A few people have mentioned to me the ODT has a new website, with their articles going up the same day now. Excellent, and I will add them to my daily read, so may start linking more stories from them.
I am actually working on a dedicated polling blog, where issues around polls and pollings can be discussed in more detail. As that is not yet ready for public release (I am planning some nifty features such a a semi-automated daily update of the public poll average, seat projections, even which candidates will make up the next Parliament – all based on public polls) I include over the break some extracts from an e-mail I sent in response to Simon’s column. Simon has given a pleasant reply by e-mail also. All polling companies get scrutiny, and with my profile on some issues, it is to be expected.
In reference to your column today regarding the poll Curia did for Family First, I would like to offer the following for your consideration:
Firstly Curia does work for a number of clients regardless of whether or not I have expressed views on my personal blog that concur with their own. In the last local body elections I did polling for mayoral candidates from the left (including a Labour Party member) and right. Also you may have noted from my blog that there are many many issues on which I disagree with Family First. They chose Curia presumably because of our competitive rates as a smaller agency.
I would also make the point that the vast majority of our polls for clients are not for publication. They are for their internal decision making. The quote about making sure the questions asked will be of maximum benefit is not in relation to getting the result you want, but having non-leading and non-biased questions. It is in fact the exact opposite of what you imply. One of the largest parts of my job is rewriting draft questions from clients into more neutral language. I could regale you with stories of questions clients have wanted to ask.
Family First have published my full report to them, which allows you to see the exact questions asked. Rather than imply biased questions on the basis of my personal views, why not actually critique the questions asked as they were available to you. If someone wants to argue the questions are leading, then I would happily debate that, but it is hard to debate implications.
As it happens, when the results are going to be made public by a client, and it is on an issue which I have expressed personal views (and there are few issues I have not expressed a view on) I work extra hard to try and make the questions as “bullet proof” as possible because of the natural suspicion you have expressed. In relation to the first question I was insistent on mentioning the Police prosecutorial discretion and that it only relates to smacking for correctional purposes (one can still smack for other purposes).