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Polls and the "Credibility Scam"
5/9/2012 | Laz. A. Mataz

Posted on 05/09/2012 8:11:18 AM PDT by Lazamataz

Edited on 05/09/2012 8:20:22 AM PDT by Sidebar Moderator. [history]

Polls have many purposes. To the chattering political classes in Washington, D.C., they are purposed to get a gauge of public opinion. To the political operative, they are utilized to mold public opinion, by the infamous ‘push poll (in which campaign claims are imbedded in the poll questions themselves), or by portraying a candidate as more popular than they are, or even by painting a demographic as unreasonable or absurd (such as the PPP poll that was only run in the southern states that asked if interracial marriage was wrong, and if Obama was a Muslim). To the public, they are read and used, by some, to jump on the bandwagon of a winner -- after all, nobody likes to vote for a loser.

Many times, polls seem to contradict common sense: A grossly-unpopular politician appears to poll above a much more popular opponent. When these polls unfold, a look to the makeup of the sample is in order. Oftentimes, a poll that favors the Democrats by a certain percent, will have the Democrats oversampled by that exact same percent.

Yet, the polling organizations that are most egregious in the manipulation of their samples, to create a result they favor, will point to the polls just prior to the elections. "Why," they shrilly yell, "We were within 2 points of the actual election results! Thusly we are credible!"

And herein lies the scam.

Throughout the entire season preceding an election, a less-ethical and more-partisan polling organization can oversample Democrats or Republicans as much as they wish, and apply all sorts of statistical and mathmatical trickery. They can word their questions in a biased manner. They can try to set a tone for 'their candidate'. They can 'push poll'.

And then, when the election is a week, or less, away, they can revert to more honest polling techniques and samples.

And then they can falsely claim credibility, and misleadingly state how they were 'never partisan' and 'always fair'.

This may be the real reason that elections 'tighten up' at the end of every voting season.


TOPICS: FReeper Editorial
KEYWORDS: vanity
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1 posted on 05/09/2012 8:11:22 AM PDT by Lazamataz
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To: TheOldLady; Cyber Liberty; CatherineofAragon; Slings and Arrows; Responsibility2nd; doorgunner69; ..
The Official Lazamataz Sometimes-Funny--Sometimes-Disturbing Ping List

71 Satisfied Customers!TM

2 posted on 05/09/2012 8:14:04 AM PDT by Lazamataz (To the wall, street occupiers!!!!!)
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To: All; Admin Moderator

Please substitute the following for the mangled first paragraph. I must have screwed up in my word processor!

“Polls have many purposes. To the chattering political classes in Washington, D.C., they are purposed to get a gauge of public opinion. To the political operative, they are utilized to mold public opinion, by the infamous ‘push poll (in which campaign claims are imbedded in the poll questions themselves), or by portraying a candidate as more popular than they are, or even by painting a demographic as unreasonable or absurd”


3 posted on 05/09/2012 8:18:23 AM PDT by Lazamataz (To the wall, street occupiers!!!!!)
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To: Lazamataz

Welcome to the world of online publishing. Unless we have a fleet of editors backing us up, we’re doomed to err occasionally, and it’s exposed to all...


4 posted on 05/09/2012 8:22:46 AM PDT by bcsco
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To: bcsco

I know. It’s okay. Admin Mod will help me out. :)


5 posted on 05/09/2012 8:24:32 AM PDT by Lazamataz (To the wall, street occupiers!!!!!)
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To: Sidebar Moderator

Thank you Mister Sidebar. :)


6 posted on 05/09/2012 8:25:56 AM PDT by Lazamataz (To the wall, street occupiers!!!!!)
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To: Lazamataz

I didn’t know your brother Raz was an Ad Mod...


7 posted on 05/09/2012 8:29:09 AM PDT by bcsco
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To: bcsco

You shoulda known that already, Uncle Bcscomataz!


8 posted on 05/09/2012 8:31:26 AM PDT by Lazamataz (To the wall, street occupiers!!!!!)
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To: Lazamataz

You’re most welcome!


