Friday, March 05, 2010

Gazette Begins Influence Survey

We intercepted the following email sent out to an undisclosed number of people by Gazette Annapolis reporter Doug Tallman.

From: Politics []
Sent: Thursday, March 04, 2010 5:20 PM
To: Politics
Cc: Tallman, Douglas
Subject: The List: Your take on influence in Annapolis

It’s that time again.

Every four years, The Gazette takes a non-scientific measurement of influence in Annapolis — which lawmakers have it, and which don’t. We’ve asked lobbyists, a few reporters and the lawmakers themselves to rate which legislators are the best, and worst, at exercising power.

Enclosed, you’ll find a link to a Web-based survey that will allow you to anonymously rank and comment on legislators. Your responses will not be tracked. For the senators, there are two pages: One for you to rank the top 10 in influence and one for you to rank the bottom 10 in influence. For the delegates, there are also two pages: One for you to rank the top 20 in influence and one for you to rank the bottom 20 in influence. In each, you’ll be able to add a comment on why you chose the person.

For example, let’s say you’re really high on Senator Johnson. For the survey of most influential senators, you might say something like: “1, She really knows her stuff.” And let’s say you think Delegate Smith is a real dingus. For the survey of the least influential delegates, you might say: “1, Not sure how this guy got elected.” Got it?

Voting will be open through March 11. We look forward to publishing your results. The survey can be found here:

-Douglas Tallman

Annapolis Bureau Chief
Here's what the Gazette survey looks like:

This blog has done surveys of the Most Influential People in Montgomery County in both 2008 and 2009. We admit that this is a VERY imperfect process. Our methodology is to ask people whom we know are plugged in to give their honest opinions directly. Those opinions show up as off-the-record comments on the blog, but we know our sources and can vouch that all of them know what they are talking about even when they disagree. Furthermore, we disclose affiliation, geographic and demographic features of our respondents to get at the question of sample balance. What emerges is a genuine, but rough, picture of how politicians, staffers, activists, lobbyists, labor and business people and other insiders view the county. And if you don't believe our results, at least we explain how we got them.

The Gazette's survey appears to be open to anyone. After all, anyone who gets this email can go in, vote and leave comments without any assurance that they know anything about Annapolis. Trust us - lots of people have circulated this email and it has already gone WAY beyond its intended distribution list. If the email is to be believed, not even the Gazette reporters know who is filling the survey out. Robin Ficker could conceivably be completing it twenty times in a row!

And now that he has the Survey Monkey address, he is probably doing just that.