With polls, both formal and informal, it’s all in how the questions are worded

By Craig McDermott, crossposted from Random Musings

In scientific polls, say, by a professional and unaffiliated pollster, the questions tend to be neutrally worded, to ensure that the responses are as informative as possible.

In less scientific polls, say, by a campaign or a pollster working for a campaign, the questions tend to be less neutral, either to garner a specific response or to test “messaging”.

In unscientific polls, say, an online question, the questions tend to serve as clickbait or something designed to a specific response to support a specific argument.

Not surprisingly, anti-voter Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan seems to favor the latter, especially when looking to protect the corrupting influence of dark money from the disinfecting sunlight of disclosure.

 

Reagan is in a tizzy* over the moves of the voter-created Citizens Clean Elections Commission to update its rules regarding campaign finance disclosure, changes that would clarify that entities that are “created within the six months immediately preceding the beginning of a legislative election cycle or that is formed or created during the election cycle and knowingly makes expenditures or takes contributions of $500 or more for any election in this state in a calendar year…” as political committees subject to disclosure requirements.

* – Probably more “cold and calculating fury” than “tizzy”, but I believe that the word tizzy isn’t used enough these days, so “tizzy” it is. 🙂

To that end, she has published a “statement” criticizing the CCEC’s “power grab”.

At the end of that statement, she has appended a poll.

That question, coming at the end of her statement excoriating the CCEC, looks to be crafted to rouse the ire of “small government” partisans, the kind that voted for her for SOS last year.

Apparently, I am not one of her “kind of people” (the kind of partisans who voted for her).

So I voted “Yes” (of course 🙂 ).

Apparently2, the majority of other people voting in this poll aren’t exactly her kind of people, either.

After my vote, the following screen appeared –

Hmmm…

Probably not the sort of result that Reagan was looking for when she posted the poll.

On the other hand, she shouldn’t be surprised – in scientific poll after scientific poll, the majority of Americans supports more oversight of campaign finance.

If, as I believe she has, she has aspirations to higher office (like the governor’s office, which is both higher on the ballot and higher in the Executive Tower than her office), it might behoove her to take the poll results (both scientific and unscientific) into consideration before doubling down on her support of dark money and the anonymous purchase of elections and elected officials.

By the time the Doug Ducey era comes to a close, even the voters of Arizona may be tired of corruption in politics.

And its enablers.

3 responses to “With polls, both formal and informal, it’s all in how the questions are worded

  1. Eric Kurland

    And here is what happens when the results aren’t what you wanted-
    “Our website is currently undergoing some maintenance.
    We’ll be back shortly, but you can still…”

  2. A phony poll by the AZ SoS is backfiring on her. She frames her question as if the voter approved Clean Elections Act doesn’t already give the Commission the authority, and voters’ expectation, that they will enforce campaign finance laws. Take the poll and ask your friends to VOTE YES in favor of the Citizens Clean Elections Commission and their effort to expose and stop #DarkMoney at this link – http://bit.ly/1ENKAjn The AZ SoS directly benefited from #DarkMoney in the 2014 Election. #VotersNotDonors

  3. Unfortunately, as of this morning, the results swing toward Reagan.
    YES 49%
    NO 50%
    But, to your point, the results may merely reflect the phrasing of the question which pits big gummint (“broaden its mission”) against campaign finance abuses (“regulate campaign finance”).