9 posted on 05/09/2012 8:33:01 AM PDT by Sidebar Moderator
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To: Lazamataz

I took a poll at my house and found that 100% of repondents don’t put much stock in polls.


10 posted on 05/09/2012 8:38:29 AM PDT by MileHi ( "It's coming down to patriots vs the politicians." - ovrtaxt)
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To: Lazamataz

You make good points about polling facts and fallacies. The other factor that plays in, is that the MSM then takes the poll results and reports them or does not report them, or emphasizes their potential inaccuracy or not, depending on the slant the media outlet chooses to employ. This adds to the likelihood that what the majority of the public hears about polls and their results is further skewed to support an agenda that is not the least bit “fair and accurate”.


11 posted on 05/09/2012 8:38:37 AM PDT by NEMDF
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To: NEMDF

Good points, about how the media plays the poll! It’s almost orchestral, how they play every instrument to create the song.


12 posted on 05/09/2012 8:41:06 AM PDT by Lazamataz (To the wall, street occupiers!!!!!)
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To: MileHi

I think you are oversampling MileHi by 100%. :)


13 posted on 05/09/2012 8:41:55 AM PDT by Lazamataz (To the wall, street occupiers!!!!!)
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To: Lazamataz

Laz,

I still think you are a ploptimist...

Birdie, birdie in the sky
Let a turdie in my eye
I’m a big boy, I won’t cry
Boy, I’m sure glad cows don’t fly...

(Cows don’t fly... Right!)


14 posted on 05/09/2012 8:43:12 AM PDT by Cyber Ninja
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To: Lazamataz

Please add me to your TOLSFSD ping list.

Are you claiming trademark to customers or satisfied customers?


15 posted on 05/09/2012 8:48:16 AM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: thackney
The trademark is the phrase.

Like the one I'm starting to use whenever anyone asks to be added.

"Another Satisfied CustomerTM!"

16 posted on 05/09/2012 8:50:12 AM PDT by Lazamataz (To the wall, street occupiers!!!!!)
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To: thackney

Oh, and yes you are added and thanks for the request!


17 posted on 05/09/2012 8:50:51 AM PDT by Lazamataz (To the wall, street occupiers!!!!!)
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To: Lazamataz

Here are some pole questions I’d like to ask liberls:

1. Do you favor hot poles are cold poles?
2. Do you favor straight poles or gay poles?
3. Do you favor wood poles or metal poles?
4. Do you prefer smoking poles or riding poles?
5. Should poles be banned in commercial tent structures?
6. Do you favor legislation that would tax poles based on size?


18 posted on 05/09/2012 8:56:27 AM PDT by Tenacious 1 (With regards to the GOP: I am prodisestablishmentarianistic!)
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To: Lazamataz

More liberal pole questions you never see:

1. Which do you believe to be true: Obama is 1) a Muslim or 2) a natural born Kenyan?

2. I believe Obama is: 1) Unqualified for the job or 2) Destroying America with his socialist policies

3. I believe the consitution is: 1) An old document that is outdated and irrelevant or 2) Does not have anything to do with how a president governs.


19 posted on 05/09/2012 9:01:54 AM PDT by Tenacious 1 (With regards to the GOP: I am prodisestablishmentarianistic!)
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To: Tenacious 1

THOSE ARE GREAT. LOL


20 posted on 05/09/2012 9:06:03 AM PDT by NEMDF
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To: Lazamataz

Thanks for the Ping!


21 posted on 05/09/2012 9:12:10 AM PDT by Steve Newton (And the Wolves will learn what we have shown before-We love our sheep we dogs of war. Vaughn)
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To: Tenacious 1

More liberal pole questions you never see: 1. Stan Weralowski wants to know what you have against Poles: (a) they have seen what socialism does to a population or (b) they hate the loss of freedom 2. Who hates the spelling of the word “Poll” as “pole”? ALL of us,


22 posted on 05/09/2012 9:16:12 AM PDT by Safetgiver (The predator class is upset because they are being shot.)
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To: Lazamataz

Make that 72, please.


23 posted on 05/09/2012 9:22:49 AM PDT by MHGinTN (Being deceived can be cured.)
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To: Lazamataz
I'm extremely cynical of polls. I think they only exist today to push conservative politicians and voters into moderate position.

