[Press Release] Suit Calls for Quinnipiac to be Prohibited from Conducting Polls That Exclude Qualified Candidates
Attorneys for Erick Salgado, a candidate in the Democratic mayoral primary, filed suit today in Manhattan Supreme Court, seeking a temporary restraining order against Quinnipiac University Polling Institute (Quinnipiac) prohibiting them from “conducting and/or releasing any voter preference poll for the New York City Democratic mayoral primary which does not include all candidates qualified to participate (other than based upon voter preference polls) in the first primary election debate (sponsored by the NYC Campaign Finance Board).”
Quinnipiac has not included Salgado in the list of candidates their pollsters offer to those being polled.
The suit comes after Quinnipiac ignored a request from the Salgado campaign on June 28th to include his name in their poll. Despite the requests, Quinnipiac released a poll on July 29th that excluded Salgado.
“How can a person being polled who wants to vote for me indicate their preference if my name is not provided as an option? Another candidate who has repeatedly polled 100 percent below me is included. I have to ask what is Quinnipiac’s motivation?” Salgado stated.
Salgado was referring to the two most recent Marist polls that showed his support double that of opponent Sal Albanese, yet Quinnipiac included Albanese in their poll.
Salgado also cited the results of the New York Times/Siena poll released late last week showing him three hundred percent ahead of Albanese and closely behind John Liu. Additionally, New York City’s largest Spanish language newspaper El Diario La Prensa found that Salgado had raised $100,000 from Latino contributors, 20 percent ahead of his closest opponent.
Salgado’s suit states, “Quinnipiac holds itself out on its website to be ‘known for its exactness and thoroughness.’ By representing itself to be independent, non-profit and non-partisan, Quinnipiac actively seeks to engender reliance and public trust in its reporting…A broad spectrum of audiences rely on the representations of Quinnipiac that its reporting is accurate and unbiased. The New York City Campaign Finance Board, for example, has specified a certain minimum ranking in the Quinnipiac Poll, or the poll from Marist College, to be a qualifying criteria for admission to the official New York City candidate debates. For that particular method of qualifying for the New York City mayoral debate, the only polls considered to be authoritative are the Marist poll and Quinnipiac.”
The suit further states, “Quinnipiac’s choice to withhold Mr. Salgado and conduct a poll listing choices of only 6 of the 7 Democratic candidates defies logic and can only be characterized as arbitrary, at best. Quinnipiac’s exclusion of Mr. Salgado cannot be inadvertent, and strongly suggests a calculated decision to silence a significant part of the minority electorate.”
Salgado is the only Latino candidate in the race.
“Quinnipiac describes itself as the provider of timely and accurate polls, known for its exactness and thoroughness, I believe that the poll’s actions regarding the exclusion of my name serve to disprove those claims,” Salgado said.
The court papers allege that the defendants have a duty to provide accurate and correct voter preference polls to plaintiff and others and that, in this case, imparted the incorrect information. The statements were made with fault amounting to at least negligence.
The suit asks for no less than $1.5 million in damages, to be determined at trial.