Public Policy Polling, a Democratic outfit that specializes in asking Republicans questions specifically designed to allow the mainstream media to mock their ignorance, and smug progressives to puff their little pigeon chests up with pride, really hit the public relations jackpot with a recent survey indicating that 30% of Republican primary voters would support bombing Agrabah, which is where Aladdin hangs out in the Disney movie. In other words, it’s not a real place. (I know: all my Republican acquaintances are exclaiming, “Wait, you mean Aladdin isn’t real?) This gave a real chuckle to the left-wing websites and blogs, the mainstream media and all those brilliant news anchors who don’t know what to say unless a teleprompter lays it out for them, and who believe people who look to them for enlightenment are smart.
Not taking this lying down, a conservative polling groups called WPA Research devised another deceptive poll that revealed that 44% of Democrats would support taking refugees from Agrabah. So there.
Now conservatives can puff up their pigeon chests, I guess.
Message to pollsters: I know we’re talking about stupid and ignorant people here, but even they will eventually figure out that a certain percentage of poll questions aren’t honest, but are tricks designed to prove they are dumb, violent, stupid, greedy, bigoted, mean, or likely Trump supporters. The joke is on WPA and PPP: people trusted them, as they have traditionally trusted pollsters to be seeking useful opinion data, not proof of knee-jerk partisan idiocy. If a pollster asked about an individual, issue or nation, those polled never dreamed that the question was setting them up to be scorned. Now both of these organizations have proclaimed that they can’t be trusted, that they aren’t neutral truth-seekers but adversaries with an agenda.
Good to know.
I could analyze why this phenomenon is becoming more common—James O’Keefe, YouTube, the vicious polarization that increasingly causes differing views to be treated as The Great Undeniable Truth vs. The Babbling of Evil Fools. I don’t care what spawned it. The practice is wrong in every way.
I’m giving the polling community an undisclosed amount of time to deal with this phenomenon by revising their Codes of Conduct to include specific prohibitions against this kind of toxic polling, which I would define as “Polling that secretly aims to make those polled appear ignorant by using deceitful questions implying that something is true when it is not.” I’m sure the industry can come up with a more concise term. Both the Code of Professional Conduct of the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the Code of Standards of the Council of American Survey Research Organizations (CASRO) have general provisions (“transparency;” “respect for participants”) that could be interpreted as banning this practice, but they are too vague to have any impact. If the profession won’t police itself, nobody should trust any pollsters, or any polling organization. When we are polled, we currently don’t know whether we are volunteers in a valid fact-finding project, or targets of a political or ideological agenda.
Pollsters can go poll themselves. At this point, trusting to them is proof enough of ignorance.
Pointer: The Blaze