It works like this: You wouldn't want to be a bigot would you why the latest poll shows that {black issue/ gay marriage issue/ whatever issue} is favored by 51% of the population. That up from 40% just a year ago, you too should reconsider your position.

Polls are the supreme temptation to make conservative politicians abandon their principles in favor of popularity.

24 posted on 05/09/2012 9:24:37 AM PDT by Idaho_Cowboy (Ride for the Brand. Joshua 24:15)
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To: Idaho_Cowboy
Polls are routinely gamed to try to craft public opinion. Anyone worth a lick of salt, in politics, already knows this.

The thing a lot of people might not be considering, though, is how they tighten up the methodology and accuracy just prior to an election, so that even the most gamed, rigged polls LOOK like they were credible.

This is what I mean by 'the Credibility Scam'.

25 posted on 05/09/2012 9:31:51 AM PDT by Lazamataz (To the wall, street occupiers!!!!!)
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To: MHGinTN
Make that 72, please.

Another Satisfied CustomerTM!

26 posted on 05/09/2012 9:33:00 AM PDT by Lazamataz (To the wall, street occupiers!!!!!)
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To: NEMDF
Or takes enough polls that some of them are going to be outside the ±3% with 95% confidence range and then focus on the outlier poll.

Which brings up a problem with calculating unemployment by polling (the Department of Labor's 60,000 household Current Population Survey specifically). That size of sample can only estimate unemployment to ±0.25% with a 95% confidence, but the press considers Obama an economic genius for a change of 0.1% in the unemployment rate.

27 posted on 05/09/2012 9:42:52 AM PDT by KarlInOhio (You only have three billion heartbeats in a lifetime.How many does the government claim as its own?)
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To: Lazamataz

“Poles are for telephone lines and phishing.”

~Para Sailin’~


28 posted on 05/09/2012 9:45:13 AM PDT by humblegunner
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To: Lazamataz

I think your points are very good, Mr. Mataz. I was naive and dumb as a rock in 2008 (still not TOO bright), hanging on every poll that came out. I don’t pay any attention to them now. Although, as you say, it pays to perk up as the election nears.

Such crooks.....


29 posted on 05/09/2012 9:48:29 AM PDT by CatherineofAragon (Time for a write-in campaign...Darryl Dixon for President)
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To: Lazamataz

Thank you for the ping to your brilliance! You’re helping folks to realize that democrat polls are not [cough] entirely on the up and up.


30 posted on 05/09/2012 9:59:33 AM PDT by TheOldLady
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To: TheOldLady
Thank you for the ping to your brilliance! You’re helping folks to realize that democrat polls are not [cough] entirely on the up and up.

Most everyone gets this already; what I'm hoping to deconstruct is the way these hopelessly biased polls try to correct themselves at the last minute, so their results and the actual election results are close enough for them to claim a false objectivity and accuracy.

31 posted on 05/09/2012 10:04:19 AM PDT by Lazamataz (To the wall, street occupiers!!!!!)
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Comment #32 Removed by Moderator

To: Lazamataz

I remember, years ago, how you alerted to us on Zogby’s Special Sauce. You even had a graphic to go with it. It was succinct and to the point. You should post it with your article!

They really haven’t changed much over the years, have they FRiend? You saw it then, and see it still today!


33 posted on 05/09/2012 11:21:19 AM PDT by Alas Babylon!
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To: Alas Babylon!

Of course, I was pretty unsophisticated back then. I see with much more clarity, now, the devious and underhanded way the pollsters work, and how the media plays the results like a clarinet in an orchestra.

34 posted on 05/09/2012 11:27:47 AM PDT by Lazamataz (To the wall, street occupiers!!!!!)
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To: Lazamataz
the PPP poll that was only run in the southern states that asked if interracial marriage was wrong, and if Obama was a Muslim.

The poll was run only in Mississippi and Alabama because those states' primaries were a couple of days away. The author weakens his valid overall point by overreaching to make things sinister.

