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
     DEPRESSING?

     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
          for years.

     Q.   BUT THEY TOOK 'RANDOM SAMPLES' OF PEOPLE.   THEY  ASKED
          THEM WHO THEY PREFERRED.   HOW CAN YOU THEN NOT BELIEVE
          A POLL?

     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
          COUNTRY"?

     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
          Republicans?

          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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