Wayne Parke’s “Hired Gun” Poll Suspect By: Brad Linzy


Brad Linzy Wayne Parke’s “Hired Gun” Poll Suspect By: Brad Linzy.  Posted without opinion, bias or editing.

Over the weekend Vanderburgh County Republican Party Chairman Wayne Parke released a poll taken by Public Opinion Strategies [POS], a polling firm started by former Mitt Romney and John McCain campaign pollsters.

This poll appears to show that Mayor Lloyd Winnecke himself and his idea of converting the old Roberts Stadium lot into a park enjoy widespread and overwhelming support in Evansville.

What Mr Parke did not say was that this pollster has been accused in the past of engaging in many questionable and biased polling practices such as “push polling” and “hired gun” or “advocacy polling”. Hired gun polling is defined as “Polls commissioned and carried out to promote a particular point of view. Hired gun polls are associated with reckless disregard for objectivity. A synonym for the term hired gun poll is the term advocacy poll—although the hired gun metaphor connotes a much sleazier and less professional image.

Selective reporting of poll results is one mark of hired gun polls. Another is questions worded to reflect the positions of sponsors. Both practices blatantly violate accepted ethical standards in the polling field.”[1] In one well documented example of POS’s hired gun polling practices, the pollster helped the liberal Robert Wood Johnson Foundation produce a poll that appeared to show that Floridians overwhelmingly supported Medicaid expansion.[2] In this classic example POS posed the following question to participants: “In order to cover more uninsured adults, the federal government would cover all of the increased costs to expand health care coverage through Medicaid for the first three years. The federal government would then cover 90 percent of the increased costs permanently with the state of Florida paying 10 percent.

Knowing this, would you say the state should or should not accept the federal money to expand health care coverage through the Medicaid program to cover more uninsured adults?”” The question is posed in a way that makes it difficult for even Medicaid opponents to answer in the negative. This is just one example of POS using hired gun tactics to illicit a desired result.

In other instances, POS has produced internal hired gun polls for political campaigns whose results differ significantly from the scientific polls produced by other independent pollsters. Here is an example: in the 2012 New Mexico Senate race between Martin Heinrich (D) and Heather Wilson (R), the POS polling showed the eventual winner, Heinrich, to be actually losing by 1%. At the time, most other polls had the Democrat winning comfortably. He eventually won by about 5.7% – a comfortable margin – winning 51% of the vote. [3]

Based on the available evidence, without the benefit of seeing the actual questions used in the Parke commissioned poll, it is this author’s belief that this poll is biased, untrustworthy, and unfit for serious publication. POS isn’t a “polling” firm. It’s a PR firm. As its name suggests, they are in the “public opinion” business. They are hired guns who help their clients – in this case Wayne Parke and Lloyd Winnecke – by providing an illusion of inflated support.

1: http://cstl-cla.semo.edu/renka/Renka_papers/polls.htm#Ugly_Polls

2: http://mediatrackers.org/florida/2013/02/08/timesherald-champions-medicaid-push-poll-hides-activist-influence

3: http://www.nmtelegram.com/2012/10/29/wilson-internal-puts-her-up-in-senate-race/


  1. Excellent job Brad. Any legit poll I have seen (if any poll can be considered legit)includes the questions and data.

    A problem with modern politics is that it popularity is more important than issues.

  2. Wayne is fooling no one, except maybe Wayne and Lloyd.
    Btw, Brad “elicit”, NOT “illicit.” There’s a huge difference there.

    • Good catch. Stupid mistake. That’s what I get for typing out everything on an iPhone. The brain doesn’t work the same.

  3. It’s easy to get poll numbers you request, just poll a group of people until you find the 300 you need to get your margin or percentage and throw out the rest. If anyone believes that our mayor has a popularity rating in the 60%+ by polling 300 people when you can’t even get 50% of the population (eligible voters) to vote for him or anyone else you have some serious delusions about just who put him in office.

    But I have to give Mr Parke credit, he is doing his job supporting his candidate would we expect anything less of the local GOP party chairman? Mr Parke’s job is being a salesman and working very hard to sell us, granted his tactics are similar to a used car salesman trying to sell us a pinto or escort when we really want a truck, but his job is selling political figures or personalities with shiny paint jobs that he applies to give the persona that well polished look.


  4. Claiming a legitimate poll exists that shows a 60% approval rating for the mayor and refusing to back it up is not a good strategy for attracting viable candidates. It is also a poor way to engender good will among the electorate. The candidates the GOP should be interested in running ought to be ones who want to carry their positions forward with the truth.

    There is enough natural sleaziness in politics without having to try. Let the national politicians continue their race to the bottom. We can do better locally. It might be a while but if it happens it will start with truthfulness from the top. That could be triggered by a local party honch looking at the slate he’s fielded and seeing it headed by EarthCare, the person. The downticket races would all be contested by the equivalent of a Rev. Nixon. If the chairman’s reponse is resignation rather than claiming a poll attesting to his ticket’s popularity exists, perhaps then some sort of semi-meaningful political reform, peculiar to this area and our odd way of doing things, could begin.

    • You and I both know that 60% of the citizens of Evansville were not contacted, it really doesn’t matter what Wayne professes to be true because 300 people out of 100k is such a small sampling (less than 1%) as to mean absolutely nothing. But yet Wayne will throw out that 60% number over and over because it is his job to put a positive spin on anything to do with our current mayor.

  5. Thank you VERY much for this article Wayne. This whole series of events is bad enough, but for Wayne to come on here and dig himself a bigger hole by defending all of this is even worse.

    This poll reeks of desperation.

  6. If they are truly a public relations firm like Brad says, they aren’t even good at it themselves as their acronym shows. It sounds like their polling technique is just as rotten, too. Why would Wayne Parke want to associate with them in the first place?

  7. Who cares about polls taken 2 years into a 4 year term ?

    Let’s talk about REAL ISSUES: Last Friday, the drivers of the Monster Truck show at Fraud Center had to APOLOGIZE to the crowd (via microphone) that the FC was so small they couldn’t really put on their balls-to-the-walls regular show.

    What the hell ???

  8. This poll accurately reflects what Evansville voters think of the job done by Mayor Winnecke and his Administration.

    • This poll accurately reflects what ‘people, by choice of not ignoring the unknown phone number on caller ID and answering to say [hello?], voted yes positively to the poll of what (possible)’ Evansville voters think of the job done by Mayor Winnecke and his Administration.


      • kar:
        You are a real upfront guy. You post a negative/untrue comment and you do not use your real name. Now that is a good example of character!

        The poll was not fixed. You are not happy with the real results.

        • The letter of my screen name represent the letter of my first, middle and last name. An abbreviation, if you will.
          I do not owe you my real name.

          I said nothing about the poll being fixed.

          Your guilty conscious assumes I meant the poll was fixed.

          Trying to discredit me, doesn’t make you less of a douchebag though sorry.

          • Considering the crap I seen you spew, you’re one to talk about charterer.

            As I’ve seen in many of you posts though, when you’ve nothing useful, creditable or, worthwhile to say, you stick to the discrediting of the person who said something towards you and have zero else to say. Says a little about you as well…

            I’m certain you believe in yourself though so, I’m sure you sleep comfortably at night…

  9. Wayne,

    I think Brad made some valid points here. I believe further information about this poll is in order.



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