Will Murdoch’s WSJ End NBC Polling Partnership?

With this morning’s news that Rupert Murdoch has won his bid to buy Dow Jones and thus the Wall Street Journal, Elizabeth Wilner worries that we’ll soon see the end of a polling institution.

Competition being what it is, it’s hard to imagine that a Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal would be allowed to continue its nearly 20-year polling partnership with NBC News. Particularly when that partnership benefits business news channel CNBC, which Murdoch hopes to crush with a new, Journal-powered Fox business network.

She fears a return to the days before major media outlets financed independent polls and had to rely on data supplied by the parties. Mark Blumenthal says this prospect “is a sad one for those of us who value the best in political surveys.”

In full disclosure, my wife is the COO of Public Opinion Strategies, which has long conducted the NBC-WSJ polls along with Democratic-leaning Peter D. Hart Research Associates, so I’ve got an indirect financial interest in seeing that continue.

My guess is that Wilner is right. It wouldn’t make sense for Murdoch to work with a competitor. Further, from a sheer business standpoint, it makes sense for Murdoch to consolidate his polling expenditures so that Fox, WSJ, and his other American entities share the same data.

It would seem that the obvious choice would be to retain the Neil Newhouse-Peter Hart team and jettison Opinion Dynamics, which now handles Fox News polling. My personal bias notwithstanding, it simply makes sense to have their political polling done by people that leading candidates and the parties themselves rely on.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Ed says:

    I’m just wondering. As a conservative, aren’t you worried about the leading conservative News Channel, the two leading conservative Newspapers (WSJ and NY Post) and the leading (or at least a leading) conservative website (opinionjournal.com) all being controlled by a single corporate owner? I’m not speaking conspiratorially but just in terms of the ability to affect the discussion and direction of the conservative movement, doesn’t that amount of consolidation concern you?

  2. James Joyner says:

    aren’t you worried about the leading conservative News Channel, the two leading conservative Newspapers (WSJ and NY Post) and the leading (or at least a leading) conservative website (opinionjournal.com) all being controlled by a single corporate owner?

    Not really. Frankly, I seldom watch Fox News and hardly ever read either WSJ or the NYP and I suspect I’m not alone. There are simply too many sources out there for anyone to control the message.

  3. Sam says:

    It’s Murdoch, not Murdock. [Oops. Fixed. – ed.]

    I have read the WSJ for 28 years daily and hope my children pick up the habit as well as long as the paper remains a good one. If not, then so be it. If so, I will remain grateful. It is really that simple.

    Hearing the NYTimes and other media folks express concern for the integrity of WSJ is sort of like hearing one political party warn the other that they face political losses. It’s hardly a sincere warning.

  4. John Singer says:

    For all the crap that Jim Cramer gets, I bet he’s revelling in his win here. He’s been speculating on this outcome since May here

  5. Triumph says:

    My guess is that Wilner is right. It wouldn’t make sense for Murdoch to work with a competitor. Further, from a sheer business standpoint, it makes sense for Murdoch to consolidate his polling expenditures so that Fox, WSJ, and his other American entities share the same data.

    The Times this morning indicated that there are some news-sharing agreements in place between Dow and GE which must remain in force until 2010 (or thereabouts), so you dont have to worry.

    By 2010 the WSJ will as much of a joke as the News Corp’s other holdings that no one would take their polls seriously anyway.

  6. Jeff says:

    Im not concerned considering we on the left still have the NYT’s, Washington Post,Time, Newsweek, Vanity Fair, High Times, Rolling Stone, USA Today, Oprah, Google, YouTube, CNN, NBC, CBS, MSNBC. And of course Conan Obrian!

    What do they have ?

    Rush , Hannity, and FOX !

    Im not concerned at all.

  7. Jeff says:

    One would think NBC would cut ties with News Corp and the WSJ polls since they will not now reflect the outcome they prefer after the polling is Fair and Ballanced.