Net Neutrality Foes Rig Survey

Anyone that doesn’t have a flat EEG can recognize the deceipt built into this survey.

Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Verizon), is gleefully hawking a poll that claims that the public is opposed to Net Neutrality. The poll was conducted jointly by GOP pollsters, Public Opinion Strategies, and Dem lobbyists, Glover Park Group. This partnership has some touting this as a bipartisan effort, but the truth is that Glover Park has long been working with Verizon to push for passage of Stevens’ anti-Net legislation. Verizon paid $60,000 to commission this poll. Unfortunately, the false assertions of bipartisanship and the hidden corporate biases are the least of the problems with this survey.

The questions, and the manner in which they were posed, were transparently manipulative. You could not have produced a more predictable outcome if you had asked: “Which would you prefer, a pony or a poke in the eye with a sharp stick? See for yourself:

In your opinion, which of the following is the MOST important reason for your Senator to vote for this legislation?

Create state of the art communications networks to enhance public safety and improve government emergency response efforts in future. 23
Provide funding to help deploy broadband in rural and underserved communities, schools and libraries. 19
Streamlined process to deliver more choice and greater competition for new TV and video services. 16
Give Americans with disabilities the opportunity to participate more fully in the modern information economy. 13
Consumer bill of rights to guarantee full access to legal content on the Internet. 10

Note that only reasons to vote FOR the legislation are offered. This is important because the very next question asks:

“Based on what you know now, would you want the Senators from your State to vote for or against this legislation?”

Not surprisingly, 80% responded affirmatively. Since only 7% said that they had even heard of Net Neutrality, the question above was the only explanation most respondents were exposed to. They were never presented with reasons to oppose it.

The final question descends into hilarity:

Which of the following two items do you think is the most important to you:

Delivering the benefits of new TV and video choice so consumers will see increased competition and lower prices for cable TV. 66
Enhancing Internet neutrality by barring high speed internet providers from offering specialized services like faster speed and increased security for a fee. 19

There’s a revelation. People prefer the benefits of new TV and lower prices to banning faster service and security.

Anyone that doesn’t have a flat EEG can recognize the deceipt built into this survey. Obviously the results were not meant to persuade readers that the public is yearning to abandon Net Neutrality. Instead, the purpose was to inform legislators that 91% of their constituents had never heard of Net Neutrality and, if it was properly misrepresented, the legislators could safely vote to kill it. It’s shenanigans like these that have produced some other recent survey results: Only 25% in poll approve of U.S. Congress

The one bit of useful information in this poll is that there is still a lot of work to do to inform the public about this issue. We had better get to it before Stevens and the lobbyists poison the well.