Update: Answered my own pondering from below. PPP is running a poll on the Neal-Hagan race (and I assume being paid for it, so it would be nice to know who the client is). So, my observation stands. It is, in my opinion, highly improper and unethical for a polling firm to engage in partisan commentary on its official blog. If these folks want to start their own blogs, under their own names and state their opinions, that's cool. But to criticize a candidate in a contest you are conducting a poll about on the company web site, pretty much destroys the value of your poll. It certainly makes me wonder about the accuracy of the poll, as it shows Hagan ahead of Neal by 11 points, whereas the SUSA poll from last week Had Neal ahead of Hagan by 3. SUSA, to my knowledge, doesn't offer critical comments on the subjects of its polls.
I caught this little tidbit on the blog for Public Policy Polling:
Jim Neal violated that axiom last week by putting out a press release that not only called on Kay Hagan to debate but also said that 'Chairwoman Hagan thinks this campaign is about calling in favors from high-dollar Capitol insiders to pay for carpet bombing the state with poll-tested political ads.'
If someone sent me an 'invitation' like that, it would go right in the recycling bin.
The post is written by Tom Jensen, who is PPP's communications director. While Mr. Jensen is certainly as free to offer his opinion about the race, as I, or any other citizen is, I have to question why the officer of a polling firm is doing so on the company's official blog? After all, a polling firm is about measuring people's opinion's on various matters, and it seems to violate the fundamentals to be offering your own opinion on political races.
I guess it would be OK if PPP has no intention of taking clients for the Neal-Hagan race, but if they have worked on such a poll, are conducting such a poll or plan on being paid to conduct such a poll in the future, this would be a serious ethical breach.
Perhaps some professional pollster can enlighten me?
Also, since when do polling companies have a say in debate formats?