Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Poll Axed

We have never seen, as we have with Doug Schoen's Wall-Mart poll, such furor-and news coverage-of a privately commissioned and self-serving survey instrument. Crain's gushes over the poll that found-can you get more counter-intuitive?-that NYC's small businesses have a death wish and want the Walmonster to come here and put them out of their misery: "New York City small business owners favor bringing Walmart to the five boroughs by a count of 62% to 27%, according to a survey released Monday by the retail giant."

What's next, a poll that finds that Mike Bloomberg supports neighborhood retailers over big box stores? This survey demonstrates clearly how far reaching the mayor's influence is-it can get the respected pollster to generate self serving, and incredible, pablum: "...the survey was conducted by noted Democratic pollster Doug Schoen. It randomly sampled 400 New York City small businesses with 50 employees or less and asked owners or senior executives whether they wanted Walmart to come to town. Support among small retailers was weakest, with 55% in favor versus 36% against."

Schoen should now quite this arduous data-based work and devote his full attention to works of fiction-he's made a good start with this comedic effort on behalf of Big Wally. Crain's also puts some credence on the fact that Schoen is a Democrat-although his Democratic bona fides might be questioned by some: "In selecting a prominent Democratic pollster, the Arkansas retail giant hoped to counter opponents who would, of course, argue that any poll funded by Walmart would be biased. Mr. Schoen, who has been in the polling business for 35 years, has done work for politicians ranging from Bill Clinton to Michael Bloomberg. “What Walmart said to me was ‘do an objective assessment of what small business thinks and let the chips fall as they may,'” he said. “There's a clear sense that it will create jobs, stimulate the economy, provide lower prices to consumers and be extremely beneficial to New York City.”

Now Dick Morris once polled for Clinton, but we wouldn't call him a die hard Democrat today-people evolve; and when you have Mike Bloomberg as your current client, well, chips just happen to fall in the right place, don't they? And Schoen, who once guest lectured at our Queens College poli sci class, missed his calling-Adam Sandler beware, this is one helluva comedian: "People say ‘Oh God, small business will be against Walmart because Walmart will drive them out of business,'” Mr. Schoen said. “It's pretty clear that small business wants Walmart and believes it will stimulate the economy.”

Right. Ask Arturo Payambs of Compare Supermarket in East NY-and fellow operator Anthony Espinal who owns an Associated store near Arturo's in this poor neighborhood. Or, perhaps Francis An who owns the Food Bazaar market on Flatlands Avenue and Joe Verderoso who operates a Key Food on Ralph Avenue. Better yet, survey the small retailers on Pitkin Avenue in Brownsville and you'll you'll have a better than 55%  chance of getting your ass kicked if you try to tell those folks that Wal-Mart's good for their business.

As we told Neil Cavuto on Fox News yesterday, Wal-Mart's record on small business devastation is hard to run away from. Every where the Walmonster has come, small businesses have suffered-particularly supermarkets that will become an endangered species if Wal-Mart proliferates around NYC.

So, once again, Bloomberg's legions produce concocted data that flies in the face of all rationality-bought and paid for, yet lapped up by, local media lap dogs as a message worthy of Sermon on the Mount stature. Can you think of any other privately commissioned survey-in the service of the most special of interests-that has been received with such disingenuous approbation? But the Bloombergistas are not proponents of fact based arguments-see Commissioner Farley on the evils of soda-and believe that lying is fine as long as it's for the greater good, narrowly conceived by they themselves.