Former employees of the influential Republican pollster and strategist Frank Luntz say that his methods are a ‘scam’, according to a new report.
Three former Luntz employees, including Chris Ingram, a former senior vice president at the Luntz Research Company, spoke out about the pollster’s practices in interviews with Salon.
Ingram, who worked for Luntz from 1997 through the early 2000s, said that Luntz’s claim to deliver objective data is a ‘total shtick and a scam’ and called his methods ‘quite frankly bulls**t.’
Luntz is an influential GOP pollster and strategist, as well as close friend and roommate of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
Though he runs a Republican polling and communications company, in January declared that he no longer felt able to call himself a Republican.
In recent days, his focus group work has been featured on The Daily Show and the New York Times opinion section, and he makes regular appearances on MSNBC.
The clowns at MSNBC didn’t have a clue about how the focus groups or panels worked, or what Frank what was doing,’ Ingram told Salon.
‘The actions were basically contrived: He screened out anybody that isn’t going to give the viewers the opinion that Frank, on behalf of his client, is looking for. Somehow, he is able to bulls**t people,’ he added.
Ingram said that Luntz tried to manipulate his focus groups using ‘dial testing,’ in which participants turn knobs on a dial to indicate their reactions in real time.
‘Frank, when he would be hired by clients, whether they would be corporate or political, would sit in that room yelling, ‘Keep turning the dials! Keep turning the dials!” Ingram said.
He said that Luntz was mainly concerned with results that would yield more ‘compelling’ data for the client, rather than accuracy.
Two other former Luntz employees told Salon similar stories on the condition that they not be named. One called Luntz a ‘slimeball’ and remarked on his lavish lifestyle.
Another said that negative experiences working with Luntz were ‘widespread’ in Washington DC.
Luntz was recently the target of withering attacks earlier this month from Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who accused him of lobbying on behalf of ‘liberal’ causes.
Carlson said senior Republicans were disconnected from their supporters partly because they listen to ‘conventional liberals’ like Luntz, whom he accused of serving ‘left-wing corporations’.