35 posted on 05/09/2012 11:31:55 AM PDT by JustSayNoToNannies (A free society's default policy: it's none of government's business.)
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To: JustSayNoToNannies
Well, bearing in mind that I am citing another's work with that hyperlink: I still find it odd that these particular questions were asked.

Interracial marriage??? I mean, really? REALLY??

This poll was in 2010 or 2011... there's HOW MUCH problem with interracial marriage these days.....?

But let's ask that in the South, and see if we can tie the ignorant answers into the Obama is a Muslim meme, to discredit the South AND the meme.

I'm not buying that there was no sinister motive.

36 posted on 05/09/2012 11:36:14 AM PDT by Lazamataz (To the wall, street occupiers!!!!!)
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To: Tenacious 1
2. I believe Obama is: 1) Unqualified for the job or 2) Destroying America with his socialist policies

#2 needs an "all of the above" option.

37 posted on 05/09/2012 11:36:46 AM PDT by SCalGal (Friends don't let friends donate to H$U$ or PETA.)
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To: Lazamataz

Laz, you’ve gotten older and wiser, but don’t neglect the power your humor has either!

That was funny then, and it still makes me smile, especially when you post it in the comments of a Zogby poll!


38 posted on 05/09/2012 11:41:48 AM PDT by Alas Babylon!
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To: JustSayNoToNannies; wardaddy; nathanbedford

Just the same, I’d like to see the same questions asked in other areas of the country. From my personal experience, spending three years stationed in Massachusetts, I heard and saw more anti-black prejudice there than in Alabama of the same time period.

It’s not just the South that has idiots. But a poll asking for idiotic replies in the South because the Yankee poll takers believe Southerners are idiots will vindicate those poll takers every time. To get accurate results then, they’d have to ask the same questions elsewhere. Think of it as a control. For all I know, they did, and didn’t like the results, so didn’t publish them.

Now as far as being a Muslim... A small boy, raised in a Muslim country with a Muslim step-father, whose biological father was muslim, and he was named for that same father, might—just could be—a muslim. Why is that so far-fetched or even, dare I say, redneck?


39 posted on 05/09/2012 11:50:34 AM PDT by Alas Babylon!
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To: Lazamataz
Great insight on the "credibility scam."

Now, the West Virginia primary, where a convicted felon serving time in Texas garnered 40% of the vote in the closed Democrat primary? That's a poll worthy of attention.

Keith Judd, American Hero:

Not that the Kenyan stood much chance in WV anyway, but still....

40 posted on 05/09/2012 12:35:47 PM PDT by Madame Dufarge
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To: Lazamataz

Exactly. 90% of all statistics are totally made up.


41 posted on 05/09/2012 1:10:49 PM PDT by BuckeyeTexan (Man is not free unless government is limited. ~Ronald Reagan)
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To: Lazamataz

Don’t forget “Push Polling” which became popular during the Clinton administration. I had a Commander and Section Superintendent attempt to use it to convince the unit that they were happy where the unit was located.

It didn’t work.


42 posted on 05/09/2012 3:04:57 PM PDT by Rides_A_Red_Horse
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To: Lazamataz; InterceptPoint; randita
We looked at this in 2010 with InterceptPoint's and Randita's "Key House Races" website. They were forecasting House races based on six "expert" polling groups. I ran probabilistic analysis using the poll data and compared the results with the "expert" assessments of the same races.

One thing to note is that the House race polls were fewer because of how small the districts were and how many of them there were. I don't think the polls themselves were push, but the "experts" were slow to match what the polls were showing.

The following links show my weekly analysis of the House polls. Notice how quickly the polls themselves show a blowout by the GOP (9/11/10) vs. how long it took the experts to reach the same conclusions (10/9/10). Even when the "experts" caught up, they predicted fewer House wins than the people.

My analysis of the results indicated that the experts stayed on the fence much longer than the people, not giving the GOP the race wins until the last possible moment.

My opinion, not necessarily shared by by IP or Randita, was that the experts were intentionally holding back in order to keep the GOP from building up the wave for as long as possible. I likened it back to how the MSM in 2000 was calling states for Gore within minutes of a state closing, even though the race was within 1-2% and only a few precincts had reported, while they held back on calling a state for Bush for 30 minutes or more even though the race was > 5% difference and many precincts had reported.

