WS>>The Polls and How to Ignore Them
carl william spitzer iv
cwsiv_2nd at JUNO.COM
Mon Oct 9 19:02:06 MDT 2000
Marilyn does a very good job on this piece and certai
nly doesn't need my help; but, in the way of clarification,
when I was studying for my Accounting degree (1968-1971) we
were taught to skew statistical sampling results in case we
ever found ourselves auditing the books of a company that in
flated its financial statements in that manner. When I
spent six months in Washington training to be a Special
Agent with the U.S. Treasury Department (1973-74), we were
taught even more sophisticated ways to slant the results
of statistical sampling under the theory that we could not
work a fraud against the United States if we couldn't recog
nize skewed data.
This year's polling is much like the methods I've been
taught to use to catch crooks. lshoultz at gulftel.com
THE POLLS THIS WEEKEND SAY GORE IS SURGING AHEAD. ISN'T THAT
A. Only if you believe them.
Q. WHAT? NOT BELIEVE THEM!! BUT THEY'RE TAKEN BY REPUTA-
BLE MAGAZINES LIKE 'NEWSWEEK,' OR CABLE STATIONS LIKE
'CNN.' A. A good reason to be suspicious. Those are
two of the most biased news venues we have. Both have
promoted and helped elect Clinton for the past two
cycles. Both have run negative stories on Republicans
Q. BUT THEY TOOK 'RANDOM SAMPLES' OF PEOPLE. THEY ASKED
THEM WHO THEY PREFERRED. HOW CAN YOU THEN NOT BELIEVE
A. If you have a room full of relatives at a family reun-
ion, and you ask every other one around the room the
same question, you have just taken a "random sample."
If you go downtown in any city and take a poll, i.e.,
ask everyone you can stop the same question, you have
taken a "random sample." The phrase "random sample" is
meaningless unless you know where it was taken.
For instance if I ask a random sample of people on the
street in Boston, Mass., who they wanted for president
this time, you would in all likelihood get the answer:
Al Gore. Why? Because Boston, Mass -- indeed the
majority of Massachusetts --is registered "Democrat."
They are heavily labor union members (Democrat,)
Catholic (over fifty % Democrat), college and universi-
ty town (intellectually liberal.) Anyone who goes into
Boston and takes a poll knows what answers he will most
often get to the question.
On the other hand, if you go to Atlanta, Georgia, and
ask the same question, the majority will probably
answer: George Bush. Why? Because Georgia is now a
Republican state. They are heavily Protestant Chris-
tian (concerned about morals, not Clinton lovers,)
entrepreneurial business types concerned with tax
issues (Republicans believe in lower taxes, individuals
keeping more of what they earn), more 'traditional
family' oriented (they know Republicans are less likely
to sanction marriage for homosexuals), more concerned
with military issues because of many bases there
(George Bush and Dick Cheney are strong for the mili-
tary, while Clinton has earned many enemies by putting
our boys under U.N. control.)
Q. BUT WHAT IF THESE RANDOM SAMPLES SAY "TAKEN ACROSS THE
A. Then I have to ask, across the northern part of the
country, which has more registered Democrats, or the
southern part of the country, which has more registered
In other words, you can get the result you WANT to get
just by taking your sampling in a certain region of the
country. There are many ways you can affect what kind
of answer you get on a poll.
Q. OKAY SUPPOSE THAT'S TRUE. WHY WOULD POLLSTERS GO TO
ALL THAT TROUBLE TO MORE OR LESS LIE TO AMERICANS?
A. Because most pollsters are either hired by a political
party to get a result that favors that party, or they
are themselves politically inclined to one party or
another. Unless you know how biased or unbiased a
polling company is, you can't really be sure that they
aren't skewing the poll.
Q. ARE THERE OTHER WAYS TO SKEW A POLL?
A. Sure. By loading the questions ("Do you believe that
Al Gore is guilty of taking funds from foreign nation-
als while at the Buddhist Temple?" Ask that in that
way and you'd probably get a "yes." If you ask, "Is it
bad for foreigners to give money to a political cam-
paign in America?" I'm afraid most would say, No,
because they don't understand that giving foreigners a
say in our elections robs us of our right to govern
ourselves.) This is called "push polling," in other
words, pushing people to answer in a certain way.
Q. BUT IT MAKES ME DEPRESSED TO SEE THAT GORE IS AHEAD.
WHY SHOULD I WORK FOR BUSH, OR EVEN VOTE, IF GORE IS
GOING TO WIN ANYWAY?
A. Ah. If you feel that way -- then you now know why
liberals take liberally loaded polls, then make sure
that the Gore-favorable results are broadcast across
the land in newspapers and on TV shows. It is called
"creating a bandwagon effect." "Get on the Gore band-
wagon, or be a loser."
By doing this to the public, THEY HAVE JUST PARALYZED
GEORGE BUSH'S VOTERS!
They did this in 1992, and again in 1996, in exactly
the same way. Nobody wants to support the losing
side. So if you can make it seem that Bush doesn't
have a chance, THEN HE WON'T HAVE A CHANCE. Instead,
ignore the polls, put on a happy face and get out there
and work to elect Bush in this most important election
of this new century. AND GOOD LUCK! PASS IT ON!
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