by NW Spotlight
The Oregonian and Statesman Journal have articles on a recent poll on gun background checks. Both mention that the polling was done by Public Policy Polling. But both The Oregonian and the Statesman Journal neglected to reveal anything about Public Policy Polling.
Public Policy Polling is a controversial and flippant Democratic Pollster based in North Carolina that “polls only for Democratic and progressive campaigns and organizations.”
The link to the actual poll results in the Statesman Journal article goes to the Center for American Progress Action Fund web site.
The Center for American Progress (CAP) is described by The Nation as “Washington’s leading liberal think tank.” The Nation exposes political cronyism at CAP, and notes “CAP has emerged as perhaps the most influential of all think tanks during the Obama era, and there’s been a rapidly revolving door between it and the administration. CAP is also among the most secretive of all think tanks concerning its donors.”
The Nevada newspaper demonstrated more journalistic integrity, revealing that the polling had been done “by Public Policy Polling for the liberal groups, ProgressNow Nevada and the Center for American Progress Action Fund.”
Besides the very partisan nature of the polling, there are also the issues of how questions are worded, and whether polling is a valid replacement for the legislative process.
A competitor of Public Policy Polling noted “the wording of questions does have an influence on what opinions you find.” That sentiment was echoed by Oregon Firearms Federation Director Kevin Starrett in the Statesman Journal article. Starrett said “more people would oppose the idea if you asked them whether they would want to run a background check before selling a gun to a friend.” State Sen. Brian Boquist (R-Dallas) told the Statesman Journal he thought the wording of the questions was slanted, and he added “I’ve run multiple campaigns across Oregon, I can get poll results to say anything I want.”
Sen. Boquist also told the Statesman Journal “Good legislation is not based on polling, [The background check bill] is designed for politics.”
UPDATE: Public Policy Polling admits hiding unfavorable poll results (h/t Mike Chandler)