Link to 2010 People Poll Summary.

Link to 2010 Expert Assessment Summary.

-PJ

43 posted on 05/09/2012 3:57:11 PM PDT by Political Junkie Too (If you can vote for President, then your children can run for President.)
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To: Lazamataz
I would only add to your article:

Polling organizations, Old Media organizations, and Political organizations intend for Polls to become the "Pavlov's dogs" stimulus for a dumbed-down public.

Implementing functionally fake polls (as you have already pointed out) coupled with a blaring headline that will drive fear, greed, confusion, etc. into the public consciousness is their method of constantly "training" the public to react to, and ingest, the blaring headline.

They know that a lie can travel a thousand miles while the truth is putting on its boots. Too many FReepers, just like the general public, react to the headline, just a planned.

Luckily, FR has some high quality individuals who can provide a quality analysis of the contents and methodology of the poll, thus informing FReepers. Unfortunately, the general public does not have access to that quality analysis, so the fear, greed, confusion, etc., headline is what they will remember and most likely accept.

I readily look for that analysis on threads about polls, and I recommend that other FReepers do the same. In fact, I wish that one of those good Poll analysts would start a ping list/contact point for Poll threads so that the analysis can/will be provided soon after the thread is posted.

The truth will puncture the Poll lies every time. And even if FReepers are the only ones to initially "get the facts behind the Poll headline", they can subsequently spread the information via their networks, and, in addition, the analysis becomes a permanent record on FR.

Enjoyed your article, thanks for posting it.

44 posted on 05/09/2012 3:58:34 PM PDT by Col Freeper (FR is a smorgasbord of Conservative thoughts and ideas - dig in and enjoy it to its fullest!)
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To: Political Junkie Too; Clintonfatigued

It’s interesting to revisit that exciting 2010 election season. What a ride that was and what a great outcome. Dick Morris, of all people, was one of the only pundits to see it coming and nobody paid heed to him because so often he’s been totally off base.

This year will be especially dicey for experts because so many districts have been redrawn so historical precedents are more complex to determine.

I don’t expect there to be a huge swing for the House either way. I think it will be pretty much a draw. Democrats may win back a few of the D leaning seats the GOP took last time (perhaps as may as three in IL alone), but there has been some GOP favorable redistricting done in few states, putting several Dems in jeopardy.

The Senate is where the action’s going to be this cycle and where each party is going to put a lot of marbles. If it appears going down the homestretch that Obama’s re-election is in doubt, the battle for the Senate will rise to a fevered pitch because Dems will want to preserve their control of the Senate at any cost.


45 posted on 05/09/2012 6:11:58 PM PDT by randita
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To: Lazamataz

When you trim a hedge, tree or shrub into the shape you want it, it is called polling’.

And when you cut off sheep or goat horns, that’s called polling.

How appropriate!


46 posted on 05/10/2012 4:30:33 AM PDT by homegroan (Veni, Vedi, Velcro....since 1998)
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To: Squantos

Forgot to add you to the LazList!!! Here’s another.


47 posted on 05/11/2012 11:26:35 AM PDT by Lazamataz (To the wall, street occupiers!!!!!)
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To: Lazamataz

Dude, it’s too bad this thread has received so few replies (I got here from the place where you mention it) because it is an important topic.

I don’t know if polls by otherwise reputable organizations are intended to mold public opinion, I know that they do, because people, like stray dogs and cats, want to be part of a larger herd, and so often vote just so they can join in and brag and friend friends and strangers, just like they read stupid books and listen to shatty music that others in the herd listen to and read. Disgusting facts of life.


48 posted on 05/11/2012 11:51:47 AM PDT by Revolting cat! (Let us prey!)
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To: Lazamataz

Another addition to thr LAZLIST if you please.


49 posted on 05/11/2012 11:54:49 AM PDT by Little Bill (Sorry)
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To: Revolting cat!

There’s a way to be sure not to miss my wee li’l editorials, you know. :)


50 posted on 05/11/2012 11:57:26 AM PDT by Lazamataz (To the wall, street occupiers!!!!!)
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