It's a shame that the vast majority of pollsters work based on getting gigs from corporations and the two dinosaur parties on the right--- republicans and centrist democrats.. If there were a honest to goodness progressive polling organization, or possibly even if there were funds to pay the main polling organizations, things could be very different.
We've seen how a single payment for a poll on the impeachability of president Bush drew significant coverage, at least in the blogosphere. The mainstream media may not have covered as much as we would have liked, but I am sure that the legislators in DC paid attention.
Here in Pennsylvania, they keep polling for the coming Senate race for the seat now held by Rick Santorum. But they only poll to see how Santorum would do against the darling of the DLC insiders""Bob Casey, jr. They ignore grassroots candidate Chuck Pennacchio, even though in every blogosphere poll, Pennacchio has been able to win by recruiting more grassroots support. We know that Casey is polling 16 points higher than Santorum. Be we don't know how well Pennacchio would do against Santorum, or how he is looking against Casey. This is the biggest, most watched race that will be happening in the nation next year. Yet all the polling organizations are ignoring what could be a totally viable candidate who is the only one who supports women's rights to abortion and embryonic stem cell research. The pollsters are hurting the democratic process here and helping keep the whole race loaded to the right.
If the left had progressive pollsters, it would b so much easier to identify the best candidates to run against incumbent Republicans and sell-out centrist Democrats.
The costs may not be nearly as high as I've guessed. Recently, I've responded to several polls that came through email. I click on a link and go to a web site poll. This kind of technology is not rocket science, neither is coming up with names of people to poll. A few volunteer programmers could literally create a master program for building web-based polls and analyzing them. Some experts on polling could provide a few hours of volunteer time to help local candidates teams design and set up email generated polls.
Of course, building progressive pollster resources is one dimension of building a progressive political infrastructure.. Progressives need tools for communications, policy advocacy, echo chamber amplification, gumshoe detective research resources to dig up dirt and do opposition research, media facilities for spokespeople who appear on mainstream media shows, state, regional and national mailing lists, phone and email lists, position marketing for specific demographics. Progressives desperately need policy advocacy and promotion think tanks. I've been writing about this for several years now. We have a long, long way to go. But some of the pieces are falling into place.