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More on the CSI Anti-Nuke Poll

Both Greenr and Noblesse Oblige picked up on the Opinion Research Center's bogus poll that we looked at last week. And the anonymous author of Noblesse Oblige had some more questions to ask about the Civil Society Institute, the sponsor of the poll:
This "“institute"” in Boston is remarbly anonymous, and seems designed to be a pseudo-think-tank front to create desired polls and seemingly authoritative opinion hit-pieces. Visit the home page, see if you can figure out who funds this group, who their board is from their "“about" page. Yes, I know I am anonymous as well, but if you can'’t figure out where I stand, and that I am an individual from my "“about"” then you are not reading well.
Well, one of our researchers here at NEI did a little digging, and here's what they found out about CSI:
The Civil Society Institute:

Background: Founded in 1992 to focus on Boston-area community issues, including handgun control and educational opportunities. In 1996, the group received a $35 million endowment (anonymous donor) that has funded most of its work and permitted it to expand its mission on a national level.

CSI says it is "“100 percent independent of any organization with a financial, political, or agenda on climate change. CSI is not controlled directly or indirectly by any political party, advocacy organization, company promoting a certain technology or solution, labor union, or other group."”

Key interests: Empowering grassroots organizations and individuals by assisting with access to capital.

Investigating the relationship between biotechnology and disease.

Fostering innovative thinking on an institutional level (schools, shareholders, other policy groups).

Opposing policies and trends that lead to violence and suffering.

Key personnel: Pam Solo is the group'’s executive director and founder. She started her career as an anti-nuclear campaigner in the 1970s, founding Rocky Flats opposition groups and the Nuclear Weapons Facilities Task Force. She later served on the Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign and founded Freeze Voter.

In the 1980s, she was Representative Patricia Schroeder's (D-CO) campaign director, managing her short-lived presidential run. She also served as a staff member for the House Armed Services committee.

Solo has received a five-year MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. She is also the author of From Protest to Policy: Beyond the Freeze to Common Security.

Contributors: CERES, the Joyce Foundation, Marguerite Casey Foundation, McCormick Tribune Foundation, others
Hope that helps.

UPDATE: I think I ought to point out that instead of hiding when folks question her work, NEI's pollster, Ann Bisconti, takes the time to engage her critics.

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Anonymous said…
No question polls are funny things and clearly only a sampling.

One way approach to eliminating bias results is to bring in other surveys and pollsters.

That said, the CSI results are supported by at least one large pollster that doesnt have a dog in the fight so-to-speak being the ABC News-Washington Post survey conducted June 5, 2005 that found 64% of US citizens polled were opposed to new reactor construction, 34% supported new construction and only 2% were undecided. The 2006 poll was compared to the ABC/Post poll from June 2001 where new construction support was at 42% and oppposed by 52% with 6% undecided. By those accounts, opposition has grown.

The CSI poll merely confirms that the political bias of the current administration and congress hold no sway in shaping public opinion for and against new reactor construction.

Its certainly easier to argue that the public opinion and polling work of Bisconti Research, Inc. is at best clouded by the fact that Dr. Ann Stouffer Bisconti worked for the Nuclear Energy Institute for 13 years in support of the goals to expand the nuclear industry.
Anonymous said…
Hey Eric, Nick from greenr.

Good fact checking on CSI. I'm curious if you have the references to everything you listed. Seeing as NEI has already done the research, I'm loath to go digging about the internet on my own. :)

Email me at admin (at) greenr (dot) com

Anonymous said…
I find the complaints on this site about the Civil Society Institute intriguing.

The information provided shows that the group receives multiple sources of funding and is involved in a variety of issues. In fact, nothing cited contradicts the Institute’s claim that it is independent of any political party, advocacy organization, or company.

By contrast, consider the CASEnergy Coalition, which was mentioned approvingly in an earlier post. As a recent New York Times article made clear, this group depicts itself as a grassroots organization but it is, in fact, totally funded by the nuclear industry (viz., NEI). In other words, it is a textbook example of what “Noblesse Oblige” describes as “vested interests at work using a false-front public policy institute”, although Noblesse, predictably, does not realize that he is actually describing CASEneregy and not CSI. But, of course anyone who, like Noblesse, thinks that Duke and GE want to build nuclear plants for our children’s future, and not because it would benefit their shareholders, must be right at home in a world of false fronts, backs, and sides.
Eric McErlain said…
One critical difference: The link between NEI and CASEnergy has always been disclosed in stories in the media. The background of CSI, however, was purposely obscured.

Big difference.
Brian Mays said…
bert wrote:

But, of course anyone who, like Noblesse, thinks that Duke and GE want to build nuclear plants for our children's future, and not because it would benefit their shareholders ...

Why do you assume a priori that the two must be mutually exclusive?

... must be right at home in a world of false fronts, backs, and sides.

Bert, I really wish that you would stick to arguing the issues being discussed and cease these personal attacks. You have been really insulting on several occasions already, and it is not helping your arguments.
Anonymous said…
So what are the odds of the MacArthur Foundation giving me a five year grant to investigate the positive future role of nuclear power?

Frankly, writing such a proposal would be a waste of time.
Anonymous said…
It is interesting to see Mr. Mays, who recently criticized others for hypocrisy, calling for a cessation of personal attacks.

I object to many of the assertions proclaimed as “fact” on this site, or on the recommended links--"facts" which, upon investigation, turn out to be misleading or false--and I do not hesitate to say so. I suggest that Mr. Mays is being overly sensitive if he finds my remarks “really insulting”, but I suppose it is all in the eye of the beholder.
Brian Mays said…
bert wrote:

It is interesting to see Mr. Mays, who recently criticized others for hypocrisy, calling for a cessation of personal attacks.

I would have preferred that you would have answered my first question, since that would have been staying on topic, but if you must go down this road ...

My discussion of Al Gore and the producers of An Inconvenient Truth was entirely on topic and was, in fact, the whole point of the discussion. I don't see how pointing out discrepancies between someone's rhetoric and his actions is character assassination. Indeed, it is not as if I questioned the integrity or the motivations of these people -- I would be willing to concede that they truly believe that they are doing the right thing and are trying to "save the world." If I see, however, that they are not going about it the right way (e.g., making a "moral issue" out of the entire thing without themselves living up to the standard that they propose for everyone else), then I am going to call them on it. That's my whole point.

To read what you have written on this blog, however, one can only come to the conclusion that you are not afraid to express your opinion that anyone who does not agree with you 100% is either dumb, a liar, greedy, corporate slime, vulgar, "overly sensitive," a Republican (meant as an insult, of course), a lobotomized bastard, etc. You appear to have no problem with freely insulting the sources of quoted material on this site, your fellow readers who comment on this site, or Eric McErlain, the originator of the blog himself.

I suggest that, if you would stick to discussing the topic at hand and leave your little asides and snide remarks out of your comments, your message would be better received. You have some interesting points and some valid arguments, but right now, you're just coming off as a jerk. I don't think that you are a jerk, which is why I offer this friendly advice.
Anonymous said…
Mr. Mays,

Thank you for the friendly advice. It appears that my suggesting you are overly sensitive was a bit of an understatement.
Brian Mays said…
Mr. Bert,

It is no problem. It appears that my suggesting you are a jerk was a bit of an understatement as well. We all make mistakes.
Anonymous said…
Brian and Bert

Now play nicely boys. No need to get personal. Stick to the facts and don't let the testosterone influence your scientific assumptions and opinions. Perhaps this Blog needs some female influence...

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