Credit when it's due

I’d like to commend The Daily Kos for the handling of the discovery that the hired pollster, Research 2000 was apparently faking poll data for over a year.

It’s not easy admitting this big of an “oh shit”, but the way The Daily Kos has handled this has been exemplary and should be a textbook example for how to handle these things. Full, up front honesty with no coverup.

I have just published a report by three statistics wizards showing, quite convincingly, that the weekly Research 2000 State of the Nation poll we ran the past year and a half was likely bunk.

Since the moment Mark Grebner, Michael Weissman, and Jonathan Weissman approached me, I took their concerns seriously and cooperated fully with their investigation. I also offered to run the results on Daily Kos provided that they 1) fully documented each claim in detail, 2) got that documentation peer reviewed by disinterested third parties, and 3) gave Research 2000 an opportunity to respond. By the end of last week, they had accomplished the first two items on that list. I held publication of the report until today, because I didn’t want to partake in a cliche Friday Bad News Dump. This is serious business, and I wasn’t going to bury it over a weekend.

The above links go into great detail of the discovery of the fraud.

While the investigation didn’t look at all of Research 2000 polling conducted for us, fact is I no longer have any confidence in any of it, and neither should anyone else. I ask that all poll tracking sites remove any Research 2000 polls commissioned by us from their databases. I hereby renounce any post we’ve written based exclusively on Research 2000 polling.

There is more on this from a stat geek point of view at Tech Dirt.

FYI, Don’t ever try to fake randomness. You will fail miserably.

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4 Responses to Credit when it's due

  1. I’m a embedded systems software guy that works on things that secure communications. We have a little saying.

    “Random numbers are too important to be left to chance.”

    What it boils down to is this. Just because you think your source is random, doesn’t make it so.

    Obviously they missed those days in their stats class. Probably never had any serious math at all. Who needs to know math and statistics. We’re just creating a polling site. We shouldn’t need it at all since we’ll just fake the data. Who would notice!?

    Serious kudos to the Daily Kos for just stepping right out with the info. Integrity once lost will never be regained. In their case they didn’t loose an ounce due to how they reacted.


  2. Lissa says:

    I’ll be watching with interest to see how this affects the release/sale of his book

  3. B Woodman says:

    . . . . . . all others pay cash.

  4. Kristopher says:

    This ain’t about integrity … it’s about not wanting to pay your bills.

    The first thing political polsters ask a client is “What results are you after?” If you want truth, you talk to a market researcher.

    Kos decided their results were all bad when the pollster started complaining about never getting paid for the work they did for them.

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