Three weeks after KUSA 9News vice president Patti Dennis accused Colorado Media Matters of making the "false assumption" that 9News sponsored a SurveyUSA poll showing that Colorado Republican Sen. Wayne Allard had the lowest rating in the U.S. Senate, SurveyUSA released a new poll on Allard that again referred to KUSA as one of the poll's sponsors.
Three weeks after KUSA 9News vice president and news director Patti Dennis accused Colorado Media Matters of making the "false assumption" that 9News sponsored a July SurveyUSA poll showing Sen. Wayne Allard (R-CO) had the lowest approval rating in U.S. Senate, SurveyUSA released a new installment of the poll that once again referred to KUSA as one of the poll's "sponsors."
SurveyUSA's listing of KUSA as a "sponsor" of its August poll on approval ratings of Colorado's senators raises four possibilities:
- SurveyUSA incorrectly listed 9News as a sponsor of its July Senate approval ratings poll, but 9News subsequently sponsored the August version of the poll.
- 9News was a sponsor of neither Survey USA's July poll on Allard nor its August poll, but, despite complaining to Colorado Media Matters about being described as a sponsor, 9News failed to contact SurveyUSA to request that it be removed from SurveyUSA's list of sponsors between the publication dates of the two polls.
- 9News did ask to be removed from the list of sponsors between the publication dates of the two polls, but SurveyUSA failed to comply.
- 9News' statement that Colorado Media Matters made "a false assumption that '9News sponsored' [the July] poll" is untrue.
Colorado Media Matters noted on July 26 that KUSA 9News failed to inform its viewers that SurveyUSA's July report on the "Approval Ratings for all 100 U.S. Senators" found that Allard's 36 percent rating was the lowest of any senator. The Colorado Media Matters item stated in its headline that "9News didn't report results of a poll it sponsored" and noted that SurveyUSA's website listed "KUSA-TV" as the poll's "media sponsor" for Colorado. Elsewhere on its website, SurveyUSA listed "KUSA-TV Denver" as one of the "sponsors" for the poll on Allard and stated, "You must credit SurveyUSA and the media sponsor if you broadcast, print, or cite these results in whole or part."
Responding by email to Colorado Media Matters' July 26 item, Dennis wrote on July 27, "You need to correct your story as it is based on a false assumption that '9News sponsored' this poll":
The information in your online story is incorrect. 9News did not sponsor or initiate a survey on Wayne Allard, nor did we ask for a survey on the Colorado Congressional representation. We have a contract with Survey USA that allows us to initiate a poll on various matters daily. Survey USA does national polls without requests from member stations that we routinely do not air. You need to correct your story as it is based on a false assumption that "9News sponsored" this poll.
In a second July 27 email to Colorado Media Matters, Dennis added:
The Survey USA website refers to us as "clients". Our contract with Survey USA requires we pay them an annual fee for public opinion polls that we initiate. To suggest that we are a "sponsor" is like saying we are a "sponsor" of the Associated Press and therefore must run every story they provide us. We don't. Neither does any media outlet who has a contract with the AP or Survey USA. Therefore, it is inaccurate to say we decided not to run it.
But despite Dennis's statement that "9News did not sponsor or initiate a survey on Wayne Allard" and her allegation that Colorado Media Matters' item was "incorrect," the latest edition of SurveyUSA's "Approval Ratings for all 100 U.S. Senators"-- released August 17 -- again listed "KUSA-TV" as the "media sponsor" of the SurveyUSA poll on Allard's approval ratings. And, once again, SurveyUSA listed "KOB-TV Albuquerque" and "KUSA-TV Denver" as "sponsors" of the poll on Allard's approval rating.
The August SurveyUSA poll found that Allard ranked 92nd among U.S. senators with a 43 percent approval rating. SurveyUSA found that Allard's "net" approval rating of -1 percent (his 43 percent approval rating minus his 44 percent disapproval rating) also ranked 92nd.
The August SurveyUSA poll found that Sen. Ken Salazar (D-CO) had an approval rating of 56 percent and a disapproval rating of 36 percent, ranking 40th in approval rating (56 percent) and 43rd in net job approval rating (20 percent).