Friday, May 29, 2009

Going Polling - Are You Mad Yet?

In a blatant snub to the results of our recent poll that accompanied this post, the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) voted this week to further restrict the transparency of the USA Today Football Coaches Poll. USA Today has released the final regular season ballot for each voter for the last few years, after questions arose surrounding Texas making the Rose Bowl after the 2004 season. Since that change, there have been calls for each ballot to be released every week.

This weeks vote was to eliminate the release of any individual voter ballots, thereby revoking the change made after the 2004 season.

According to ESPN's Adam Rittenberg, "This is yet another move to shield the public from pertinent information in a sport that does so more than any other. Making the final votes public can prevent lobbying and adds to the responsibility these men have in participating in these polls."

The rationale given for closing the poll is that secrecy was a recommendation from an assessment of the overall poll made by the Gallup Poll. While secrecy makes sense for that organization, and most polling methods in general, often millions of dollars are not at stake based on the results of a Gallup Poll. Additionally, those surveyed for a typical Gallup Poll don't stand to benefit from the results of the poll they take, financially or otherwise. Those two distinct differences make the change to more secrecy disappointing, especially given that public opinion seemed to favor an increase in transparency.

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