By Mark Wachtler
February 3, 2014. Florida. (ONN) They know they do it. We know they do it. And they know we know they do it. Political survey takers, polling firms and media outlets continue to not only report the news, but make the news. And instead of carrying out honest voter polls, they’re influencing and changing election outcomes. Public Policy Polling’s actions in Florida last week are the latest example.
Adrian Wyllie, 2014 Libertarian candidate for FL Governor. Image courtesy of LibertyCandidates.com.
Political quiz – What do the Republican and Democratic parties have in common with the media outlets that carry out most political polls? They’re owned and financed by the same multi-national corporations that admittedly have only one priority - maximizing profits any way they can. And independents and opposition parties are bad for corporate profits.
Left out of the polls
Anyone who’s been reading this publication for a couple years knows that ballot access is one of the methods by which the ‘powers that be’ stay the ‘powers that be’. If you can’t get on the ballot, you can’t stop the corruption and change things for the better. By the same token, if a candidate isn’t included in the election polls, they can’t poll anything but 0. That’s how the Wall Street-owned mainstream media corporations have affected America’s elections for decades.
The same goes for candidate debates. Debate sponsors and organizers like ABC, CNN and the League of Women Voters always say that only candidates polling higher than 5%, 10% or 15% are allowed to participate in the all-important televised debates. But it’s impossible to poll anything other than zero if you’re not included in the polls to begin with. That’s the case once again, this time in the 2014 Florida Governor’s race and the polls carried out by Public Policy Polling.
The gloves are off for PPP
That was the headline of a call to action from Florida Libertarians a week ago. “The gloves are off for PPP. We took them at their word and stopped contacting them,” Libertarian2014.com, a Florida-based Libertarian news outlet quotes FL Libertarian Vice Chair Alexander Snitker saying, “Now they have the nerve to exclude him for doing exactly what they asked. Their rude answers to Libertarians, their exclusionary practices and their lies are inexcusable!”
According to the account from the Libertarian news site, ‘Back in October, Public Policy Polling released its poll on the 2014 Gubernatorial race. Adrian Wyllie, Libertarian candidate for Governor, was not included in that poll after polling in a St. PetePolls study at nearly 9%.’ While polling firms love to exclude independents and opposition party candidates, once a candidate consistently polls over 5% in other polls, the opposition candidate is often reluctantly included in the other surveys. Not this time.
The account details how volunteers for the Wyllie campaign, as well as Florida Libertarians, flooded Public Policy Polling’s phone system and social media pages with outraged complaints. In response, the polling firm Tweeted out a message to the activists that if they stopped complaining via email, phone and online posts, PPP would include Wyllie in their next poll. That next poll came out three months later on January 22, 2014. And contrary to their promise, Libertarian Gubernatorial candidate Adrian Wyllie was left out once again.
Polls as campaign weapons
Take one question from the PPP 1/22 poll as an example of how the firm is influencing the election in Florida. It suggests that even though 60% of Floridians consider themselves independents, not one of them will vote for anyone other than a Democrat or Republican this November. The survey question reads:
Q19: Generally speaking, if there was an election for Congress today, would you vote for the Democratic or Republican candidate from your district?
Not sure .................13%
The biggest problem is that even though Florida Libertarian candidates like Adrian Wyllie are polling 9% in other polls, they might now be excluded from televised debates. As explained by a variety of debate sponsors hundreds of times in the past, ‘If the candidate can’t even get to 5% in the polls, they don’t deserve a seat at the debates.’ But again, it’s impossible to poll 5% if you’re not included in the polls to begin with.
Illustrating why Public Policy Polling’s poll results are all but useless because of their obviously partisan actions, take another survey question from a little further down the exact same 1/22 PPP poll. The survey question reads:
Q23 If you are a Democrat, press 1. If a Republican, press 2. If you are an independent or identify with another party, press 3.
Democrat ................................................... 41%
Confirmed by their own poll results, a full one-quarter of the survey respondents were forced to choose an answer that wasn’t true, just as in Q19 above. 24% of the respondents won’t be voting for either the Democrats or the Republicans. But PPP will now promote the inaccurate result that they definitely will, or just haven’t decided which of the two establishment parties they’ll vote for yet. According to PPP, not one single voter will cast a ballot for an independent or opposition party candidate, even though their own poll shows that 24% will do just that.
Showing how the folks at PPP are using their polls as a campaign weapon, take the report written by Public Policy Polling that accompanied the release of their 1/22 survey results. “Republican voters have really rallied around Rick Scott over the last three months,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling, “His consolidating support from the party base explains most of his gain relative to Charlie Crist since the last time we polled.” That’s not from a news report. PPP quoted itself in the introduction of the poll results. One would think the survey takers would remain impartial. But PPP sure seems be campaigning hard for Republican Governor Rick Scott, as the above quote demonstrates.
Picking a fight with PPP
As reported by Libertarian2014.com, Florida Libertarians immediately contacted PPP to ask why they broke their promise of including Gubernatorial candidate Adrian Wyllie in their 1/22 poll. They were given the excuse that Wyllie didn’t have enough support to be included because nobody ever contacted PPP to request his inclusion in future polls.
“It is now time we contacted PPP and let them know we will not stand for this type of behavior from a company that claims to be ‘one of the two most accurate pollsters in the country’,” Florida Libertarian Vice Chair Alexander Snitker says in his appeal to independent and third party voters, “Call, email, Tweet, and post to PPP’s Facebook page to let them know that their intentional exclusion of the Libertarian Party candidate is unacceptable.”
The appeal, published at Libertarian2014.com, closes by including a number of avenues people can use to contact Public Policy Polling, including mail, email, phone, Twitter and Facebook.
A brief description of the Libertarian hopeful is detailed by the candidate’s campaign website, ‘Adrian Wyllie is a husband, father, small business owner, military veteran, radio personality, community leader and a third-generation Floridian. He is an honest, principled man who understands what his oath to defend the Constitution means. He proudly served his country in the 56th Air Defense Artillery and the 53rd Infantry Brigade…He is known as an ardent defender of economic freedom, privacy rights, limited government, and individual liberty.’
For more information on Florida Libertarian candidate for Governor Adrian Wyllie, visit WyllieForGovernor.com. To see the 1/22 PPP survey results that omitted all independents and opposition party candidates, visit Public Policy Polling.
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