Yay or Nay

— Someone's been out polling on the airport issue, paying a Houston, Texas, public opinion survey company an unknown amount of money to conduct an elaborate 30-minute telephonic question-and-answer session with likely voters about their position on what was expected to be next November's countywide advisory ballot on whether to move San Diego International Airport to Miramar. According to some who received the calls, many of the questions seemed skewed to elicit responses supporting the move, which is heavily favored by the Union-Tribune and the regional chamber of commerce.

Poll respondents who asked who was paying for the survey were referred to a website belonging to Voter Consumer Research, Inc., which boasts that "quality work contributes to winning agendas" but provides no information about the airport poll. Firm president Jan van Lohuizen is said to have worked for the company since 1977. "His area of expertise is in public policy and elections research," according to the site. "He has conducted opinion research for hundreds of political campaigns. His principal emphasis today is on surveys for initiative and referendum campaigns and opinion research on public policy issues. Clients include prominent elected officials, major U.S. corporations, industry associations, and think tanks." A company spokesman promised to call back with the name of the client who commissioned the airport poll, but never did.

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