Huffington Post Acquires Pollster.com

The world of the new media entered a new phase today: The Huffington Post, one of the increasingly popular new media megasites, has now acquired Pollster.com – one of the most respected websites specializing in political polls. Here is the full text of the press release:

New York, NY (July 7, 2010) – The Huffington Post (“HuffPost”), a leading social news and opinion site, announces today the acquisition of Pollster.com, a nationally recognized site that does extensive analysis of polls and creates polling averages for political races. HuffPost’s latest acquisition enables the site to fully leverage and expand upon Pollster.com’s polling analysis and commentary to complement HuffPost’s political and election coverage. Mark Blumenthal, editor and publisher of Pollster.com, will be joining HuffPost as senior polling editor. Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, and Eric Hippeau, CEO of The Huffington Post, made the announcement.

“I’ve been a longtime critic of the accuracy of polls,” said Arianna Huffington, “and how they’re misused by the media, which continue to treat poll results as if Moses just brought them down from the mountaintop. So I’m delighted that we’re acquiring Pollster.com, and that Mark Blumenthal, who has been a pioneer in pointing out the limitations of polls, and a leading advocate of more transparency in polling, will be joining our team. By aggregating polls and using interactive charts, Pollster.com has increased the accuracy of the kind of polling data that has come to dominate the media’s election coverage. The site’s polling analysis will be a great addition to our political coverage — and will make it possible to pull back the curtain on how polls are conducted. I look forward to working with Mark and the Pollster.com team to help the public better understand polls, how they are created, their usefulness, and their limitations.”

Said Mark Blumenthal: “I’m excited to join HuffPost — a media powerhouse — and to be able to work with the site’s team to fully leverage Pollster.com’s analysis and interactive data tools. I strongly believe that to use polling data effectively, consumers need to understand its power as well as its limitations. We will continue to press for more openness in polling and a more enlightened use of survey data. HuffPost’s impressive audience and powerful platform will no doubt help us to achieve these goals.”

Said Eric Hippeau: “This is an exciting acquisition for HuffPost, as Pollster.com is an award-winning politics site renowned for its use of some of the best web tools around polls, combined with astute critiques and analysis. It’s Pollster’s unique combination of new media tools and a sharp editorial point of view that make it a perfect fit for us.”
Besides working with The Huffington Post’s politics team on the site’s political coverage, Mark Blumenthal will also work with the site’s editors and tech team developing new tools and interactive graphics that will help make HuffPost’s election coverage a must-click destination. Beyond politics, Blumenthal will spearhead issues-based polling analysis in collaboration with the editors of HuffPost’s non-political sections.

In 2008, Pollster.com provided automatically updating real-time data feeds to media partners including the National Journal, Slate, The Wall Street Journal, and USA Today. Time named Pollster.com one of the 50 Best Web Sites for 2009, and its founders received the Warren J. Mitofsky Innovator Award from the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) in 2007. Also joining HuffPost as part of the acquisition will be polling analyst Emily Swanson, who will be associate polling editor. Pollster.com co-founder and University of Wisconsin Professor Charles Franklin will continue to contribute blog posts and analysis.

PERSONAL NOTE: Finding solid polling data can be tricky for bloggers, writers, news organizations, and political websites as the Daily Kos recently found out. There are many polling-related sites but the four I most rely on when I want to look at polls are Gallup.com, Pollster.com and RealClearPolitics and Nate Silver’s FiveThiryEight. There are other good polling sites, and also some polling groups that seem politically anchored or less reliable (which means I can include them in a list of polling results but not do a separate post on them, by my standards).

Pollster.com has long been a solid place to find out polling data and also to look at wonderful graphics that show polling trends and polling results averages. Acquiring Pollster.com is yet another step in the Huffington Post’s further expansion from its original incarnation as a site with lots of celebrity blog posts to its evolution into one offering some solid, serious reporting, news gathering, news aggregating and political data.

UPDATE: The New York Time’s Media Decoder blog has weighed in on the big buy.