Penn vs Greenberg

No polls this Sunday apparently, so here’s some articles to keep you busy.

British pollsters used to have an amusing habit of fighting like ferrets in a sack. They’ve calmed down of late, but over at www.pollster.com Mark Blumenthal is chronicling a wonderful spat between the two American pollsters that Tony Blair retained for the 2005 election campaign.

In short, Stan Greenberg was Blair’s pollster in the 1997 & 2001 elections, but in 2005 he was retained for some party polling, but largely surplanted at the heart of the campaign by Mark Penn, another US pollster. Greenberg has recently published a set of memoirs about his time working for Blair, Clinton and other world leaders, in which he slates Penn, describing his methods as “errant”, his message testing “biased” and “rigged” and “lacking transparency”. Penn, naturally, disputes all of this, and says he only appeared less than transparent to Greenberg, because Greenberg was out of the loop so wasn’t given access to the full data Blair, Philip Gould and so on received.

Greenberg then offers further detail here, claiming Penn didn’t use any political weighting right up until a month before the election, over-analysed data with a very small sample size and carried out message tests that Greenberg thinks were biased. Mark Penn replies again here essentially saying it’s all sour grapes from Greenberg because he got replaced. Without seeing Penn’s work, it’s obviously rather hard to know who to believe, but it is fun watching the squabble :)


2 Responses to “Penn vs Greenberg”

  1. I guess this is one of those – if you have nothing to say, the say nothing at all type moments? – When do we expect the next poll to be out? Do we think the lack of a poll at the weekend is linked to the reccession?

  2. The final paragraph by Blumenthal is one to clutch! Labour polled 22% in the European Elections of 2004, and went on to win the 2005 GE!