A union—led war on Wal—Mart is underway. The company which has brought low prices and improved the lives of low income Americans is derided by supposed guardians of the common man and woman. The company which has revolutionized the distribution sector and propelled the American economy forward while our European comopetitors stagnate, is reviled as a predator.
Obviously, persuading Americans to look at Wal—Mart through the wrong end of the telescope is going to require some dodgy arguments. Last week, pollster John Zogby released a poll for anti—Wal—Mart group, showing that more than 50% of Americans were supposedly unhappy with Wal—Mart. Now, another surevey, from Pew, contradticts these findings.
'Nearly every American lives near enough a Wal—Mart to shop there, and 84 percent say they have done so in the past year,' the research group said. 'Praise for the retailer`s low prices, wide selection and convenience flow freely, and 81 percent of those with a Wal—Mart nearby say it is a good place to shop.'
Wal—Mart`s favorable rating places the retail chain just below McDonald`s and General Motors, and above pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, Pew said.
Researchers found Wal—Mart`s 'most faithful shoppers are found among those with annual incomes below $30,000, more than half of whom say they shop there regularly.'
Joel Mowbray writes in the Washington Times about some of pollster Zogby's other work which was left undisclosed when his earlier poll was released:
Perhaps because Mr. Zogby has such a sterling reputation —— which has enabled him to snare contracts with several top media outlets, including Reuters, NBC, and the Wall Street Journal —— his findings were reported largely unchallenged.
But what no journalist would have known without digging is that Mr. Zogby cannot be considered an objective third—party when it comes to Wal—Mart. Without the presumption that the pollster was working solely to gauge scientifically the attitudes of the public, the poll loses much of its luster and becomes just another cog in Big Labor's coordinated campaign against the retailer.
In recent years, Mr. Zogby has pocketed roughly $90,000 to serve as an expert witness for individuals suing Wal—Mart, according to testimony he gave in a deposition last year in an Arizona case. Nowhere is Mr. Zogby's prior work on behalf of plaintiffs mentioned in the press release announcing the poll results.
During a 45—minute phone interview for this column, Mr. Zogby willingly acknowledged when asked about his work on behalf of the various plaintiffs. He repeatedly requested that the column reflect his honesty, which shows that he understands the relevance of his past work.
Which raises the question: If he implicitly concedes that his testifying for people suing Wal—Mart is relevant, then why wasn't that disclosure in the announcement of the poll results?
Good question. From now on, severe skepticism is warranted when Zogby surveys are reported. As for the War on Wal—Mart, it is collapsing faster than Saddam's Republican Guard.
Hat tip: Ed Lasky
Thomas Lifson 12 16 05