Skip to comments.Polls and the "Credibility Scam"
Posted on 05/09/2012 8:11:18 AM PDT by LazamatazEdited 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.
Exactly. 90% of all statistics are totally made up.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Forgot to add you to the LazList!!! Here’s another.
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.
Another addition to thr LAZLIST if you please.
There’s a way to be sure not to miss my wee li’l editorials, you know. :)
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Thanks, I’ll find them. What was it that Groucho Marx, or was it Mark Twain, said about joining a club?
Working my way down my inbox...
Polls are evil, as is anything connected to the Mid Stream Media.
(As in getting a sample for a medical test...)
Please make it 85 and 86 by adding both sides of my personality please
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