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August 20, 2006

37% of Americans Believe Polls Are Rigged

"Time for my own poll. Is there any question so wacky that one-third of the population will not answer it in the affirmative?"
Posted by Kate at August 20, 2006 9:42 AM
Comments

The answer of course, Kate, is "Yes".

Oh, sorry, just had to answer that in the affirmative.

Posted by: Rick at August 20, 2006 1:32 PM

Gungrabber “scientific” poll question:

Crime in this country is out of control. The streets are awash in guns and thousands of children are killed each year as a result of gun violence. How do you believe that this problem should be addressed?

A. Ban all private gun ownership

B. Ban assault weapons capable of spraying hundreds of bullets per second and are the weapon of choice for criminals

C. Ban cheap, Saturday Night Special handguns that can be purchased at the corner store for $20 and are the weapon of choice for criminals

D. Ban powerful, high capacity handguns that are easy to conceal and are the weapon of choice for criminals

————-

Gungrabber Press Release regarding their “poll”: “80% of Americans support banning guns!”

Looks like this poll was written by the NDP.

Posted by: FREE at August 20, 2006 1:40 PM

Polls are overrated, flawed and essentially meaningless. They get it wrong as often as they get it right. The pollsters craft questions to ask one thing and then reconstruct and frame the results to suit the customer's or the agency's political agenda.

There is no such thing as a random sample. Many folks who value their privacy do not have listed phone #s. Those who use cell phones only are not on the roll, and neither are those too poor to afford phone service.

I'd like to know where the pollsters record the "none of your damn business" responses. I have a feeling that is a frequent reply to pollsters in the US.

Posted by: Tom Penn at August 20, 2006 1:56 PM

"The pollsters craft questions to ask one thing and then reconstruct and frame the results to suit the customer's or the agency's political agenda."

True words, Tom.

I'm polled about three times by various companies, Ipsos-Reid, gallup, etc. Often the question is mutiple-choice, with none of the answers correct, for me, but I have to choose the lesser of four wrong answers.
Their phraseology is so stilted, I often have to make them repeat the question, to try and figure out what they're asking.

Sometimes the poller will have such a heavy accent, I can only guess at what they're really asking.

Polling is useful on cattle, lessens the chance of injury, the other kind, I dunno.

Posted by: dmorris at August 20, 2006 2:21 PM

how do we know the poll that came up with the 37% figure wasnt rigged???

LOL !!!

whenever I get a call I demand to know why they didnt check the CMA canadian market association do not call database, and the answer is 'we're not selling anything' then I ask if there's a similar do not call database for polls.

when we were living in burbankburlington we had 2 phone lines. the other one was paid by the missus' company so she could login from home.

any time a call came in on that line I KNEW it was a telemarketer so I would put on my govinderjin singh accent and answer with a 'who is it thadt iss khalling? and go from there.

Posted by: RobertJ at August 20, 2006 3:17 PM

I'm torn here, because 67% of me wants to answer no.

Posted by: Peter at August 20, 2006 3:24 PM

dmorris: "I'm polled about three times by various companies, Ipsos-Reid, gallup, etc."

How do you get polled? I think I've been called by a polling company once or twice in my rather long life. So, what do you have to do, who do you have to be, to get called and asked for your opinion?

How many "conservatives" and how many "liberals" are asked questions in a poll, or do the companies have that information?

It's a science, obviously, for a polling company to be "objective" or "fair" and as Tom points out, the polls are just as likely to be wrong as right.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has his head screwed on correctly when it comes to polls. Ignore them and keep moving. In other words, when you come to a fork in the road, go straight ahead.

Posted by: 'been around the block at August 20, 2006 3:28 PM

I've never been polled and I'm neither a conservative nor a liberal. (There are other possibilities.) I was in a focus group once, though. I still don't know who was running it but they paid me. I wouldn't do it again, though - I don't want to help these people.

Posted by: Leftist at August 20, 2006 3:33 PM

Leftist: You say "I'm neither a conservative nor a liberal," but what I asked is how many "conservatives" and "liberals" are polled?

Conservative might mean being a member of the CPC or no party at all, just as "liberal" might mean that you are a Red Tory, a Liberal, an NDPer, a Green Party member, whatever. I'm using those terms in a generic sense not meaning that people polled are of one party or another.

I'm guessing you're NDP?

