North Dakota is a small state. Small enough, in fact, that when a public opinion poll is in the field you may know someone who was on the receiving end of the survey. This holds true even if the sample size is 650 likely voters. That is what happened with the Strategic Research Associates L.L.C. (SRA) poll released this week. Their account raises many more questions about the validity of this poll and how it was handled by media in the state. People are right to be suspicious of the results.
First, who exactly is SRA? The firm has little to no public polling experience according to people who work in political polling industry. One pollster I talked to said they reached out to others in the industry following its publication and nobody they talked to was sure who the firm was. SRA doesn’t show up on pollster rating sites. They seem to lack credibility.
An odd discrepancy, Gray TV who owns NBC affiliates in North Dakota reported Strategic Research Associates L.L.C. is in Austin, TX. Yet, their website says their address is in Spokane, WA. Mike McFeely of Forum Communications noted the Washington address in his column also. Which is it?
As to the results, the participant who reached out to me indicated the poll was heavy on SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh. If that description is accurate, and I have no reason to doubt the individual, could it possibly have skewed the results? People are skeptical that the SCOTUS nomination is the most important issue for midterm voters in North Dakota. That’s what this poll would have you believe and it is the only one say so. If that result is skewed, how can anybody be certain the other results aren’t? One way to clear it all up would be for NBC affiliates in ND to release all the information they have on the poll. Full transparency.
Questions remain. How did this relatively unknown, reportedly inexperienced in polling, firm get commissioned by Gray TV and ultimately NBC affiliates in ND for opinion polling? Who connected the media outlet with them? Why did NBC affiliates not stick with Mason-Dixon who they’ve used in the past, including earlier this year, for polling? Without answers to those questions and full transparency in the administration of the poll, people are right to be highly skeptical.