As I've previously reported (as well as others questioning various postings that Shabazz has written here, here, and here), he has cited polls saying Mayor Greg Ballard was polling high among African-Americans, and that Ballard's poll numbers are similar to Governor Mitch Daniels. He has reported these factual statistics without citing the poll, or disclosing any of the methodology surrounding the poll.
Today he posted that Daniels' approval rating is 70%, again without citing the poll. As I discussed in my previous post, polling methodology is important. It lets you see how the poll was conducted, what the sample was, how demographics break down, and so much more. Without this information, statistics cited from polls are little more than random numbers that hold no weight in discussion.
Furthermore, the National Council on Public Polls requires all members of it's organization to at least disclose the following information:
Level 1 Disclosure: All reports of survey findings issued for public release by a member organization will include the following information:
- Sponsorship of the survey
- Fieldwork provider (if applicable)
- Dates of interviewing
- Sampling method employed (for example, random-digit dialed telephone sample, list-based telephone sample, area probability sample, probability mail sample, other probability sample, opt-in internet panel, non-probability convenience sample, use of any oversampling)
- Population that was sampled (for example, general population; registered voters; likely voters; or any specific population group defined by gender, race, age, occupation or any other characteristic)
- Size of the sample that serves as the primary basis of the survey report
- Size and description of the subsample, if the survey report relies primarily on less than the total sample
- Margin of sampling error (if a probability sample)
- Survey mode (for example, telephone/interviewer, telephone/automated, mail, internet, fax, e-mail)
- Complete wording and ordering of questions mentioned in or upon which the release is based
- Percentage results of all questions reported
Member organizations reporting results will endeavor to have print and broadcast media include the above items in their news stories.
Member organizations conducting privately commissioned surveys should make clear to their clients that the client has the right to maintain the confidentiality of survey findings. However, in the event the results of a privately commissioned poll are made public by the survey organization the above items should be disclosed.
In the event the results of a privately commissioned poll are made public by the client, the survey organization (a) shall make the information outlined above available to the public upon request and (b) shall have the responsibility to release the information above and other pertinent information necessary to put the client's release into the proper context if such a release has misrepresented the survey's findings.
Shabazz is a talented writer, and sometimes I might even agree with him. But he has a poor history on reporting, honestly and openly, on polling statistics and other easily verifiable facts. It's just lazy journalism at best. As I said before, these polls he cites might as well be made up.
This should not be taken as going against Daniels. Some of my family have connections to Daniels, and I've met the man and voted for him twice, and would gladly vote for him again. I wouldn't be surprised if his poll numbers were between 65-70%. This is, after all, a solid red state. But even a fact as obvious as "red state governor has high approval ratings" should still be sourced. There is just no reason not to have a source.