Posted by: 'been around the block at August 20, 2006 3:47 PM

"He who defines the question defines the answer".........someone

Posted by: el gordo at August 20, 2006 4:18 PM

i refuse telephone polls. first question i ask is who is the poll being conducted for. the response is we can't give out that information at which point i hang up. so i don't know what percentage i would fall under.

Posted by: spike at August 20, 2006 4:47 PM

37% is almost the exact percentage that support the NDP regularly in Saskatchewan.

Yup, I guess there is a sucker quotient here...

Posted by: The Greek at August 20, 2006 5:01 PM

beenaroundtheblock: "Leftist: You say "I'm neither a conservative nor a liberal," but what I asked is how many "conservatives" and "liberals" are polled? Conservative might mean being a member of the CPC or no party at all, just as "liberal" might mean that you are a Red Tory, a Liberal, an NDPer, a Green Party member, whatever. I'm using those terms in a generic sense not meaning that people polled are of one party or another."

Me, too. I wasn't talking about political parties but about political philosophies.

"I'm guessing you're NDP?"

Nope.

Posted by: Leftist at August 20, 2006 5:44 PM

Funny, I always thought those polls were suspicious....99% of the Times readers would vote Conservative.
The Times is a broadsheet, written by Tories, supports Tory policies and sells the best in Tory areas.
I guess 1% were too busy shagging their constituents to answer the question.
Polls can give you any answer you want as long as you ask the right people.
"Are YOU a sick bastard who likes looking at pictures of little Lolitas....this question is sponsored by Peter Paedophile on Litllt Lolita Picture Site"
Point taken?

Posted by: Indiana at August 20, 2006 6:08 PM

Likely the same 37% who thought that Weapons of Mass Destruction were found in Iraq; the same 37% who think 'Adam and Eve' as well as 'Noah's Ark' is actual history; the same 37% who think it was wise of President Bush to develop a 'Rapture Plan' for the White House; the same 37% that voted Conservative in Canada and gave us a minority Harper government. (Enjoy it while you have it - it won't be for long).

Posted by: leftdog at August 20, 2006 7:42 PM

Just took a poll in my household, the results are as follows;
100% beleive Liberals and Democrats will say anything to get elected.
100% beleive terrorists are a bad thing, not just a bunch of fun loving pesky college boys playing pranks on western civilization.
100% believe bloggers take polls and political blogs way to serious.
100% beleive getting banned from liblog sites is funny.
Margin for error on the preceding polls is 0.

Posted by: Silverwinger at August 20, 2006 8:01 PM

Silverwinger,
Ditto for my household, as well as 100% believe that PM Harper will get a majority next time, albeit the sniveling and whining from the leftwing moonbats.

Posted by: multirec at August 20, 2006 8:48 PM

I hope harper wins despite my sweeping contempt for the self servists of all pol. stripes. I want him to do to the lieberals what cretin did to kimmie kim on the heels of brian mulruin. the most hated living ex PM.

Posted by: RobertJ at August 20, 2006 9:11 PM

the part that gets me is the "accurate within xy.z% points 19 times out of 20". Just what happens with that 20th time?

Favourite feminazi poll question: Have you stopped beating your wife yet? Yes or no?

Posted by: texas canuck at August 20, 2006 9:12 PM

Lapdog said...."(Enjoy it while you have it - it won't be for long)."

We're in agreement. Majority Harper government coming soon.

Posted by: Robert in Calgary at August 20, 2006 9:32 PM

leftdog,

"the same 37% that voted Conservative in Canada and gave us a minority Harper government. (Enjoy it while you have it - it won't be for long)"

You're right! The way real Canadians are viewing Harper's positions and him doing what he says he's going are helping to drive his polling numbers up. In no time at all there will be a Conservative majority.

I'll take your advice... I'll enjoy the minority for the time being and will be absolutely thrilled by a Conservative majority that's coming in about 9 months.

Posted by: The Greek at August 20, 2006 9:39 PM

100% of realists and anyone else with a drop of common sense knows that.....

Posted by: Western Canadian at August 20, 2006 9:52 PM

texas c: do you actually not know the thing about 19 out of 20?

this is how I was taught stats in university.

there are scientific methods to attempt to get an accurate measure without having to ask the question of survey or measurement whatever of the entire group. basically, the approach is, what are the mathematical odds of completely missing an accurate result.

it surprised me to no end to see mathematically you dont need a very big sample out of the entire group to get a 96% accurate result.

