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The Power, the Gold and Inside Secrets of Polling

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I've had the results of our poll, the first progressive poll published, and I can't tell you how cool it is to be able to see opinions based on religion, gender, race, income, age, born-again or not, union or not, frequency of church visits, frequency of Walmart visits, NASCAR fan or not, democrat, republican, independent..
Progressive, liberal, moderate, con, ultra-con

The patterns, the anomalies are fascinating. Seeing this kind of poll info makes it so clear how much of an advantage a well-funded campaign, political party or any advocacy group or organization has when it can afford to sponsor a poll.

Remember, when a candidate sponsors a poll, he or she doesn't have to and probably often does not report the findings. Having just run a poll looking at the PA senate horserace, it dawned on me that Santorum and Casey have almost certainly run a poll with similar questions, asking how their campaign runs against all the possible candidates. No pollsters have published such findings. I can see why. The poll I ran clearly shows certain strengths and weaknesses for the different candidates. This information is not in the general stats. It's in the demographics. That's where the gold is, finding the opportunities, the weaknesses among different religious, gender, income categories.

My guess is that Rick Santorum and Bob Casey, jr. know which of their issues push the most buttons positively and negatively. Now they may not know some of the things I know, because I asked 27 issue questions in addition to the candidate questions.

ONe of the biggest suprises of the poll is that when African Americans learn about the positions of the candidates, Casey's support drops from 92% to 46 percent. This is astonishing. What it tells me is that African leaders in Pennsylvania put themselves at risk supporting Casey. Some of my other poll questions make the reasons clear, but I'm not making that information public. See. Doesn't that bother you? It's the power of the poll, the power that a candidate with good funding gets. And where does that money come from-- PACs mostly.

The OpEdNews.com/ Zogby people's poll found that there is strong support for taking money out of the election equation. 66% of responders support (27% oppose) providing qualified candidates with campaign funding and the elimination of contributions that can influence politicians.

There is strong support (65 for to 27% opposed) for legislation that GIVES candidates free air time. After all, the media get a free license to the airwaves. Why shouldn't we the people be able to require a sharing of some of that time, including prime time? But guess what. How many TV or radio stations do you think would report that news? So you won't see that information on TV and most of Americans won't know that what they probably believe is the right way to finance campaigns is an opinion shared by a strong majority.

I learned that some states require that if a poll is made public, all the questions, all the stats must be published. That's a great idea. It won't stop candidates from running private polls. There's a way to solve that too. If we're going to go with publicly funded elections, then publicly fund the polls. Let each candidate provide input into the questions. That's a powerful way to show opponent weaknesses. Let each candidate provide input into the information that panelists receive. The information that one chooses to omit can totally change a poll's outcome. For example, we asked a question about whether people thought Bush broke the law with his unauthorized NSA spying. Other pollsters have asked this question and reported that people support the president, that under 45% think Bush was wrong.
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But I think they chose to omit information when they asked the question. This is how we asked the question.

Some have said that President Bush has violated the law and the Constitution with an illegal wiretapping operation against American citizens. They say that there is absolutely no reason the president had to wiretap without a court order when the law expressly allows the president to get a court order after the fact. The president says he is obligated to do everything in his power to protect the American people and this right is granted to him under the Constitution. Who are you more likely to agree with those who say that the president broke the law against wiretapping American citizens without a court order or the president who says the Constitution gives him the right to do whatever it takes to protect American citizens?

1. Those who say the president broke the law
2. The president
3. Neither/not sure


Our poll found that 51.3% believed Bush broke the law and 41.9% felt the president was right. That's a reverse of what the New York Times poll found. I believe that the difference is in the questions and the information provided. With polls, you have the power to influence the response. You can give more or less information. You can cherry pick the information.

For example, we asked questions about the Alito appointment. By a small margin, 47.5 tl 46.3 Pennsylvanians oppose the appointment of Alito, in spite of the gung ho attitude of Arlen Specter and Rick Santorum, our senators. The poeple who have the most to lose with an Alito appointment, the 18-24 year olds who will face 30 or more years of right wing extremism are most opposed to his appointment, 57 to 31%, except for those over 70, who respond 58% to 38%. Not surprisingly, 66% of Catholics are supporting the appointment of the 5th Catholic to the Supreme Court. But 80% of Jews oppose his appointment. About 80% of Jews oppose most Republican policy, while 74% of Born agains are supporting Alito. 80% of African Americans oppose the Alito appointment. And here's an amazing statistic-- 65% of men and 32% of women support Alito. So much for women believing he's undecided on Roe v Wade. Another interesting group opposing Alito is the combination of divorced, widowed and separated individuals. They oppose alito 68% to 28%. Rural people support Alito 65 to 34%. It would have been interesting, with more time, to see how Alito has treated farmers, particularly small farmers. The Democrats should have polled these kinds of questions. I wonder. Did the Democrats do a poll on Alito. They should have had it running within days of the mention of the appointment of Alito. I'd really like to know. Did the DNC or the DSCC commission a poll to find out the strengths and vulnerabilities of an Alito candidacy? If they didn't, it's a huge failure of leadership. Then again, too many of the politicans think of polls for elections only.
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I thought about not reporting these findings. That would be the power of the press. For every poll, when you include all the demograph stats, even a poll of 20 questions will generate at least 100 pages of results. The mainstream media report a handful of them. I was invited on a talk show and they wanted me to pick the three or four hottest findings, out of probably 1000+ findings. I went on the show having barely looked at the demographics, which I now know is where the real gold is.

I'm not done with Alito. I mention the Alito findings because, as an Alito opponent, I think it may give Santorum and Specter pause to oppose the fillibuster when they realize their constituents don't want him. It's one thing to cast a yeah or nay, another to over-ride a filibuster. And further, if the filibuster is attempted, Pennsuylvanians have even stronger opinons on the right wing's "nuclear option" of legislating the filibuster out of existence.
55% to 39% Pennsylvanians, oppose the use of the nuclear option. Now, of course, if Santorum has asked a question on the nuclear option in his polling data, then he knows how his "base" feels about it. I"m not going to provide the numbers, but I will say that the usually steadfase Republican response is much weaker on this. People prefer a more conservative response. Going nuclear is not conservative.

I have no doubt that if there were a way to determine which party uses polls more, we'd find that Gallup and most of the biggest polling operations get far more business from the right wing. Gallup does a huge, billion dollar business with corporations. We know where all the biggest pollsters bread is buttered. When that right winger comes in asking for a poll, they know how to edge the questions the way they want them to come out. When a huge corporate client mentions that a low on funds right wing candidate could use a good poll, Iimagine it's not too difficult to pad a bill on the corporate side of the balance sheet while handing the underfunded candidate a poll for a bargain.

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Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind. Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives one person at a time was too slow, he founded Opednews.com-- which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big) to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet and the Psychopathy Defense and Optimization Project.

Rob Kall Wikipedia Page

Rob Kall's Bottom Up Radio Show: Over 200 podcasts are archived for downloading here, or can be accessed from iTunes. Rob is also published regularly on the Huffingtonpost.com

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