December 8, 2011
Bill Shapard

Remember the poll that said...

"All we're doing is giving the voters the right to make this decision," said Councilor Roscoe Turner, who spearheaded the council-city manager government proposal.

Rarely do pollsters ever want to look back themselves or have anyone bring up their pre-election poll results AFTER the election.

We do.

You might be able to come up with several reasons why it should be done, but we believe the most important one is ACCOUNTABILITY, which seldom exists in the public opinion polling industry.  Yes, we have a rather good track record with our pre-election poll results in comparison to election day and, given that fact, its probably easy for us to conduct this type of analysis.  However, we have even been wrong a few times and written about those as well.

But, what about the change of government election that occurred earlier this month in Tulsa?  Remember the poll results released by the Tulsa Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 93 that said 64% of Tulsans did not want a 'super mayor' form of government?  Or, another result from the same poll that said a slim majority supported a switch to a city manager form of government?

It turns out Mayor Dewey Bartlett was right and was not 'obviously out of touch' with the people of Tulsa as FOP political consultant Victor Ajlouny said in the Tulsa World.

Several other councilors also agreed with Ajlouny in the World, saying the poll results confirm what they are hearing from constituents. Would this be any of the seven of nine incumbent councilors who either decided not to run again or were thrown out on election day?

With their vote, Tulsans spoke up about who was 'obviously out of touch' and who was truly listening to their constituents.

Ajlouny told the World the FOP decided to conduct polling on the proposals because they involve important decisions for the public.  Sure, that's why the poll used words like 'super mayor' and 'super districts.'  Honestly, who in America anywhere wants a 'super mayor' or politicians from 'super districts?'

The truth is, the poll's sole objective was to create pure propaganda, not conduct legitimate public opinion research, and this is why post election analysis of pre-election results should be conducted.

A Tulsa World editorial published three days after the poll's release took issue with the poll's choice of words and questionable results and rightfully informed its readers of these issues.

In our opinion, polls like these put a dark cloud over the public opinion polling industry and incite skeptism of all polls in the minds of the public, and this a shame for all the legitimate public opinion research that is being conducted.  That's why we feel it is important not to let pre-election poll results go unforgotten just because the election has come and gone.

Knowing that we'll perform our own post-election analysis of our pre-election results along side those of other pollsters keeps us accountable to our objectives, our high standards, our industry, and the Oklahoma public.

So, how well did WE do on Tulsa's change of government questions?  Here it is.

Bill Shapard is the CEO of SoonerPoll

Bill Shapard
About the Author

Bill Shapard

Bill is the founder of SoonerPoll.com and ShapardResearch, a full service market research firm based in Oklahoma City. Bill began his career in polling after working on a major campaign in Oklahoma from 1996 until founding SoonerPoll in 2004.