This argument poses an obvious ethical dilemma for this blog. First, I would like to point out that I am not making a penny from making these projections: this blog is not monetized (as you can see, there are no ads), and because I am doing this anonymously, there is no prospect of a media outlet hiring me.
Nevertheless, as a producer of knowledge in my real job, I sympathize with pollsters' desire to protect their intellectual property. Therefore, going forward, my projections will only include polls satisfying both of these conditions:
1. the poll results have been publicly disclosed by the polling firm, a member of the polling firm, or a person/organization that directly obtained permission to disclose the results (such as a news outlet that commissioned the poll), and
2. it is not the case that every disclosure covered under #1 states that the use of the results for seat projections is prohibited.
For example, I will not be using:
- polling results that are behind a paywall and leaked (including regional results, even when the same poll's national results are public);
- results from a pollster that does not want their numbers fed into a projection model, if this is clearly indicated in ALL disclosures of poll results by the pollster or an authorized entity.
However, I will feel free to use:
- polling results that were put behind a paywall after being publicly disclosed;
- results that are disclosed (by the pollster or an authorized entity) without a mention that they should not be used in a projection model, even if other disclosures of that same poll carry such a mention (e.g. pollster says "don't use these," but their client news organization doesn't).
To show appreciation to pollsters that remain open to having their numbers used (which is still, fortunately, most of them), I will, for any poll used in the projection:
- refrain from giving the poll's top line numbers on this blog (except in rare cases where it is necessary for my commentary);
- link, as much as possible, either to the pollster's website or to the website of a news outlet having commissioned the poll (rather than directly to the PDF or to a third party source);
- avoid, to the best of my ability, providing commentary on that poll that overlaps a lot with the pollster's commentary on that poll. (I may still provide commentary on aspects the pollster is unlikely to comment on, such as how the poll compares with my polling average.)
I hope that these measures will encourage you, the reader, to visit the pollster or the commissioning news agency's website. If pollsters or their clients benefit from projection websites such as this one, they will be less inclined to restrict the use of their numbers or hide them behind a paywall.
Finally, from time to time, I will be removing from the