Pollster John Zogby Hangs Up on Hugh Hewitt
Hugh Hewitt interviewed John Zogby about his much publicized–and much derided–poll of the attitudes of American troops in Iraq. Hewitt demolished the survey methodology and Zogby hung up in anger.
In his roundup, Hewitt concludes that Zogby is “a shameless self-promoting pretend pollster and that “You can trust John Zogby as much as this poll. Which means, not at all.” He points to Chris Mooney’s February 2003 piece in the liberal The American Prospect, “John Zogby’s Creative Polls,” as further evidence.
Radio Blogger has a full transcript and audio of the interview.
Mark Blumenthal has numerous posts on the poll. This one, in particular, sheds a lot of light on the methodology problems. It is also quite fair to Zogby, noting the incredible difficulty of polling troops in a combat zone and why some of the “creativity” might have been necessary.
Full diclosure: My wife is a VP at Public Opinion Strategies, which does survey research. They are not likely in direct competition with Zogby, however, since POS’ political clients are exclusively Republican. That said, while I have frequently defended Zogby’s work in the past (here, most recently)–and once considered him the best in the business based on a couple of noteworthy dead-on predictions–I am increasingly troubled that he seems to put out polls deliberately aimed at getting results favorable to his clients. That’s not what legitimate pollsters do.
Update: Blumenthal adds another post on this subject,
The survey did not involve a “random probability” sample of all American troops serving in Iraq.
The principle of random sampling is what makes a poll “scientific.” To meet that standard in this case, every member of the U.S. armed services in Iraq should have had some chance of being selected (or to put it statistical terms, the probability of selection had to be either equal or known for every member of the population). As I wrote yesterday, the constraints Zogby faced in gaining access to troops at “undisclosed locations throughout Iraq” made random selection of those locations impossible.
It is also unclear — both from information in the public domain and from what Zogby shared with me in confidence — whether his selection procedures amounted to random probability sampling even at the undisclosed locations.
Much more at the link. Suffice it to say this isn’t a “poll” at all in any meaningful sense.
- Zogby: 72 Percent of Troops Want Out of Iraq in 2006
Zogby Numbers Cooked for Clients?
Zogby: Americans Support Impeachment if Bush Lied about Iraq Intel
Zogby: Bush Got No Bounce from Iraq Speech
Zogby Poll: Election 2008 Do-Over
Tricks of the Polling Trade
I have mentioned Zogby’s polls dozens of times. Search the archives for more.