From the Times Ledger:
A new poll from earlier this month shows City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) leading the pack for borough president, though its relevancy was questioned by the councilman’s competitors.
The poll was paid for by Resorts World Casino to get the city’s pulse on gambling in the borough, but the survey also questioned 300 likely Democratic voters in Queens in late January to see who they liked for beep.
The poll found Vallone held an 11-point lead over his competitors in the race: state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside), City Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans), Queens Director of Community Boards Barry Grodenchik, former Councilwoman Melinda Katz and Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst). The margin of error was 5.6 percent.
Vallone would garner 26 percent of the vote, according to the poll, with Katz netting 17 percent, Comrie 13 percent, Avella 12 percent and Peralta 7 percent. Grodenchik was not included in the poll and 28 percent of voters were undecided.
But Avella questioned why a casino group would go out of its way to include questions about the Queens borough president race in a marketing survey.
“You’re obviously trying to influence the election by releasing that information. One has to question if this was a backdoor approach for the candidate who the poll favors,” he said of the survey, conducted by Global Strategies, a national political consulting and public relations firm. “I don’t consider any poll they do reputable. I consider it geared for specific political clients.”
Peralta’s camp noted the margin of error, saying what the poll “essentially says is that back in January you had a five-way statistical dead heat.”
The poll did not rile Katz’s camp, according to spokesman George Artz.
“We are well-positioned and we have only just begun to campaign,” he said in a statement. “The poll itself is a very small sample, with a huge margin of error, put out by a gaming client. At this point, it really only demonstrates name recognition.”
Bottom line is that consulting and public relations firms don't do polls without getting paid to do so, and without being authorized to release the results. In polling, there's also such a thing as confidence interval, and a sample size of 300 falls way below what is needed to accurately gauge the feelings of the target population. With the poll's methodology not published, there's really no way to analyze the data. What parts of Queens were polled? How were the questions asked? Why was Barry Grodenchik left out when he announced his candidacy before Halloween? What we have here is a statistically insignificant survey published by a supposedly "independent, reputable" firm.