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AAPOR Objects to Nondisclosure About Published Polls

1 November 2009 1,149 views No Comment

The American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) Executive Council recently found that the refusal by Atlanta-based Strategic Vision LLC to provide sufficient information about the methodology used in its surveys was “inconsistent with AAPOR’s Code of Professional Ethics and Practices and contrary to basic principles of scientific research.” The inquiry was related to AAPOR’s evaluation of the methodological factors in the 2008 pre-election polls, particularly those conducted prior to the New Hampshire Democratic primary.

According to AAPOR, Strategic Vision was the only of 21 firms contacted that failed to release essential facts about the polls it published prior to the 2008 presidential primaries in New Hampshire and Wisconsin. Due to Strategic Vision’s failure to respond over a period of more than one year, a complaint was filed against the company, alleging it was in violation of AAPOR’s code. After being informed of the complaint, Strategic Vision CEO David Johnson offered partial information, according to AAPOR. AAPOR considers the release of this information for public polls to be a minimum requirement for professional behavior among those who conduct public opinion research, regardless of whether they are AAPOR members.

Stephen J. Blumberg, chair of AAPOR’s Standards Committee, noted that the complaint and AAPOR’s subsequent investigation of Strategic Vision LLC focused solely on the issue of disclosure. “In no way did the investigation address the quality of work by Strategic Vision, the accuracy of the polls, or the integrity of the company,” Blumberg said. “AAPOR’s singular goal when enforcing its code is to maintain the public’s confidence in public opinion research. Confidence is strengthened when researchers disclose aspects of their work that may have a direct bearing on the data produced and the interpretation of the results.”

The report on AAPOR’s official evaluation of the pre-election polls prior to the 2008 presidential primaries is available here as a PDF.

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