I need some assistance on this one; perhaps somebody in the business of polling and/or political reporting can help out here.
What we have today is the Free Press, reporting sans byline, about a "poll" indicating a lack of support for Head Coach Rich Rodriguez. The story gets this snappy headline: "Poll asks Michigan voters to rate their feelings on Rich Rod."
Here's the lede:
Only 20% of Michigan voters who describe themselves as U-M fans have a favorable opinion of coach Rich Rodriguez, according to a recent survey by North Carolina-based Public Policy Polling. Also: 26% have an unfavorable opinion and 54% have no opinion one way or another.
Um, okay. So I Google "Public Policy Polling." I go to their website. As far as I can tell, it is two guys in an office in North Carolina, with an assistant. And they do telephone polls. And they are a lot of social/political kinds of things. And an odd number of them are (State of) Michigan-specific polls.
I e-mail them: "Who commissioned this poll? Are the complete results available anywhere?"
One of the guys responds: "No one commissioned the poll." And he gives me a link to the complete results. I submit the link, and the results, for, uh, your perusal, here:
So can anyone who is in that business explain? How does "Public Policy Polling" get paid? What is their angle? Any explanation for the odd mixture of party politics and college football? What is the deal? (Don't bother with the Free Press story; there's no explanatory information there at all.)
[EDIT. - Member "jedilow" points out below that Brian had made the same observation in a blog post, earlier. No one quite understands what was behind this poll, but it was not, apparently, a case of the Detroit Free Press 'creating' a poll for their sports pages. Indeed, Brian and a2.com were on it before the Free Press brought up the rear...]