On the Wednesday edition of The Gill Report, broadcast on Knoxville’s 92.3 FM WETR, Steve Gill explained the perils of giving too much credence to polls that hide key details about their methodology.
Case in point: A recent poll conducted by the Democratic polling firm PPP on the U.S. Senate race in Tennessee between Democrat Phil Bredesen and Republican Marsha Blackburn.
“I mentioned at the outside of the show that PPP had done a new poll that is being reported across the state showing that former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen, a Democrat, is leading Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, the front runner for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate, 46 percent to 41 percent in a new poll that they’ve conducted,” Gill said.
“I just wanted you to be aware of some of the problems that may be contained in that poll,” he added, noting:
This particular polling company is a Democrat polling company, a left leaning polling company, that is paid to do a poll by a group that supports Obamacare. So they produce a poll that shows that Phil, ‘I Voted for Hillary’ Bredesen leads Marsha Blackburn by 5 points.
Not surprisingly, their poll shows that Tennesseans oppose repeal of Obamacare, which also fits the agenda of the people who paid the poll.
But they didn’t produce the top line of the poll, which shows all the questions, the orders that they asked them, which might give us a little insight into whether the poll results they gleaned were after they asked a few anti-Blackburn or pro-Bredesen questions.
They didn’t attach the whole poll, so we don’t know whether there were some push poll questions into the mix.
Nor did they release the crosstabs, which show the details of how the poll was crafted.
What we do know is that the news reports say that “roughly a thousand Tennesseans were polled.”
“Roughly” isn’t exactly the precision you expect from a polling company.
And they polled registered voters rather than likely voters.
You can listen to Gill’s analysis, as broadcast on The Gill Report, here: