried in the avalanche of polling last cycle, beware: More numbers are on the way.

Daily Kos, one of the country’s best-known liberal blogs, recently started its weekly State of the Nation poll measuring President Barack Obama’s job approval rating and other national atmospherics. But the site’s founder is going one step further by releasing the raw data along with the standard top-line numbers.

“Everyone should release the raw data,” Daily Kos publisher and founder Markos Moulitsas told Roll Call in an e-mail. “It would help keep pollsters honest … but also gives the public the opportunity to slice and dice the information however they want to.”

It’s a lesson that Moulitsas admitted “I learned the hard way,” after he learned his pollster, Research 2000, was releasing questionable figures.

“Democratizing access to our poll results means that everyone gets access to it,” Moulitsas said. “If 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.”

Pollsters say Moulitsas could just be compensating for the Research 2000 problems, and it remains to be seen whether he’s starting a trend and whether the raw data are useful to the average political junkie.

“It’s a little bit of chest-thumping,” GOP pollster Adam Geller of National Research Inc. said about the release of the additional numbers. “The fact is that that’s fine and good, but the raw data doesn’t demonstrate anything but a poll was conducted.”

In this case, that’s not an insignificant detail.

To read more, visit: http://www.rollcall.com/issues/56_73/-202872-1.html?ET=rollcall:e9722:80094833a:&st=email&pos=epol

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