HuffPost Editor-in-Chief Arianna Huffington wants to change the way readers experience polls.
In a move that’s surprising to some – considering her longstanding mistrust of polls — HuffPost is acquiring Pollster.com, a national site that extensively analyzes polls. She’s bringing on board Pollster.com’s Editor and Publisher Mark Blumenthal, who will work out of the Washington, D.C. offices.
Huffington spoke to FishbowlDC this morning by phone from a rainy and cold Aspen, Colo., where she’s attending the Aspen Institute’s Ideas Festival. “We are really excited to work with him and help the public’s understanding of polls,” said Huffington. “Polls dominate our political coverage so much.”
Huffington has long talked about the limitations of polls. “Mark had been a pioneer from inside the profession and demanding more transparency,” she said. “My view of polls is the way they’re being used in political debate has really often made it harder for people to understand what was happening. People don’t fully understand the margins of error, what’s often explained in small print.”
With this new venture, Huffington hopes to change all that and give readers something brand new. “We can take serious work and help the public understand what the polls can do and not do,” she said. “We can now do that ina serious way with someone who fully understands the medium and its limitations.”
Also joining HuffPost as part of the acquisition will be polling analyst Emily Swanson, who will be associate polling editor. Pollster.com co-founder and University of Wisconsin Professor Charles Franklin will continue to contribute blog posts and analysis.