A poll recently released by the Anchorage-based pollster David Dittman shows Lisa Murkowski with a sizable lead over both Joe Miller and Scott McAdams. This poll is misleading for two reasons:
- Dittman was quoted in Politico as saying that he has “asked respondents whether they were voting for any of the candidates on the ballot or a write-in candidate, ‘such as Lisa Murkowski or someone else.'” With her name no longer on the ballot, I ask the question “Is referring to someone not on the actual ballot ethical polling?” This issue goes hand-in-hand with whether or not placing a write-in list at polling stations is ethical. The DoE says “no” (in it’s own legal code), but the Courts say “yes, go ahead.”
- Dittman is a GOP pollster.
Now, a brief note on three recent polls:
- The Hays Research Poll was backed by the IBEW (which supports McAdams).
- The Hellenthal & Associates Poll was released by Alaskans Standing Together (which supports Murkowski).
- The Dittman Poll is released and has Murkowski supporters all a-flutter and McAdams fans in a fury. The poll is backed by a well-known GOP pollster.
“Oh, ho!” You say?
Well, the Alaska Dispatch (in a blog written by Amanda Coyne) now releases this, which cites the Hays poll and the Hellenthal poll as being backed by either a campaign or an organization sympathetic to the campaign (“It bears repeating that both of those pollsters had a relationship with campaigns”). The Dispatch then goes on to cite David Dittman as “one of the most reliable pollsters in the state.”
However, it also bears mentioning that Dittman is equally invested in the campaign. This article refers to Dittman in the following sentence: “Halcro has reached out to other local Republicans to help fund the poll, which will be done by GOP pollster David Dittman starting this weekend.” (The article is dated August 27, 2010.) The article was also posted on Andrew Halcro’s website.
I will be the first to say that everyone has a political opinion on some level. More so if you are involved in politics…like a pollster. However, we need to be up front with our opinions, especially when thousands of people may potentially read our poll and make several fundamental assumptions about it. For instance: that it is non-biased.
I will go further: I support Scott McAdams. I also have a poll on the main page of this blog. I also intentionally named Lisa Murkowski in the poll. Why did I do so? Because it’s an unofficial poll on a blog and because I doubt anyone who visits this blog can name any other write-in candidate. That is an assumption I am making on my blog. I am not a newspaper (although I do write for one). My blog posts are (what I consider) “hypertext editorials.” That is my bias. Now, what’s yours?