Brock McCleary spent two cycles at the National Republican Congressional Committee, and announced just two weeks ago that he’s leaving his position as polling director and deputy executive director to join the firm Long, Nyquist & Associates.
He is the man behind Harper Polling (named for his young daughter). He sees himself watching the issues of the day. Mike Long and Todd Nyquist are partners in the firm.
“I’m more interested in who’s winning the day from a messaging perspective,” he says, such as the impending fiscal cliff showdown. The firm will focus on policy organizations and issue groups. The firm will conduct head-to-head polls as well.
Interactive voice response (IVR) polling had a good year in 2012 with PPP at the vanguard. The North Carolina-based firm with a Democratic lean was rated most accurate in the nation by a Fordham University study in November.
That’s the approach McCleary and Harper Polling want to adopt. Of the top five pollsters, just one – Ipsos/Reuters – relied on traditional call operations.
IVR differs from traditional polling primarily because it uses a computer program and voice recognition software, not a live person, to interact with poll respondents. Because the calls are computer generated, polls can be conducted faster and at a fraction of the cost.
“I’m complimented by [the comparison to PPP],” McCleary said. “Their accuracy cannot be denied.”
Harper will rely on vendors to conduct the calls, but McCleary wants to grow his fledgling firm in other areas.
“There’s a lot that goes into this. Script-writing, data analysis, more.”
Would he like to see resumes from campaign operatives coming off of the 2012 cycle? “Yes,” he laughed.
He’ll also continue to consult for Long/Nyquist.
In a Politico article on the firm Wednesday, McCleary and others emphasized that IVR polling can’t replace the type of thorough polling conducted for candidates, typically to establish a baseline at the start of a campaign. It does provide a cheaper option for tracking trends and public opinion on breaking news.
PPP pollster Tom Jensen told Politico, “There are times when a campaign or political organization really just needs to know the score or test one or two issues that have unexpectedly cropped up in a campaign. I’m glad we’ve been able to provide that kind of shorter, faster, less expensive polling on the Democratic side,” he said. “Heck, we’ve had a lot of Republicans try to hire us over the years, so I know that the demand is there.”