Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Popularity Polls

Way back when I was an undergraduate I took a class in statists at Texas Christian University. What an eye opener for public polling.   Looking for stats? What stats do you want? It is all in how you ask the questions and who you ask. Most national pollsters today like Pew Research do a good job of random polling to get a good sample of what people think. But even they sometimes get it really wrong. Governor Romney had so many polls that showed him winning that he only wrote a victory speech.

Today we are in the midst of an argument over health care and the polls are all over the place and it all depends on who you ask what question. If you ask about the “Affordable Care Act” you get a positive set of results but if you ask the same people about “Obamacare” you get a negative set of answers. It is all in how you phrase the questions.

I am skeptical when a politician says, “The American people want ….  [You can fill in the blank]! Of course they will state that the American people want what the speaker wants. Americans are a diverse people and we don’t all want the exact same thing and politicians need to wake up to that fact. 

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