The whole point of free speech is not to make ideas exempt from criticism but to expose them to it.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

About polls

This is a screen capture from Google.

Polls are fickle. My advice is to not believe any of them. There are too many variables: contact selection, demographic selection, margin of error, wording of poll questions, etc.

None of us can assume that ANYBODY'S poll is a solid representation of what the public actually believes.

Political marketing experts like Bill Fleming and his buddy Jody Severson, use polls to help them decide how and where to advertise for their clients, and what kind of advertising message should be used. Those polls are usually done in a manner that gives the advertising expert a much more accurate view of how the race is actually going than most of the public polls. The contracted polls are rarely made public because they often identify a candidate's weaknesses as well as his strengths, and most ad execs don't care to share information they paid for with their opponents.

Some political consultants also use push-pull polls to help them push a voter away from one candidate and pull them toward another, with questions like:

Would you still vote for Candidate R, if you knew he had been accused of multiple rapes of handicapped juveniles?

Of course, Candidate R may never have been accused of any such thing. The question doesn't accuse him of anything, it simply asks if you would vote for him if such accusations had been made. But, they have planted a seed...rather like a wing-nut brochure planted the seed that Sam Kooiker was a wing-nut, even though his opponent knew he wasn't. The truth of the matter, just didn't matter. The brochure worked and their candidate, who was behind in the polls, won the election.

Polls, I don't trust them – any of them. So those coming to this blog and expecting me to take seriously any poll from any source, will be disappointed by my skepticism.


Bill Fleming said...

Again the polls Mike lists here will skew one way or the other because of "house" effects.

This has to do with how the questions are asked and which people are asked.

Some polls force undecideds or "not sures" to take a position by offering them choices in the middle of two extremes. Choices like "Somewhat approve" and "Somewhat disapprove."

In that context, who doesn't "somewhat disapprove" of someone unless they're a disciple or a true believer... even if they mostly approve of the person.

Better to leave the undecided undecided, because bottom line, those are the people you'll have to win over if you're going to win.

The other "house effect" has to do with who's being polled and what you want to know.

If you want to know what all Americans think you will ask a group of adults. Period. Whether they are registered voters or not, and whether they are likely to vote or not.

So if you're wanting to make a claim as to what Americans in general think, you will reference those polls that just sample adults.

If you want to know who you have to win over by next Tuesday (election day) you'll look at "likely voters.

Michael's cynicism is probably due to the fact that he's never taken the time to understand how all this stuff works. Most people haven't. Hopefully this helps.

And as for the "wing nut flyer" there was nothing in the brochure that wasn't true. Nothing.

Thus endeth the lecture.

Michael Sanborn said...

I got it Bill, which is why I don't trust ANY poll.

But, I'll play the asked in another post:

Which voters don't want it, show me the data:

According to your own, for different dates March and April: 55 percent disapproved of the way Obama was handling health care. (CBS) 56%(CNN); 49% (Washington Post); 50% (Quinnipiac University); 40% (USA Today/Gallup); 50% (Bloomberg); 55% (FOX/Opinion Dynamics);57% (NBC News/Wall Street Journal).

How much more data do you need?

What has he been transparent about?

Jobs are NOT on the upswing, the rate at which people are losing jobs is on the downswing. There's a difference.

Find someone...anyone whohas higher approval ratings than Hillary Clinton and Barrack Hussein Obama:

1. Currently, everybody's approval rating sucks, and with good reason.

2. George W. Bush's highest approval rating was 90%.

3.George H.W. Bush's highest was 89%.

4. Ronald Reagan's highest: 68%

5. Bill Clinton's highest approval rating of his presidency was 73%

6. Richard Nixon's highest was 67%

7. Johnson's highest was 79%

8. Kennedy's highest was 83%

9. Eisenhauer's was 79%

And, your guy, Mr. Obama's highest approval rating is 69%, just one point more than Reagan and two points more than Nixon.

