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NCPP Issues New Call for Disclosure

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October 2, 2009

In the wake of a recent controversy over the work of one polling firm, the National Council on Public Polls today issued a new call for full disclosure by all pollsters whose work is part of the public debate.

“When polling firms release the results of a survey, the pollster is asking the public to believe the poll is accurate, credible and worthy of consideration,” said Evans Witt, NCPP President. “Releasing the key information about a poll allows the public to make that judgment based on the facts. Failure to release the information deprives the public of the essential facts it needs and opens the door to questions about the poll’s validity.”

Recently, the American Association for Public Opinion Research rebuked Strategic Vision for refusing to release information about polls the firm conducted and released publicly in 2008.  The AAPOR action has led to critical commentary about Strategic Vision and a defense of its work by the company.

As is the case for all published polls, NCPP calls for full disclosure of the facts and data from the Strategic Vision’s work, as detailed in the three levels of NCPP guidelines. Piecemeal disclosure leaves
questions and allegations unanswered and unanswerable.

For more than 30 years, NCPP, a non-profit group of private, academic and publicly-owned polling organizations, has promoted transparency and accountability in the public discussion of polls in the United States with standards of disclosure.

NCPP has consistently called on all polling firms – and not just one involved in a particular dispute – to make basic disclosures of methods and data when they release polls to the public and even greater disclosures if asked. Failure to release the facts about a poll opens the door to serious allegations of misconduct such as have been made in the Strategic Vision controversy.

“In each and every discussion of public poll results, NCPP adds its voice to the call for full disclosure of the relevant information from the results,” Witt added. “A refusal to disclose can ignite the suspicion that there is something to hide.”

NCPP believes the principle of full disclosure should apply to all published polls, regardless of membership in NCPP. In joining the organization, members promise to abide by NCPP standards of disclosure. Strategic Vision is not a member of NCPP.