by Sam Hieb
If you kept up with the news over the weekend, you noticed it didn’t take the N&R long to jump all over a poll commissioned by the Rhino Times showing a majority of voters support Sen. Trudy Wade’s bill restructuring the Greensboro City Council.
As for the polling firm, note how it describes itself: “Our team founded Revily, LLC to increase the probability of winning for Conservative Campaigns and Organizations.”
That’s what it was hired to do in this case: to increase the chances that SB 36 will pass by designing a poll to show public support for a proposal that in reality has drawn very little public support.
Rhino editor John Hammer responds:
The fact that the Rhino Times would use a pollster that often does polling for conservative causes, which the N&R also sees as problem, doesn’t seem to be much of a shock.
From a journalistic standpoint, in quoting a professor at Elon University – where former Editor of the News & Record John Robinson was in charge of doing the polling – the N&R might not have used the most unbiased source available. To the News & Record’s credit, at least they didn’t quote Robinson on his views of the Rhino Times’ poll.
A review of News & Record articles citing polls done by Elon University, which the N&R seems to really like, reveals that the N&R provides about the same amount of information about the polling results as the Rhino Times did.
It is also worth noting that the Elon polls that the News & Record quotes often have provided questionable results. According to a poll done by Elon University and reported in the News & Record, the majority of voters in North Carolina were in favor of same-sex marriage. However, when that same issue was actually put to a vote in North Carolina, over 61 percent cast votes in favor of a constitutional amendment to establish that, in North Carolina, only a marriage between one man and one woman would be legal.
Far as I’ve seen there’s been no Elon University poll on SB 36. Nor have I seen such scrutiny over a poll methodology. My advice –for those paying attention at least — is to simply conduct your own poll —when engaged in casual conversation at a cocktail party, hanging out at Fisher’s Grille or attending a Grasshoppers game — ask someone what they think of SB 36. My guess is the majority of people won’t even know about it or won’t give a crap.
Fair enough, apathy doesn’t make it right. By the same token, don’t believe what you read in the N&R, which has abandoned all semblance of journalistic objectivity on this issue. Hey here’s my polling on the issue— since the N&R started peddling its anti-SB 36 T-shirts I’ve seen exactly two people —an elderly couple — wearing them out in public. Take that information and do with it what you will.