Averaged out:

Republicans since Eisenhauer (6 of them) average approval rating: 77.3333

Democrats including Obama (5 of them): 75.8

Now, to show you what you already know, I can twist those numbers by simply adding Roosevelt and Truman, who had highest approval ratings of 84 and 87% respectively. That gives the Democrats 7 presidents and an average highest approval rating of...wait for it...78.57! Democrats WIN!

How can you, or Frank Rich, say Obama's doing a great job simply because his rating increased recently to an abysmal 31 percent who strongly approve of his performance...(according to Rasmussen)?

It's all a game, Bill. You know it and I know it. That you're trying to convince others that approval ratings mean more than they do, is a sorry commentary indeed.

Michael Sanborn said...

Bill, I never said anything in the brochure was untrue. The brochure said he was supported by people on the religious right. That is true.

What it did not say is what planted the seed that Kooiker himself was a wing-nut. It did not say that he was supported by people who are radical left-wing folks, and everyone in between.

The brochure was ingenious. But it was, at its core, dishonest.

Bill Fleming said...

Right, Mike. Your assertion was:

"Earth shattering deficit spending on programs the voters do not want."

The question of "whether voters want health care" was not asked. Some voters don't like how the Obama plan works because it's not universal health care. I believe that accounts for about 10-15%.

All of your other Prez stats are based on them serving their full term.

My question to you was, find me anyone right now who has approval ratings as high as Obama's. You can't. Go ahead. Admit it.

Mine are all straightforward challenges, Mike.

You're the one trying to twist and spin your way around the answers.

Go ahead though, have fun. You might even fool the stupid people and make a little money at it.

Sarah Palin sure does.

Let me get this straight... Kooiker was involved with Schumacher and Hamilton, you admit it, and yet you're calling me dishonest for telling people about it? Give me a break, man.

Thad Wasson said...

Hamilton vs. Adelstein went on for awhile, until all of Hamilton's borrowed money disappeared. Take the money away and Mayor Hanks is mayor of his RV park, not the city.

Bill Fleming said...

Well Thad, one thing's for sure, if it was questionable whether Sam was pals with the nut cases before, it certainly isn't any more.

Michael Sanborn said...

I DID admit it, Bill. I said everyone's approval rating is in the dumpster, as it should be.

Are you prepared to tell me that voters WANT earth-shattering deficit spending? Really? REALLY?

I'm calling you dishonest for not telling the WHOLE truth about Hamilton and Schumacher, both of whom were working for Shaw, as you also know, which of course is part of the REST of the story, which the brochure did not tell. You took slivers of information, ingeniously packaged them to deceive voters, and you succeeded. Hooray for you. You won!

So now you're going on and saying that Kooiker's pals with people you call nut cases. Yes, he is...folks like Gordon Howie, Napoli, and even your buddy Adelstein. Do you think Stan would provide the money to print that brochure today? I don't think so.

But Sam is also pals with your brand of nut cases as well, folks from the left. Remember, they supported Sam, too? And, in greater numbers. And, he had support from the middle.

Finally, I'm not too stupid to understand polling. I understand polling just fine. I use it every single day.

I simply said I don't think polling numbers should be trusted, for all the reasons YOU have stated here.

Bill Fleming said...

I don't call 50% in the dumpster. Nobody does.

And that's what Obama's numbers are right now, considering the margins of error and house effects.

And nobody else's numbers even come close, not even the Pope's!

BTW, if you don't trust polls, then why do you use them, every day?

As for the Kooiker issue, Mike, Sam lost. Get over it. The brochure had little if anything to do with it.
It was a micro mailing to a very select audience.
By the time most people heard about it, the election was already over.

If you have evidence to the contrary, show us.

And it wasn't meant to be a news article, it was a political piece that identified Kooiker as a loose cannon with questionable judgement who would probably make a less than effective mayor because he doesn't play well with others in the city government sandbox.

He's proven that in spades.

Even his friends say so.

That's why they like him.

I predict said...

Polls seem to only be made by people with objectives, not questions.
Do people want record spending deficits? No DUH!
Do they want decent affordable health care? Yes DUH!