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Trib Poll Shows Daley Numbers Down, But Not Much Else

By vouchey in News on May 23, 2005 6:45PM

Mayor Richard M. DaleyFor the second week in a row, the Chicago Tribune rolled out polling results showing a top Illinois pol with declining approval ratings. "Scandals chip away at Daley" was the headline, with "Mayor's approval rating lowest since election in '89" as the sub-head. The article, which was based on a poll conducted by Market Shares of 700 registered Chicago voters on May 16-18, showed a 53% job approval rating, the lowest since 1989, "less than half" want him to run again, and 39% want him to step aside for the next election.

As Chicagoist said last week about Gov. Blago's polling results, voter feelings for an incumbent tend to be harsher without the known flaws of a challenger. And in case you didn't know, 1989 was the first year Mayor Daley was elected. So despite his low approval rating, he still won the election.

Chicago Tribune LogoChicagoist has a beef with the Tribune's polling practices in general however, and some of the strong assumptions made by this article. First, as with last week's poll, the Tribune failed to make public its polling methodology, questions, or crosstabs. Readers don't get to see the whole story -- which we know Trib writers have, since they refer to it in dribs and drabs throughout their articles. The (hopefully unintended) result is that a poll that should act as a benchmark of describing public opinion, becomes just as suspect as candidate polling results released in a press release.

Second, without making these important details public, Tribune leds a poll describing declining approval ratings with the unsubstantiated headline, "Scandals chip away at Daley". Where's the proof of this? The closest they come to it is a statement that 57% of respondents felt Daley should be held responsible for the scandal. Yet, that did not seem to be the question the Trib wants to ask. How about directly asking if the scandals influence how you would vote in an upcoming mayoral election?

Early this morning Chicagoist sent an e-mail to the Trib reporters who wrote the Daley and Blagojevich poll stories asking for more complete methodology and polling reporting, and at 1:30pm we heard back. Rick Pearson, the Trib's Political Reporter tells us, "the Tribune does not release the crosstabs from its polling outside of what is being reported. This is a subject that we will be discussing in the near future."

Sounds like an editorial policy set above Mr. Pearson. So, to his bosses we say that we'd love to see the complete polls made public, like Associated Press does with its polls, or the Washington Post does with its poll results.

How about it, guys?