(it has to do with, for instance, in a room with 30 people or so, odds are 2 of them have the same birthday despite the being over 10 times as many days in the year. it was one of the most intruiging phenomenon I have seen explained.)

however, because in fact you never quiz the entire group, 1 time out of 20 the 'scientific' method fails and true to mathematical probablity, odds are 1 poll in 20 is off significantly. it has to do with 'what are the odds of ALWAYS getting an accurate reflection of the group? and the answer to that is 'very unlikely'. and that can mathematically be shown to in fact happen, on average, 1 time in 20.

the great mystery with all polls of course is, 'is this one of the 19 good ones, or the exception, the inaccurate 20th?'

what really gets me is when people start incorporating *historical known events* into the calculation of the odds of future events. probability is STRICTLY concerned with FUTURE possible outcomes that have *not yet occurred*.

people who spend thousands on lottery tickets based on PAST winning numbers need to spend *some* of the money on textbooks explaining the field of mathematical probability.

Posted by: RobertJ at August 20, 2006 10:35 PM

aaaand on the topic of the usefulness of polls, remember, there are HUGE numbers of otherwise rational (+/-?) amurcuns who really do think apollo 11 was faked. FAKED ??!!?!!

oyph.

so far I have been unable to get any of them to say if they think satellites, space shuttle, ISS, planetary probes, and edge-of-the-atmosphere flight are ALSO faked.....

Posted by: RobertJ at August 20, 2006 10:42 PM

The Greek, you should watch the polls VERY closely for the next while. Harper's support is collapsing in Quebec, his MP's in Saskatchewan are in panic mode (and well they should be), the disastrous comments he made about Israel's 'measured response', the overall cockiness of the extreme right wing in this country (smalldeadanimas, Canadian Taxpayers Federation and Western Standard) is turning off normal average Canadians. Just go read some of the crap your little friend (who uses the name 'money bags4me on some of the blogs) has to say lately.

Nope you folks are gonna pull a 'Joe Clark' in terms of your government's politcal longevity.

(((are you sure you're not Ken from Regina???)))

Posted by: leftdog at August 20, 2006 11:10 PM

Polls are increasingly just cynical political devices; pollsters phrase the questions to get the answers your "client" wants, and then distribute the results nationally so as to affect the -- not insubstantial -- "go-with-the-crowd because they must be on to something" vote, and of course the headlines.

Occasionally polls are useful for the "holy-s**t", wet-slap revelations they give. Here's an example: Western Standard/Compas just recently conducted a poll in which the pollsters gave a statement and asked whether the respondent agreed, disagreed, or didn't know.

One of the statements was "Israel has a right of self-defense." The response? 13 percent of Canadians, and twenty-three percent of Quebecers disagreed.

What can you say?

Posted by: EBD at August 21, 2006 12:11 AM

It all depends who you ask in the poll. I believe that the Tories are way down in some parts of the country. Lower than the polls indicate. There are a lot of factors that can be rigged by the pollsters to get the answer they want.

Posted by: ok4ua at August 21, 2006 12:21 AM

You believe based on what?

Posted by: EBD at August 21, 2006 12:52 AM

Conservatives ARE down! The crowd in every coffee shop across the nation knows it. -

Compas asked leading questions, (want the clients to be happy). We'll let these right wingers gloat and yell a bit BUT they have a day of reckoning with Canadian voters that will pit them out of power - I will NOT vote Liberal but Canadians would rather have a Lib minority than continue with Harper's disaster. (Who was the wise sage that said recently 'Canadians would rather have crooked Liberals than these ANGRY conservatives).

Posted by: leftdog at August 21, 2006 1:32 AM

Leftdog says: Conservatives ARE down! The crowd in every coffee shop across the nation knows it. -

I'm afraid you'r right. Canadians are completely in the dark regarding the disaster that is just around the corner. They think just as their MM wants them to. Iraq, Afganistan, Lebanon, Africa, East Temour,etc:, all separate wars!
I forced myself to sit through the Liberal Party leadership debate a week or so back and the mere thought on one of those as next PM sickens me. I would have to pick Heddy as the one who sounded most convincing as believing in anything she said. Add that to Hillary as Pres next door and we have an absolute disaster on our hands.
Canada as the next Lebanon? Not too far fetched, I'm afraid. 67% of Canadians can't be wrong, can they?

