Jay Solly of Marianas Consulting took exception to my piece Eve of distraction. In the interest of fairness, here is the complete text of his latest Press Release. (I removed the email address, simply because I didn't want to subject him to the spam he would get if it was published on the internet.)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: JAY SOLLY
November 19, 2009
Second Poll ‘Unnecessary’ In Light of CNMI’s Chilling Political Climate
Saipan—Upon inquiries from media outlets, Marianas Consulting announced today that no additional polling would be conducted in the CNMI leading up to the historic November 23rd gubernatorial run-off elections. The company made this decision in light of the CNMI Governor’s Office and the Covenant Party’s heightened and unparalleled energies expended the day before the November 7th General Election. Though the statistically sound poll disclosed its full methodology as thoroughly or even more so than the University of Guam’s poll published earlier that week, the Governor’s Covenant Party Chairman issued a specious press release in a classic case of “shoot the messenger” chiefly because their candidate was not prevailing. The three other candidates for Governor did not issue statements.
Further, the Governor’s Office openly engaged in eyebrow-raising back-and-forth with a private company and the account of events and depth of involvement leave more questions to be asked than were answered. Consequently, this company terminated an employee with a personal relationship to Marianas Consulting’s principal consultant the same day the poll was released. In media accounts it was acknowledged that they contacted the Governor’s Office to inform that the employee had been let go, a highly unusual action for what was a private and internal personnel matter. Even more curious, the Governor’s Covenant Party thought it appropriate to comment on this personnel issue, offering words of support for the supposed “hurt” caused, but in reality, adding insult to injury.
Principal Consultant, Jay Solly comments, “On a personal note, my family and I are grateful for the outpouring of support from the community. We love Saipan and the kindness and giving hearts exhibited. We look forward to staying and will continue working for the community. It is likely that there would have been no effort to silence, discredit, or intimidate if the numbers were in Covenant’s favor. Again, neither I, nor my company, was contracted by any campaign when this poll was conducted, but now I know with certainty for whom I will not work—the rank amateurism of the Covenant Party opposition research linking Marianas Consulting to an Ontario-based company that happens to share the name made me chuckle. Incidentally, I worked in Moscow in 2005, did they check with Vladimir Putin too?”
Marianas Consulting concedes that a run-off poll again employing random sampling in line with theories of probability would likely be informative and serve well the interests of the people, but as Mr. Solly adds, “even statistics with reported sampling error come under fire in this chilling political climate fostered to stifle dissent. This, coupled with the ‘spiral of silence’ effect—where voters are less likely to voice an opinion if they fear reprisal, job loss, or isolation from the existing political apparatus—make polling in the CNMI uniquely challenging.”
The CNMI-registered company iterates that the only polls that truly matter are election polls where the free exercise of choice is safeguarded.
About Marianas Consulting
Marianas Consulting is a strategy, government & public affairs consulting firm headquartered on the beautiful island of Saipan in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, headed by Mr. Jay Solly. Jay has over 12 years of professional experience in political communications, public relations, marketing, and government arenas at the territory, state, and national level. Mr. Solly has advised, managed and worked on 26 campaigns in 14 years.