June 23, 2012
Here, there, and everywhere!
It used to be that the St. Norbert's poll was relied upon by Wisconsin Public Radio and the newspapers, but no longer. St. Norbert's polls would be released about 10 days before the election.
Now we are treated to the so-called Marquette Law School poll. St Norbert's always seemed slightly conservative but it was better than nothing. After a steady diet of Marquette Law School polls, St. Norbert's seem like a lefty operation.
About two years ago, voters in Wisconsin learned about a new poll. A poll that would not confine itself to upcoming elections. It would cover all sorts of results as if someone asked. Obviously someone did ask.
The new poll was supposed to be conducted by two political science professors in the UW-Madison political science department. They described the arrangement as a "partnership" with the Bradley Foundation front the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute (WPRI) in Madison.
We were intrigued by the partnership and asked the UW legal department, under Open Records, to provide all the details to Fighting Bob. The UW complied. We read the documents and learned a lot. For example, WPRI and UW Poli Sci tried to remain outside the reach of open records. Transparency was not a goal! They actually put in the memorandum of understanding that indeed they could keep all the information from the public. The memos were fascinating because it was clear that Poli Sci would do the heavy lifting but WPRI would own the material, frame the questions, own the results, and would give the poll results the "spin" desired. And WPRI could simply toss the results they didn't like, and no one would ever know. The partners agreed that the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Dave Umhoefer would get the data before any other reporters. After his story was written, other media people could obtain the polling results. JS pants on fire, soul missing in action.
But when the partners realized that their work would be subject to Open Records, the partnership immediately dissolved. They would find a new way to hide the polling material. Aha, go to private school Marquette--not covered by open records! Huzzah. Poli Sci prof Charles Franklin became ubiquitous throughout the recall process. The Journal Sentinel used the Franklin information to inform who was leading, who was behind, etc. The voters had no choice but to accept the Marquette findngs.
We asked who was paying for the Marquette Law School poll but never got an answer. We asked who staffed the Marquette Law School polling operation. No response. Back to the money. It costs about $10,000 to do the calling for each poll. Who pays? Who designs the poll? Who frames the questions asked?
No answers, but Franklin is now a "go-to" source for WPR, Here and Now, the State Journal and, of course the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel! If a poll is used by partisans, the results can have a substantial impact in fundraising, message, and more. Voters tend to trust polls--more than they trust TV or radio spots. If the Democratic Party wanted to become more relevant it could create a polling operation that would tell them what they need to know.
Like a bad penny, Franklin keeps showing up. Next?
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The Republi-Nazis have to keep up the propaganda. They have to get the get the "word" out through what were legitimate outlets. But I thought Wisconsin Public Television wouldn't fall for that, or have Koch-Walker pressured them also?
-WisconsinLiberal | Fox Valley, WI | June 23, 2012
Regardless, their polls proved to be accurate.
-Mark K | Madison, WI | June 23, 2012
All may be true, but the Marquette poll was closer than any other on the recall. We'll have to see where it's at this fall, but overall it seems accurate.
-Dave | Stoughton | June 23, 2012