Poll Positioning

The Note flags down an interesting item that will definitely be of interest to some local folks. Beginning in January, Bloomberg News and the Los Angeles Times will partner up to conduct national public opinion polls. According to the Note, the LATimes’ Doyle McManus and Bloomberg’s Al Hunt were the brainchilds behind this collaboration and just recently got the thumbs up from Dean Baquet and Matt Winkler. Ron Brownstein will spearhead the poll reporting for the LATimes and Heidi Pryzbyla will have similar honors for Bloomberg.

These national public opinion polls are, in many ways, somewhat silly. Originally (in the pre-Internet days…anyone remember way back then?), they were an invaluable way to provide hometown readers with the national pulse. But with the Internet, readers don’t need to depend on their daily metro paper’s unique poll to figure out what the rest of the nation is thinking.

Still, they’ve become somewhat of an ego boost–albeit an expensive one (which is why news outlets always go VERY high with their polls when they are released: they have to justify the cost)–for the media: No one wants to be the last on the polling block (already occupied by CNN/USA Today/Gallup, FOX Opinion Dynamics RV, NBC/Wall Street Journal, Pew, AP-Ipsos, CBS, Newsweek, ABC/Washington Post, Time…) to have their own poll, which is why this announcement is a big deal for both the LATimes and Bloomberg, two news outlets perennially frustrated by always seeming to fall just short of hanging with the top, TOP players. Still, this is really just one more poll that, along with the myriad others, will probably just amount to yet another outlet telling us essentially the same thing as all the others (Point in case: Between six recent polls–CNN/USA Today/Gallup, FOX/Opinion Dynamics RV, Pew, NBC/Wall Street Journal, AP-Ipsos, and CBS–Bush’s approval rating only varied between 37-40 percent–well within the margin of error and they were taking days, even weeks apart, in some instances).

As the Note, er, notes, “The two news giants see the arrangement as a win-win: Bloomberg will benefit from getting to join a nationally-recognized survey; the Los Angeles Times will gain from the ability to conduct more national polls.”