Introducing the Polling Project: Getting to the Bottom of the Polling Industry


Arianna Huffington has a simple question: “Are polls measuring the 2008 election or are they driving it?”

With that in mind, she’s launched the Polling Project, a attempt to shine a bright light on the polling industry and its effects on the American political discourse. “We want to get to the bottom of how pollsters conduct their surveys, how they gather and build their stats, how they target who they contact, and, ultimately, how they reach their conclusions,” says Arianna.

It’s a worthy endeavor in part because it gets beyond what you would find in a well-researched book on the subject, through the magic of citizen participation. If you’ve been contacted by a pollster, the Polling Project wants to hear about your experiences. All of the project’s cosponsors, which includes, in addition to Mother Jones, Talking Points Memo, Instapundit, Politico, and the Nation, are putting a button on their websites that direct you to this form.

If enough people participate, the project will be able to determine if midwesterners are being asked different questions than their coastal counterparts, if blacks and Hispanics hear questions no one else does, and if push polls are popping up around the country. Perhaps most importantly, we’ll find out if polls are creating buzz instead of just reporting it.

So if you get a call from a pollster, click the link on our left sidebar the next time you visit motherjones.com. Your name and contact info won’t be revealed. So help out if you can!

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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