FEBRUARY 22, 2017 – It was just a blog post, and the writers are minor league, so it is no big deal, but for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution to intimate that a survey we conducted for the special election in GA CD6 was rigged requires a response.
The problem with newspaper blog posts is that they give the paper some measure of cover – because of the informality of the forum. These days newspapers are less and less relevant, and their blogs are essentially a way for newspapers to try to remain relevant by gossiping about the news of the day.
The blog writers – Greg Bluestein and Jim Galloway – said our ZPolitics/Clout Research poll was skewed because, they complained, the race is non-partisan, but we included in our survey the party identification of the candidates we tested. Every state is different in how they handle such things as primary and special elections, so we checked with the Georgia Secretary of State’s Elections Division to see if party ID of candidates will actually be on the ballot. It is a basic thing we do all the time. It is called due diligence.
The answer was yes, party ID will appear on the ballot, according to THE elections experts in Georgia who gave us the facts. So it went into our survey that way.
The AJC blog contends that because we only included by name one Democrat and several Republicans, we skewed the poll by driving Democrats – a minority of the electorate in CD6 – to that lone Democrat, Jon Ossoff, and so pushed up his numbers. (We also included an option for respondents to choose someone not named in the poll question, which Bluestein and Galloway completely ignored – but respondents didn’t ignore it, as 11% said they preferred some “other” candidate).
In the end, Ossoff did lead our survey. It showed that most Dems do prefer him over a GOP alternative. No surprise. But the AJC GETS IT WRONG in intimating that there should have been NO PARTY ID in the survey. So we’re not saying these reporters, Greg Bluestein and Jim Galloway, are the most ignorant political reporters in America, but if you wanted to portray yourselves as the most ignorant reporters in America, writing their blog post yesterday without checking any facts would be one way to do it.
A simple phone call to us would have cleared up this mistake for the AJC, but they made no such effort. We hope they learn from this and don’t repeat their error.
Here is a link to the poll report at Zpolitics.com.