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Monday, May 23, 2011
WND's Ethically Challenged Pollster Rails Against Bias Of (Other) Pollsters
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Fritz Wenzel penned a May 13 WorldNetDaily column with the headline "Shaping opinion by skewing the polls." Well, he would know.

As we've detailed, Wenzel is a pollster with an ethically challenged past who has  cranked out numerous polls for WND with questions skewed to generate a particular result its client was looking for.

Indeed, in the days before Wenzel wrote his column, he released results of WND polling that is demonstrably skewed. One poll on gay-related issues featured in a May 8 WND article included these questions:

  • Should American soldiers and sailors be required to bunk and shower with open homosexuals?
  • Should taxpayers be required – through Obamacare – to pay for transsexual 'sex-change' operations, that is, to pay for people's surgery to amputate and/or remake organs to resemble those of the opposite sex?
  • Many people complained about the recent male-on-male kiss on the primetime TV show 'Glee.' Do you think this negative reaction was based on an anti-gay prejudice or was it a healthy reaction against something unnatural and perverse?

Another Wenzel poll, featured in an April 26 WND article, included these skewed questions:

  • Do you believe elementary school children should be taught that homosexuality is a normal alternative lifestyle?
  • Is it appropriate to expose elementary school students to 'gay pride' and "Gay History Month' lessons that celebrate the lives of homosexual activists like Harvey Milk?"
  • Should students be taught how to perform gay sex acts as part of 'safe sex' lessons in school?"

Yet Wenzel did not confess to his own sins; rather, he endeavored to cast aspersions on others. He took offense to one Associated Press poll "in which Democratic respondents outnumbered Republican respondents by 17 percentage points!" He didn't note the explanation the AP provided:

The AP-GfK results were striking in that they found Obama with a higher approval rating than other recent polls that generally said he was in the low 50s. Polls often produce varying results because of differences in question wording and polling methodology. Also, during periods when public opinion about an issue is particularly volatile, and at times when the public is being presented with rapidly changing information, it is not uncommon to see wider variations across polls, even those conducted around the same time.
Some conservatives criticized the AP-GfK poll as heavy with responses from Democrats that skewed the results. AP-GfK polls use a consistent methodology that draws a random sample of the population independent of party identification. Such identification is not static and tends to fluctuate over time along with other political opinions. However, the change in party identification in the current AP-GfK current poll is not a statistically significant shift from the previous poll in March and could not by itself explain the poll findings.

Instead, Wenzel insisted that only "a sample of likely voters" offers accurate results on political matters because "barely half of registered voters cast ballots in presidential elections, about half of the sample of any registered voter survey includes the opinions of people who don't participate in elections. Who cares what they think about politics?"

He even complained that "There is noticeable skepticism on the political right that polling data is used by MSM outlets not just to report public opinion, but to shape it," even though that's exactly what he's doing with his WND polls.

Wenzel is not going to be skeptical about right-wing poll bias because creating biased right-wing polls is his job.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:44 AM EDT

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