The political world is framed by surveys and polling data. You’ll hear that Candidate X is up in the polls by X percent. Or Candidate Y’s lead is “within the margin of error.” These are terms that anyone following political news, even in the most superficial manner, is familiar with. Sometimes I think quantification is the American religion.
After last Thursday’s Fox News/Facebook debate, the one where Megan Kelly ended up “stealing the show,” and upstaging The Donald, a survey came out that made me sit up and take notice. Not because of the data, no, but given the source.
The oft-cited survey following the Kelly/Trump dustup has been the NBC/SurveyMonkey online survey. This particular tracking tool shows Trump leading the rest of the GOP field of 64 (it’s actually 17, right?) at 22 percent. Following the Trumpster are Bush and Walker at 10 percent. Rubio, one of the biggest flip-floppers on immigration, according to conservative firebrand, Ann Coulter, is tied with Ben Carson at 8 percent.
What I found interesting was that NBC, one of the Big Three networks, had opted to go with SurveyMonkey, a tool that every under-funded nonprofit I worked with used, any time we wanted to take the pulse on an issue we were working on, or wanted to survey a group of people we were collaborating with.
We used SurveyMonkey because we could take a simple poll, or gather more sophisticated market research in a user-friendly manner, usually by embedding a link in an email blast that we’d send out to a representative sample of people. The best part is for the information we were gathering, the tool was free.
I’m guessing that NBC News is using one of SurveyMonkey’s upgraded paid versions, likely their Gold or Platinum packages. Or perhaps SurveyMonkey has a customized function especially developed for the driveby media. But who knows, right? Given the competition coming from other sources for our news, maybe even might NBC is using free online tools and apps to get the job done.
Really. Do you trust anything that you see on the six o’clock news, or believe what other mainstream news sources tell you these days? I know I’m suspicious about any slants coming out from CBS, NBC, and ABC, as well as CNN, MSNBC, and any other cable news sources, not to mention the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal.
Thank God we have Facebook. We know that Zuckerberg would never lie to us.