Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Lies, Damn Lies and Opinion Polls

Mark Twain once said there are lies, damn lies and statistics; its time to add "opinion polls" to that list. What we are now seeing is that pollsters are manipulating their polls results by either basing the poll on non-reflective demographics and/or asking poll questions in a manner that will result in a requite result. The purpose seems to be to sustain the slipping support for President Obama and the progressive agenda in general. In an article in the Nation Review, Jan 17, 2011, Two New Polls Have Higher Numbers of Democrats, Misleading Questions the writer Katrino Trinko points out an AP poll that, showed increasing support for Obamacare, even though it was only two months earlier that the Democrats had received what may have been the greatest rebuff of policy in the history of US Politics; and a major part of this rebuff was Obamacare. What could have happened? Did the electorate suddenly reverse what has a wholesale rejection of the Democrat juggernaut? The answer of course is no. The pollsters chose a 42% / 36% Democrat to Republican demographic, where the exit polls during the election showed the demographic to be equal at about 36%. Further the results were also skewed by the nature of the questions. The new poll showed that opposition to Obamacare has slipped from 38% for, 47% against to 40% for, 41% against. “Kellyanne Conway(, the president of the polling company,) also notes that when asked if they would favor a law ‘that would require every American to have health insurance, or pay money to the government as a penalty if they do not, unless the person is very poor,’ 59 percent are opposed. ‘When they actually hear what the health care reform is, they’re opposed to it,’ she says."

We are also faced with a CBS/ NY Times poll that shows that Wisconsin voters have reversed their backing of Gov Walker to stand up to the unions to reduce the state deficits. The poll results showed those opposed to Walker 56% to 37% in favor. In a March 1, 2011 article, also in the Nation Review Jim Gerargy Dissecting These New Wisconson Polls points out the again the demographics were manipulated for a desired result. In the last general-population survey, Wisconsin showed a 36% / 35% split between Republicans and Democrats, however the poll used a 26% Republican/ 36% Democrat split. Next, 20% of the poll’s respondents claim to come from union households. “However, only 11.9% of American workers belong to a union, according to a report published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics last month and noted by none other than the Times itself.”

One reason that opinion polls have become nothing more than left leaning propaganda is that unlike an exit poll or other election poll, there is no defining way to determine the accuracy. Opinion polls used to be of value to the democratic process, but now it has become part and parcel of the ongoing erosion and creditability of the press. Who would have guessed that the American press, rather than being a stand-in for the public at large to guarantee the government and other public institutions fulfill their duties, is now damaging our democracy in ways none could have foreseen. Who would believe that the press in a country where a free press is guaranteed by it’s constitution, would self censor and reduce itself to stumping for a political party and trying to manufacture public opinion? In essence the American press has voluntarily become a tool of fascism, prior to a totalitarian government even taking power. One has to wonder how much more compliant the press will be if ever actually faced with the dictates of a fascist government.

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