Posted by: Gunney99 at August 21, 2006 2:46 AM

and to repeat an old posting, the trick with polls is you keep conducting them is secret until you get the desired result THEN do another one openly real fast OR simply release the results of the one that matches the objective.

easy.

politishuns are capable of spending 100s of BILLIONS of dollars in vote catching schemes, why not this?

Posted by: RobertJ at August 21, 2006 7:32 AM

RobertJ said - "what really gets me is when people start incorporating *historical known events* into the calculation of the odds of future events. probability is STRICTLY concerned with FUTURE possible outcomes that have *not yet occurred*."

Both approaches are valid. The former is Bayesian, the latter is classical. What you use, depends on the situation.

e.g. What are the odds the sun will come up tomorrow?

Bayesian answer: Near 100%, since we know it has come up umpteen times before.
Classical answer: 50%, 'cause it will either do so or not

:)

Posted by: Henry at August 21, 2006 8:16 AM

Harper disaster?????

Please explain! What? Where? How?

Details, please.

Posted by: Ralph at August 21, 2006 8:37 AM

Ralp - go sit in any Tim Hortons in any part of the country, sit and listen to one of the morning coffee clutches that are a tradition in this nation. You will be surprised what the vast MAJORITY of your fellow citizens are saying and thinking about Harpo's handling of things. Not too good for your guys! Call an Election! I will have more to say (that won't surprise you) - the looming defeat of Conervative Bernard Lord in NB in a few weeks will be a good indicator that what I say is accurate.
Your boy is ALREADY done. Enjoy while you can.

Posted by: leftdog at August 21, 2006 8:58 AM

Oh and by the way - the ongoing extreme opinions and rightwing 'nutbarism' that your fellow citizens hear on this site as well sites for the western standard and Canadian Taxpayers Federation, are contributing to the big 'TURNOFF' that Canadians are feeling towards Harpo.

Keep up the good work! Your contributions to opening the eyes of Canadians as to the dangers of the rightwing in power is unmeasurable!

Posted by: leftdog at August 21, 2006 9:02 AM

been around the block, I was contacted by phone about three years ago for a poll by one of the major polling companies about Vancouver's olympic bid. I answered all their questions, and was called back within a week. I gave them my E-mail address, and they also send me polls a couple of times a month.

I guess I'm on what was once referred to as a "sucker list", but I don't mind taking a few minutes each month to express my opinion, and maybe balance the Torontonians also being polled.

Posted by: dmorris at August 21, 2006 9:47 AM

"Ralp - go sit in any Tim Hortons in any part of the country, sit and listen to one of the morning coffee clutches that are a tradition in this nation."

Canadians get together in timmy's across Canada and discus politics? You're too funny!
Off ya go now moonbat, go have a double-double and an anti-Harper circle jerk.

Posted by: multirec at August 21, 2006 11:28 AM

mulirec - you comments about a 'circle jerk' says more about you then it does me.

Posted by: leftdog at August 21, 2006 3:42 PM

Whatever moonbat.

Posted by: multirec at August 21, 2006 4:19 PM

Hey multirec DON'T FEED THE TROLLS!
I know how hard it is not to but the less we acknowledge them the sooner they will FO.

Posted by: FREE at August 21, 2006 7:17 PM

not quite right henry:

probability addresses RANDOMNESS.

there is no randomness about the fact the earth has been turning on its axis for 6,000 or 4,000,000,000 years or some time period in between. the calculation then becomes what is the random probability of a star like the sun blowing itself to bits at any particular moment and ruining your breakfast plans. it most assuredly is not 50-50 by any approach.

tossing dice however, unless you have unprecedented detail in their trajectory, contact points, shape etc, DOES have randomness.

and if the dice have come up 5s 4 times in a row, you CANNOT incorporate that fact in predicting if the next toss will also be a 5. unless the dice are loaded in which case again, you dont have the randomness then and thus probability isnt quite as applicable. depends on how 'loaded' they are.

Posted by: RobertJ at August 21, 2006 8:53 PM

My bad Free, but sometimes it's just plain fun!

Posted by: multirec at August 21, 2006 10:58 PM

Rural Sask would poll different from Ont or Que. Also city voters would differ from rural. The more educated as far as degrees go would differ from less educated. So it all depends the area and how the question was put forward. Advertisers have loaded serveys for years to get the answers they want. How about payola in the 60's with music?

Posted by: ok4ua at August 22, 2006 8:32 PM
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