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Little Response to Stout "Poll"



Pat Stout, Vice President Horse Shows of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ & Exhibitors’ Association (TWHBEA) recently sent an unauthorized mailer that included a question regarding H.R. 1518 introduced by Congressman Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.).  Stout designed the piece in conjunction with Clant Seay to represent the mailer was done by TWHBEA.  TWHBEA has confirmed it had nothing to do with the mailer or polling of its membership.

Less than 25% of the membership responded to the mailer, its creation, mailing and return postage paid for by an anonymous donor according to Stout and Seay.  Of that response, 63% voted in favor of H.R. 1518 and 37% voted in opposition.   The legislation has been misrepresented since its inception and would eliminate over 83% of the current Tennessee Walking Show Horses.

The piece mailed by Stout was biased in its creation and design and didn’t include a valid poll.  “It is my professional opinion that this mailer is a flawed polling instrument and will not produce reliable and replicable results,” said Brian Gottlieb, Managing Director of Purple Insights.  “The mailer does not accurately describe the PAST Act and includes a biasing statement in its description of the Act, as well as imagery that could bias responses.  In biasing the description towards supporting the legislation, we would expect the mailer to overestimate the support for the PAST Act and under represent the opposition to the Act within the TWHBEA membership, said Gottlieb.”

Gottlieb concluded, “Additionally the mailer contains a picture of beautiful horses with the statement “Urgent! Your Vote is Needed!”  It implies that your vote will help the horses, again biasing the poll, which by definition needs to remain natural and unbiased to measure an accurate result.  This bias alone is enough to discredit the validity of this “poll.”

In addition to the bias, the results are also skewed by the statement issued by TWHBEA President Loyd Hall Black, Jr.  “This mailer was not sent out by TWHBEA or paid for by TWHBEA. In fact, TWHBEA makes no request or requirement that you answer this mailer or do anything whatsoever with the mailer, and you can certainly throw it away if you want,” said Black.  These statements by Black could also factor in the low response to the poll.

TWHBEA’s Enforcement Committee is currently considering disciplinary action for Stout.

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