Poll: Americans Don’t Trust Polls

New findings paint a dark picture of the survey research industry.

National Journal
Steven Shepard
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Steven Shepard
Sept. 4, 2013, 4:30 a.m.

If you’re like 75 per­cent of Amer­ic­ans, you think the polling data presen­ted in this art­icle is biased.

Ac­cord­ing to a new poll from the “data in­vest­ment man­age­ment” or­gan­iz­a­tion Kantar on Wed­nes­day, three in four Amer­ic­ans “be­lieve that most polls you hear about … are biased to­ward a par­tic­u­lar point of view,” while only 19 per­cent think they are un­biased.

That find­ing, re­leased as part of a lar­ger event on the fu­ture of pub­lic-opin­ion polling sponsored by Kantar, paints a dark pic­ture of the sur­vey re­search in­dustry, which is try­ing to ad­just to changes in tech­no­logy and pri­vacy pref­er­ences that are mak­ing it harder for the in­dustry to reach many Amer­ic­ans.

But the event also comes less than two weeks since Kantar ac­quired the lead polling firm on Pres­id­ent Obama’s reelec­tion cam­paign last year, Ben­en­son Strategy Group.

The poll is de­scribed as a “bench­mark sur­vey” that aims “to start map­ping the path to pub­lic opin­ion.” Re­spond­ents in­dic­ated that they have more trust in sur­veys con­duc­ted by non­par­tis­an groups, such as found­a­tions or aca­dem­ic groups, than those con­duc­ted for polit­ic­al cli­ents or by the news me­dia. Sixty-four per­cent have at least “some trust” in polls con­duc­ted by “aca­dem­ic cen­ters,” and 54 per­cent trust sur­veys from “non­par­tis­an found­a­tions.” But only 46 per­cent have a modic­um of trust in polls from polling com­pan­ies, and even few­er, 43 per­cent, trust those sur­veys from news me­dia or­gan­iz­a­tion.

That’s still more trust than Amer­ic­ans put in sur­vey res­ults from poll ag­greg­at­ors who av­er­age or oth­er­wise meld polling data (30 per­cent); polit­ic­al parties or can­did­ates (27 per­cent); and auto­mated voice-re­cord­ing firms (16 per­cent).

(In an ex­per­i­ment, half of re­spond­ents were asked about spe­cif­ic firms, which in­dic­ated more trust in me­dia polls. The two news or­gan­iz­a­tions chosen — NBC News and The Wall Street Journ­al — might mol­li­fy dis­trust from both ends of the polit­ic­al spec­trum.)

Re­spond­ents were split fairly evenly on the ques­tion of wheth­er journ­al­ists and ed­it­ors “use a com­mon set of stand­ards to eval­u­ate the qual­ity of polls to de­term­ine which polls they will re­port and which ones they will not” — 51 per­cent said yes, and 41 per­cent said no.

Na­tion­al Journ­al and The Hot­line only re­port res­ults for polls con­duc­ted util­iz­ing prob­ab­il­ity samples and gen­er­ally avoid auto­mated-phone sur­veys.

The Kantar poll was con­duc­ted Ju­ly 24-Aug. 4 and sur­veyed 1,011 adults by land­line and cell phone. The mar­gin of er­ror is plus-or-minus 3.1 per­cent­age points — as­sum­ing you be­lieve that.

What We're Following See More »
ANNOUNCED BY SCARAMUCCI
Sarah Huckabee Sanders Is New Press Secretary
4 hours ago
THE LATEST
SAYS IT WAS “AN HONOR”
Spicer Staying on Through August
4 hours ago
THE LATEST
FIRST IN WEEKS
On-Camera Press Briefing Today at 2
5 hours ago
WHY WE CARE
HE LASTED SIX MONTHS
Sean Spicer Resigns
5 hours ago
THE LATEST

He resigned this morning, "telling President Trump he vehemently disagreed with the appointment of New York financier Anthony Scaramucci as communications director." Per Politico, "chief of staff Reince Priebus and chief strategist Steve Bannon" were opposed to the appointment, while "Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, and Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell" were supportive..."Another White House official said Spicer was gracious while breaking the news of his departure, offered some praise for Scaramucci, while saying he would help with a transition."

Source:
STAFF IS PUSHING BACK
Trump Wants Scaramucci to Helm WH Communications
8 hours ago
THE LATEST

"President Trump is expected to announce that Wall Street financier Anthony Scaramucci will be White House communications director, according to two sources familiar with the planning. Trump has left the role open since Mike Dubke resigned in May, and the President has vented frequently to his friends about the performance of his press operation." According to NBC News, Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus are resisting the move.

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login