by Andrew Stephens
Polls are used to determine the public’s opinion on many topics, but none are more prominent than in politics and no polling efforts is more manipulated than those that run political polls. Recently Rasmussen Reports released a poll stating that President Obama’s approval rating was at an astonishing 51%. For many Americans, this just does not add up to everyday conversation, so I decided it was time to take a closer look into Rasmussen Reports and it’s parent company, Pulse Onion, LLC to get to the bottom of some weighing questions such as;
- What company is behind the polling efforts?
- How are the polling subject selected?
- How are the polls presented?
- What investors have interests in the polling company?
This article will dig into the matrix of online properties that is Rasmussen Reports and figure out why such a result would be published and what bias may be involved to produce such a polling result.
What company is behind the polling efforts?
Perhaps the most important factor to consider when looking at poll results is who is financing and who is presenting the poll. In this case, the poll was introduced by a research company by the name of Pulse Onion Research, LLC on a front-end website called Rasmussen Reports. The parent company behind this effort is Wolters Kluwer and it’s CEO, Nancy McKinstry.
How are the polling subject selected?
According to the Pulse Onion website:
For surveys of all adults, the population targets are determined by census bureau data.
For political surveys, census bureau data provides a starting point and a series of screening questions are used to determine likely voters. The questions involve voting history, interest in the current campaign, and likely voting intentions.
How are the polls presented?
The way a poll is presented to an audience weighs heavily on their voting decisions. Polls that are difficult to comprehend, have a highly controversial subject matter, or that are not presented in an unbiased fashion cannot be trusted to produce authentic opinion.
Pulse Onion’s website presents their methodology as:
Pulse Opinion Research collects data for its survey research using an automated polling methodology. Automated polling systems use a single, digitally-recorded, voice to conduct the interview while traditional firms rely on phone banks, boiler rooms, and operator-assisted technology.
All survey questions are digitally recorded and fed to a calling program that determines question order, branching options, and other factors. Calls are placed to randomly-selected phone numbers through a process that insures appropriate geographic representation. Typically, calls are placed from 5 pm to 9 pm local time during the week. Saturday calls are made from 11 am to 6 pm local time and Sunday calls from 1 pm to 9 pm local time.
What investors have interests in the polling company?
This is where it gets interesting. After researching Wolters Kluwer a bit, it is apparent that this company serves the Financial Sector more than anything else. Supported by almost every major financial institution in the world, Wolters Klumer brings in a whopping 3.8 Billion pounds for their research efforts each year. The CEO of Wolters Kluwer, Nancy McKinstry is a Conneticut-born American who has a long history in the banking industry.
It would stand to reason that the polls generated by this firm will be biased and manipulated for the purpose of benefiting the profits of the banking giants. Trust at your own risk!