Why the Hotline FD Poll is so skewed towards Obama
A certain theme has been surging in my inbox: “Why does the Hotline poll seem so skewed towards Obama? Hey, aren’t you like some sort of research historian?”
Ok, I get it. I investigated the issue. Here is your answer:
Previous to these emails, I too had noticed Hotline’s strange results. Today, Gallup and Rasmussen have McCain up by 1 point, AP and battleground both have him up by 4. Hotline actually has McCain down 4 points. It gets even weirder when you look at specific issues. Rasmussen has McCain at 49% and Obama at 45% on who would better handle the economy. Hotline has McCain 36% and Obama at 47% for the same question. That’s a 13% difference on McCain’s numbers!
The Diageo/Hotline poll is sponsored by Diageo, a liquor company/lobbyist and Hotline (National Journal). The firm which which conducts the polling is Financial Dynamics. Financial Dynamics has several left-wing former journalists in its ranks and seems to contribute almost exclusively to Democrats (over $100,000 worth). This, in and of itself does not explain its skewing. No doubt there are liberals working for much more credible polls like Rasmussen and Gallup.
In 2005, Financial Dynamics acquired a PR firm currently known as Dittus Communications. Dittus’s purpose in Financial Dynamics is unchanged since before its inclusion: It PR’s for both corporate and political interests. The company’s mission statement:
In the summer of 1993, Gloria Dittus founded The Dittus Group, pursuing a vision of serving clients by melding her grassroots experience and her years in corporate communications and public relations. She envisioned a communications shop that was different from the rest – one that delivered policy victories as well as market conquests. She began solving corporate challenges by building integrated campaigns using a wide range of marketing communications practices and public affairs programming. Her first three clients, Alabama Power, Kraft Foods and the Business Software Alliance, found success through that philosophy, and are still clients today.
Gloria’s passion for the communications business stems from the satisfaction she gets from building strong, lasting relationships with clients. As her client list and her clients’ needs grew, so did her staff and its range of expertise.
Under her leadership, FD Dittus grew from a small crisis management shop into one of Washington, D.C.’s largest independent full-service public relations, marketing communications and issue advocacy agencies.
Today, FD Dittus serves national and international clients, with its primary focus on public affairs. We work daily with the journalists who cover the issues, the policy-makers who oversee industry and the thought leaders who influence the outcomes. FD Dittus is best known for delivering legislative and regulatory victories for clients on some of the most controversial issues facing the business community, ranging from obesity, terrorism insurance and media ownership to seatbeltsafety, homeland security and trade relations with China.
The company is still being operated (under Financial Dynamics) by its founder Gloria Dittus. If her donations are any indication, she does appear to lean left. She has given to more than twice as many Democratic campaigns than Republican, including Harry Reid, Hillary Clinton and Al Franken. On May 19th, 2008, she hosted a party for “Madame Speaker”, a book celebrating Nancy Pelosi – in her home.
Financial Dynamics is running a public opinion poll which gives us the impression that Obama is winning. They are simultaneously contracted by and contracting important Democrats who, incidentally, would also like for us to have the impression that Obama is winning. How ironic is it that these same Democrats are hiring Financial Dynamic’s Dittus Communications to help them influence public opinion? I’ll leave you with one more tidbit from the Dittus Communications website:
The quickest way to policy-makers’ hearts is through their backyards. Time and again, FD Dittus has demonstrated an uncanny gift for grassroots campaign management. We’re known for finding innovative ways to mobilize widespread support and sway important votes.
Innovative? Like skewing poll data?