As the allegations that polling firm Research 2000 produced bogus or flawed data continue to rock the political world, it’s worth taking a moment to look at the somewhat unorthodox background of the man behind R2K, Del Ali.
“I consider myself a political scientist,” Ali told TPMmuckraker in an interview today. “If you want to call me a statistical wiz, I am not.”
Ali’s academic history is primarily in recreation. He graduated from the University of Maryland with a BS in Recreation (Public Health) in 1983, according to a university spokesman. Records show he also got an MA in Recreation from Maryland in 1991.Ali says “there was quite a bit of statistics work” in that masters program, which he says focused on youth counseling. His thesis on “certified coaches having a significant effect on the self-esteem of adolescent youth” contained statistical analysis, he says. He also says he minored as an undergrad in political science.
Ali’s first employment in the polling world was at the firm Mason-Dixon, where he was a vice president from 1990 to 1998. He says he did sales there as well as “a lot of the stuff I do now.” In March 1999 Ali told the Hotline (via Nexis) he was launching Research 2000 because “it was time to move on and do other things and be his own boss.”
R2K’s address is listed on its website as a P.O. Box in Olney, Maryland, and it does not appear as incorporated on the state business records database. Ali tells us he incorporated with “self-proprietorship” in 2000.
Two months after that Hotline story, in May 1999, Ali was quoted for the first time as the president of R2K, in an AP story about an R2K poll on San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown. Since then, R2K has flourished, doing business with myriad state media organizations. Ali’s bio touts his appearance as an analyst in the biggest national media like the New York Times and USA Today.
In the past decade, though, Ali has struggled with financial problems and he has been the subject of multiple tax liens for not paying bills, Yahoo reported.
Ali is strongly denying Kos’ charges and he has threatened a countersuit.