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April 24, 2006

CNN & ORC: The Real "Breaking News?"

Thanks to the loyal reader who alerted MP to this just released poll (story, full results) by CNN which puts the Bush job approval rating at yet another new low of only 32%. 

But wait, despite yet another "new low" story (or perhaps because of it), MP readers may be less interested in the results of the survey than organization that conducted it:  The Opinion Research Corporation (ORC).   Remember that CNN recently severed its long-time survey partnership with the Gallup Organization and USAToday.  Could ORC be the new partner and Gallup's replacement?   It sure looks that way.

One who knows tells MP that ORC is one of the original "big four" of American commercial polling firms, along with Gallup, Harris and Roper.   Like Roper, they have focused for most of their history on surveys conducted for corporate clients.  Their web site tells us that ORC is an international  "research and consulting firm," founded in 1938, with clients in "both the public and private sectors."   A Google News search turns up a sampling of some of their recent projects and clients.   

A warning to MP readers:  Be careful of making too much of the "new low" comparisons to other recent surveys, particularly the  most recent surveys conducted by Gallup and the now defunct CNN/USAToday/Gallup partnership.   CNN is still the sponsor, and while the wording may be the same, the pollster and calling centers are different.  As we have discussed previously (especially here and here), different polls can have different house effects that make for slightly but consistently different results.   See especially the posts on this topic by Charles Franklin and Robert Chung

On this point, note that in its PDF release, CNN appears to be separating the latest results from the "CNN/USAToday/Gallup Trends."

UPDATE (4/25):  As he notes in the comments, Charles Franklin has posted his own thoughts on the new CNN data collected by ORC as well as yet another update of his job approval graphic.   He also notes that the new CNN pdf release fails to include results for demographic items and makes the following point, with which I totally agree: 

EVERY reputable pollster should be willing to release the topline results for their ENTIRE survey, not just the items they include in their story. It is crucial for credibility and for more informed interpretation of the poll results. (I'm not talking about embargoing results for later stories which is fine-- the demographics don't fall under any embargo and should be released immediately.)

[Typos corrected]

Related Entries - Pollsters, President Bush

Posted by Mark Blumenthal on April 24, 2006 at 05:28 PM in Pollsters, President Bush | Permalink

Comments

Mark beat me to this. I've now posted some comments on the ORC "house effect", or rather our lack of a track record for comparison. I've also found one past party identification result which is rather different from most polls. See the discussion at

http://politicalarithmetik.blogspot.com/2006/04/bush-approval-in-cnn-at-32.html

I've also complained vigorously that CNN should be posting the demographic and party id information with their poll releases. Their current practice hides these results from readers. That is especially bad when changing pollsters because we are left with NO point of comparison at all. Their inclusion of past Gallup results creates an IMPLICATION that the results are comparable between Gallup and ORC, but when they hide their demographics they make it even harder to know if Gallup and ORC are at all comparable.

EVERY reputable pollster should be willing to release the topline results for their ENTIRE survey, not just the items they include in their story. It is crucial for credibility and for more informed interpretation of the poll results. (I'm not talking about embargoing results for later stories which is fine-- the demographics don't fall under any embargo and should be released immediately.)

Posted by: Charles Franklin | Apr 25, 2006 12:57:54 PM

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