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Financial Times, Lazard hide the ball on green energy poll

COMMENTARY | July 28, 2011

Standards for describing how polls are conducted have been around a long time and reporters and editors know not to trust pollsters who won’t release basic information. Thus, asks Remapping Debate, why should they trust the Financial Times and Lazard, since neither will answer routine questions to help the public assess their report?

By Craig Gurian

AAPOR, the American Association for Public Opinion Research, is a leading polling trade organization. Its Code of Professional Ethics and Practice states that “good professional practice imposes the obligation upon all survey and public opinion researchers to disclose certain essential information about how the research was conducted.” Information such as the sponsors of an opinion poll, the poll’s margin of sampling error, sample size and design, and the exact wording and order of questions should, according to AAPOR, be made available “immediately upon release” of a poll’s results. Consistent with this, polling organizations such as Pew and Gallup post their full questionnaires and tabulated results online, and news reports often provide this information either in the body of the story or in a sidebar or on request.

Those kind of standards don’t seem to have made an impression on the Financial Times (registration required) in connection with a story on the extent of public support for green energy development. The story was based on a poll sponsored by Lazard, a major international financial advisory and asset management firm, and said that U.S. voters cap their willingness to pay for renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, at $10 per month. “The results,” wrote the Financial Times, “suggest that higher-cost forms of alternative energy…are likely to come under growing political pressure.”

But how was willingness measured? Were respondents told, directly or indirectly, that the economic costs of developing green energy sources were permanently fixed at a high level, or that they would come down as those sources became more commercially viable and widely used? Were they asked about their willingness to pay the “invisible” economic costs of the pollution and climate change caused by fossil fuels? What choices were offered in terms of how much money people were willing to spend?

As described more fully in Remapping Debate’s reporting, neither the Financial Times nor Lazard would provide basic information on the poll: not even who conducted it, the margin of error, or the wording and order of questions related to the reported results.

In an interview with Remapping Debate, Scott Keeter — president of AAPOR and the director of survey research at the Pew Research Center — said, “Disclosure is critical to establishing a measure of trust,” adding: “More information about how the poll was conducted is going to be beneficial to you. It’s going to provide people with confidence that you aren’t hiding something from them, that you didn’t ask questions in the poll that you’re now suppressing, that you didn’t word the questions in a way that would tend to bias respondents toward one side of an issue or another, that you interviewed a fair, random sample of the public.”
Why won’t the Financial Times or Lazard put cards on the table? Click here for the Remapping Debate report.


Lazard needs to block renewable energy
Posted by Planck Brandt
08/05/2011, 08:14 PM

British Investors have always represented the largest group of foreign direct investors in the US. British investor groups (i.e. family offices) hold significant natural resources in USA and have for more than a century. They need to get that coal out of the ground, and so have had to play the blocking game to prevent capitalization and commercialization of renewable energies since the 1970s. We see the game they have to play. Murdoch empire of course biggest perpetrators of disinformation and information warfare against Americans. FT, Economist, all of them have to deliver the goods too! A bankrupt collapsed US state, like Congo, or Mexico, or wherever is absolutely essential to get that stuff out cheaply with no meddlesome labor movement, or state that can enforce environmental laws. Even Murdoch's son Lachlan now runs a mining conglomerate. A few more sit on the News Corp board. The Saudi and Brit Royals being some of the richest families in the world clearly own this stuff and need the profits for the next Disney generation!

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