The Scripps Howard polls
The following is a letter I sent to Scripps Howard inquiring about their polls which I believe were bought and paid for. Their response or lack thereof will be interesting.
The next governor of Texas
December 27, 2001
<< Subj: Scripps Howard Electorate Polls In Texas
Date: 12/27/01 12:39:13 PM Central Standard Time
From: John WorldPeace
To: Scripps Howard via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Re: Scripps Howard Electorate Polls In Texas
John WorldPeace, Attorney at Law
2620 Fountainview, Suite 106
Houston, Texas 77057
1) I am a Democratic Candidate for Governor of Texas who declared on January 1, 2001.
2) This year there have been several political polls reported by some of the largest papers in Texas. The polls I am interest in have to do with the Texas governor's race and which have been attributed to Scripps Howard.
3) I believe that these Scripps Howard polls have been deliberately skewed in favor of my Democratic opponent Tony Sanchez. (See Below)
4) I would like to have the following questions answered regarding the three polls allegedly conducted by Scripps Howard this year.
a) Who decided to run these polls?
b) Who paid for these polls?
c) Who determined which questions would be asked?
d) Was the final report issued to all the news services?
e) Was the final report made public?
f) How can I acquire a copy of the final report?
h) How can I acquire a copy of the questions that were asked in the poll?
i) What was the purpose of running the poll?
I believe that people can run all the polls they want. But when these polls are made available to the press and published, I do not believe the supporting data remain private or confidential unless the press clearly identifies how the poll came into its possession and whether or not they ordered it or paid for it. Reporting who paid for the poll goes a long way toward informing the public about the reliability and independence of the poll. I believe there is a real problem when a newspaper publishes a poll (which it ordered and in which it determined the questions to be asked in an attempt to skew the results) with the intent to promote one candidate over another.
As you will see below regarding my questions about three polls conducted this year regarding the Texas governor's race, I believe that the Scripps Howard polls were simply a reflection of what the purchaser wanted to prove and not a reflection of what was actually going on with the voters in Texas at the time the polls were taken. In a word, I believe that it is possible that Scripps Howard conspired with the purchaser of the poll to present a false sense of where the public stood regarding the Texas gubernatorial candidates.
If my suspicions are validated, then it means the end of Scripps Howard credibility regarding polls. As an attorney, I am daily involved in getting to the truth of various matters. I believe a lack of candor in responding to my questions will be an indication that the polls were in fact deliberately skewed to meet the demands of the purchaser.
Time is of the essence in this matter as the Democratic Primary is only 75 days from now. I expect that this matter will be cleared up before any more Scripps Howard polls are released regarding the Texas governor's race.
QUESTIONS: regarding the three Texas gubernatorial polls. (The relevant articles are listed in part below. The polls were reported in papers other than the Houston Chonicle but I referred to the HC articles for consistency.)
Facts: In the first poll in May 2001, WorldPeace, Sanchez, Akins and Perry were included. At the time of this poll, WorldPeace was getting virtually no press and was making about 50 thousand political phone calls per day in Houston only. In the second poll in September which was interestingly released by the press on the same day that Sanchez announced his candidacy, WorldPeace was getting some statewide news coverage and had begun to make calls into Austin and Dallas. WorldPeace, Sanchez, Akins and Perry were reported in the September poll. In September, Akins dropped out of the governor's race. In the December poll, only Sanchez and Perry were reported. In the December poll, it appeared that WorldPeace's 17% against Perry's 53% in September had disappeared and in addition Sanchez and Perry had both lost 5% of the vote. The conclusion is that the September Akins and WorldPeace votes disappeared and 10% of the Perry Sanchez vote went undecided. There has been no negative press about WorldPeace between September and December and by the time that the December polling ended WorldPeace had made about 20 million calls statewide.
1) Why was the September 4 poll released the same day that Sanchez announced his candidacy for governor?
2) Why was WorldPeace left out of the December poll when his September showing was as strong against Perry as Sanchez's was in December?
3) How can both Perry and Sanchez drop 5% in the December poll when the questions presented to the voters suggest there are only two candidates.
4) How can the total Hispanic vote for the only two candidates drop from 78% in September to 56% in December?
5) Why did the May poll takes 7 days to publish, the September poll 8 days and the December poll 12 days?
The reality of the December poll is that there was another major influence that the poll ignored. Neither Perry nor Sanchez got a significant amount of negative press between September and December. Certainly nothing that would affect the Hispanic vote by 22%. Akins is a White Democrat and the reality of Texas politics is that the majority of his constituents would have gone to WorldPeace as opposed to Sanchez. They certainly did not disappear. In addition, WorldPeace's exposure in the press and his exposure via his telephone banks to the rest of Texas increased significantly between September and December.
