Pollster.com’s Disclosure Project

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A worthy and particularly medium-appropriate blogger challenge from the folks at Pollster.com: The Disclosure Project.

Starting today we will begin to formally request answers to a limited but fundamental set of methodological questions for every public poll asking about the primary election released in, for now, a limited set of states: Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina or for the nation as a whole. We are starting today with requests emailed to the Iowa pollsters and will work our way through the other early states and national polls over the next few weeks, expanding to other states as our time and resources allow.

The questions will probably seem unbearably wonky to many, but the reason for wanting the answers is important: They’ll help reporters (and readers) better judge the accuracy and importance of these primary state polls. An example, that just happens to be a plug for Time: Our Iowa pollsscreen more aggressively for past caucus-goers than most, and Time’s — and ARG’s — transparency about its methods allowed Pollster to come up with a nifty bit of analysis: “John Edwards does better against Clinton as the percentage of past caucus goers increases.” The number crunching is useful; the fun part comes in trying to figure out why that is.

UPDATE: My typing is more remedial than usual today. Grammar cleaned up.