A Siena poll released last week showed a huge (if narrowing) lead for incumbent comptroller Tom DiNapoli over Harry Wilson. The polls raised a lot of eyebrows since people in both the Wilson and DiNapoli camps have been predicting a much closer race.
Now, the Wilson campaign has struck back a bit, launching a formal complaint to the American Association of Public Opinion Researchers about the poll’s methodology.
The campaign’s biggest gripe is that the poll asked 30 question before getting to a question about the comptroller’ race, including a question about whether or not respondents thought that Carl Paladino was a “loose cannon” and a question about the Tea Party.
“Suffice to say that by the time they get to the Comptroller’s ballot – question 31! – respondents have been pushed to the Democratic side this year, given the ambient political dynamic they focus them on, which will not influence voters nearly as much if at all when they actually go to vote for Comptroller,” writes Wilson campaign aide Jonathan Trichter in an email.
The race for comptroller he notes is second on the actual ballot on Nov. 2.
The Wilson campaign also says that the folks at Siena over-sampled New York City residents. The poll surveyed 34% from New York City, even though turnout in 2006–which, like this year, is a midterm election year–was less than 29% from the city. And, Trichter notes, turnout from the city will be even lighter this year.
He also faults Siena for failing to publish the demographic data of those they surveyed.
They have done a disservice to the political process and the open discussion of the 2010 elections with the release of this survey. They also have done a disservice to Siena and the research reputation of the college. We have lodged a formal complaint with the American Association of Public Opinion Researchers (AAPOR) for this and because Siena did not conform to AAPOR’s standards and prescribed best-practices, despite proudly claiming on their website that they do. Among internal campaign polls, this race is very tight. And with the endorsements and resources we are putting into the race now, we are confident the race is very different from where Siena has it. And we are confident it will end up very different than Siena shows.