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A Few More Questions for a Sketchy Pollster

AAPOR, the American Association for Public Opinion Research, yesterday reprimanded Atlanta-based PR firm Strategic Vision, LLC for failing to disclose even basic information about their political polls:

For more than one year, AAPOR was unable to obtain the following basic information about Strategic Vision LLC’s polling in New Hampshire and Wisconsin: who sponsored the survey; who conducted it; a description of the underlying sampling frame; an accounting of how “likely voters” were identified and selected; response rates; and a description of any weighting or estimating procedures used.

This is a highly unusual step for AAPOR, which tends to be a conservative (lower-case ‘c’) organization that would not ordinarily be inclined to call out an individual pollster by name. But Strategic Vision brought the criticism entirely upon themselves, being the only one of 21 polling firms contacted by the organization that did not respond to the request, in spite of having literally months’ worth of time to do so. As Mark Blumenthal notes, moreover, this is hardly an isolated incident: Strategic Vision has a long history of failing to disclose anything at all about their methodology, obfuscating around repeated requests from places like the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Nor is Strategic Vision any better about disclosing such information to the general public. By contrast, they never provide any demographic detail, cross-tabulations, methodological disclosure, or other supporting evidence in conjunction with their polls.

So let me ask a few more questions of David E. Johnson, Strategic Vision’s CEO. I don’t purport to have answers to these questions, but I think they deserve to be asked.

1. Are you actually polling anyone at all? Or are you just throwing some numbers up on a webpage and hoping nobody calls you on it?

2. What is the location of your “offices” in Tallahassee, Madison and Dallas? Why is there no street address or phone number listed in association with them? How come none of the locations show up in a Yahoo! or Google search?

3. Why would you pick the name “Strategic Vision, LLC” for your company when the name “Strategic Vision, Inc.” was already in use by an extremely well regarded, San Diego-based research firm that has been in business for more than 30 years? Are you deliberately trying to confuse your potential clients and leverage Strategic Vision, Inc.’s much stronger brand name?

I await a reply from Mr. Johnson. But quite honestly, I’m not really expecting one.

Nate Silver founded and was the editor in chief of FiveThirtyEight.