Here is what the December poll would have shown if it had not been manipulated in the taking of the poll or skewed in the reporting of the results. In September, WorldPeace was at 17% to Perry 53%. Akins then dropped out of the race and WorldPeace should have picked up between 5 and 10 points over the September numbers. In addition, both Perry and Sanchez dropped 10% in the general vote and 22% of the Hispanic vote between September and December. WorldPeace should have picked up another 5 to 10 points here.
In a nutshell, had the poll not been manipulated it would have shown WorldPeace between 27% and 37% to Perry's 48%. When you take away the 36/25 Republican/Democrats bias in the sample, the margin between Perry and WorldPeace is even smaller. And WorldPeace would be significantly ahead of Sanchez; as much as two to one.
The December poll was conducted in November. In December both Perry and Sanchez have received significant negative press regarding their corruption. Therefore, a current poll should show Perry and WorldPeace virtually head to head when you consider the margin of error and WorldPeace should definitely be two to one ahead of Sanchez.
The bottom line is that I sense there is a conspiracy between Scripps Howard, Sanchez who is worth $2 billion and some of the press to negate WorldPeace's campaign in order to promote the corrupt Sanchez for governor. I believe the Scripps Howard poll has been presented as an independent poll when in fact it is a biased "paid for" poll.
Therefore, I am asking for the information that was released to the press regarding the three polls and I am asking to see the questions that were asked in the polls regarding the governor's race and I am asking who initiated the polls and who paid for the polls.
There is federal and state case law and statutes relating to equal press in a political campaign. An independent poll circumvents these statutes. A biased and fraudulent poll is another matter.
Please immdeiately acknowledge your receipt of this email. Please respond to its contents before January 4, 2001. Time is of the essence in this matter due to the nearness of the Democratic Primary. Until we can resolve this matter, I suggest that Scripps Howard proceed carefully in its release of any future polls regarding the governor's race. Credibility is a fragile thing.
The next governor of Texas
The Newspaper articles regarding the polls
Paper: Houston Chronicle
Date: WED 05/09/01
Poll finds Perry with commanding lead
By JOHN WILLIAMS, Houston Chronicle Political Writer
If the governor's race were held today, Texas Gov. Rick Perry would win easily, crushing three potential Democratic candidates who have little name recognition, according to the Texas Poll .
The poll of 862 registered voters was conducted for Scripps Howard from April 10 to May 1. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
When pitted against Sanchez , the current Democratic front-runner expected to announce his candidacy later this summer, Perry has a 55 percent to 17 percent lead.
Perry holds similar leads against Akins (56%/15%) and WorldPeace (55%/13%).
The poll shows Perry would get 39 percent of Hispanic voters, compared with 32 percent for Sanchez if the race were conducted now.
Sept. 4, 2001, 11:05PM
Democrat Sanchez starts bid for governor's office
By R.G. RATCLIFFE
Copyright 2001 Houston Chronicle Austin Bureau
And in a general election matchup with Republican Gov. Rick Perry, Sanchez's support among Hispanics is soft and shows little to forecast a victory for the Democrat.
In the general election, Perry would be the easy winner if it were held today, according to the Texas Poll.
Perry would defeat Sanchez 53 percent to 23 percent; Akins 52 percent to 19 percent; and WorldPeace 53 percent to 17 percent.
While Sanchez got support from 41 percent of the Hispanics surveyed, Perry got the support of 37 percent.
The Texas Poll was conducted Aug. 9-28 by the Scripps Howard Data Center. Random interviews were done with 1,000 adult Texans. The general election survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, while the Democratic primary survey had a margin of error of 5.8 points.
Dec. 8, 2001, 12:49AM
Poll: Victory in governor's race seems likely for Perry
Leads opponent now, but could be vulnerable later
By R.G. RATCLIFFE
Copyright 2001 Houston Chronicle Austin Bureau
When matched up against his likely Democratic opponent -- Laredo businessman Tony Sanchez -- Perry holds a 48 percent to 18 percent lead.
Perry's re-election support was above 50 percent in two previous Scripps Howard Texas Polls this year. Support for Perry and Sanchez has dropped by 5 percentage points each since the summer survey, corresponding with a 10-point increase in the undecided column.
The poll did not survey a matchup between Sanchez and his expected primary opponent, lawyer John WorldPeace of Houston.
A quarter of the respondents were Hispanic. Among that group, Sanchez held 31 percent support and Perry 25 percent. Perry held 57 percent support among Anglo voters.
The poll sample comprised 36 percent self-identified Republicans and 25 percent Democrats with the rest saying they were independent or belonged to another political party.
Poll Director Ty Meighan said the survey is random and not set up to favor one party over another. >>