NEW YORK, Jan. 13, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new study from iMediaEthics released today raises serious questions about pollsters using online surveys to measure public opinion.
David W. Moore, formerly of Gallup, and Andrew E. Smith, the Director of The University of New Hampshire's Survey Center, report the findings today on the iMediaEthics website.
GfK's web-based The KnowledgePanel™ is touted as the future of polling, because its web-based panels are obtained by using scientific means of sampling, unlike most online polls.
But the report by Moore and Smith, "GfK Web-Based Polls: Why Do AP, Pew, CBS, and Other Media Trust Them? A Recent GfK Poll Raises Doubts," suggests the GfK panel may not be as representative of the American public as was previously thought.
The report compares the results of two polls commissioned by iMediaEthics on whether the public supports banning trans fats in restaurants. The telephone poll conducted by PSRAI found an almost evenly divided public, similar to the results it obtained for Pew in October. The GfK poll, by contrast, showed a public that favored the ban by about a two-to-one margin.
Since the two polls commissioned by iMediaEthics were done at the same time, the large difference in results had to reflect the difference between GfK's web-based sample and PSRAI's phone sample.
Moore and Smith explain why the phone-based sample is likely to be the more accurate reflection of the American public.
The report includes a response from GfK and iMediaEthics.
David W. Moore is Polling Director for iMediaEthics and Senior Fellow with the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire. He is a former Vice President of the Gallup Organization and was a senior editor with the Gallup Poll for thirteen years. He is author of The Opinion Makers: An Insider Exposes the Truth Behind the Polls (Beacon, 2008; trade paperback edition, 2009). Publishers' Weekly refers to it as a "succinct and damning critique...Keen and witty throughout."
Andrew E. Smith is Associate Professor and Director of the Survey Center at the University of New Hampshire. He teaches in the Political Science Department and has published numerous scholarly articles on polling. He has also conducted numerous polls for the Boston Globe, USA Today, CNN, Fox News, several local television stations, and various state and local government agencies.
Moore and Smith are writing a book about the New Hampshire primary.
iMediaEthics is published by Art Science Research Laboratory, a not-for-profit co-founded by its director, Rhonda Roland Shearer, an artist, art historian and award winning journalist, and her late husband, Harvard professor and scientist Stephen Jay Gould. ASRL promotes the media's use of scientific methods and experts before publication.
iMediaEthics' national polls that fact check ("Poll Check") media polls are funded by the Golkin Foundation.