Probolsky Research gets work because they provide cover for decision makers


If you go to pollster Adam Probolsky’s web site you will find a listing of Probolsky Research services which includes the following bullet points:

“Move public opinion” and “provide cover for decision makers.”

In my October 26th post, relating to a survey of Mission Viejo creating its own school district, I referenced one of Adam’s remarks which reads in part “we found some numbers, all in our favor,…” all in our favor? I thought polls were to provide a snapshot of the true thoughts and opinions of those contacted. Larry, you didn’t just fall off the back  of a  turnip truck. Don’t be so naive.

Timing of polls is everything. Case in point.

According to the cover page, the Probolsky survey of 325 Mission Viejo voters was conducted between Aug 19th and Aug 23rd. Two weeks later, on Sept 8, 2009, the city attorney files a law suit against the SVUSD prior to city council discussion or approval. It is important to point out that the same RW&G City attorney, without council knowledge, retained the services of Probolsky Research to conduct this poll.

If the dates were reversed the survey could have included questions such as:

Are you aware of the city council action in filing a lawsuit against the Saddleback Valley Unified School District, SVUSD?

If so, do you support the lawsuit?

If so, do you oppose the lawsuit?

This group of questions should also include a projected cost of the potential litigation.

Would these questions have altered the survey outcome?  You bet they would!

Another nugget found in the Probolsky poll is question #5.Mi The majority of Mission Viejo students attend SVUSD schools which is the same district that created this knee jerk reaction caused by the SVUSD closure of O’Neill elementary school.

Question # 5 reads: “Now I have a list of names of several organizations that I am going to read. For each name, please tell me if you have heard of them and if you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of them. If you have no opinion or have not heard of them, just say so.”

The first name on the list is the Saddleback Valley Unified School District. The Probolsky results stated that 24.9% of those contacted responded “very favorable,” 34.8% said “somewhat favorable” while only 3.7% responded “very unfavorable” with 5.2%  answering “somewhat unfavorable.” The remainder had no opinion, unsure, never heard of or refused to respond.

To me this is a “slam dunk” of support yet that is not the “spin” as generated in our city managers newsletter.

About Larry Gilbert