NEWS24 September 2009

Strategic Vision chief vows legal action over AAPOR rap

North America

US— David Johnson, the CEO of pollster Strategic Vision, has vowed legal action against the American Association for Public Research after the professional body ruled the agency was in breach of its rules around survey methodology disclosure.

Speaking to Research, Johnson explained that his firm was not a member of AAPOR, and compared the association’s action to “being on a public golf course and being told by a private club that you don’t meet their dress standard”.

Johnson said he “disagreed completely” with the charge levied at his firm by AAPOR and vowed to take legal action against the association. He said the firm had supplied AAPOR with all the information it had requested on 19 June this year, and had electronic proof of what was sent.

Johnson believes a competitor is behind the original complaint to AAPOR, and wants to see the source of the action against his firm. “I find it unusual,” he said, “that an organisation that says they are all about transparency won’t supply us with details of the complaint. What they were asking for were trade secrets.”

He said: “We will be taking legal action.  We have spoken with our attorneys and have gotten them the documentation and should know exactly the venue and specific charges that we will be filing against AAPOR specifically and individual members of AAPOR personally.”

Johnson alleges that the AAPOR’s acted “maliciously” in issuing its ruling. “I think it was timed to coincide with the results of a poll we had out yesterday [on the gubernatorial elections in Georgia],” he said.

AAPOR president Peter Miller told Research that Johnson’s claim that a competitor was behind the original complaint to the association was “completely wrong”.

He said that Johnson’s email in June did not include all the information AAPOR requested and stressed that “scientists should be transparent and anybody who asks for information into results should be able to see it”.

Miller said he “has no axe to grind” with David Johnson, and that any legal action bought against the association would be “misguided”.