Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Cooking the Results

Drudge has a link to Greg Sheffield's always-informative NewsBusters site. Greg has analyzed the latest CBS News poll, which shows President Bush's approval ratings slipping to an all-time low. His findings? CBS cooked the books, oversampling Democrats, while under-sampling Republicans. It's easy to drive down poll numbers when your sample is 37% Democrats, and only 28% Republicans.

Meanwhile, here's how CBS News explains its polling methodology and results. Of particular note are these comments on "weighting."

"We take great pains to adjust our data so that I accurately reflects the whole population. That process is called “weighting.” We make sure that our final figures match U.S. Census Bureau breakdowns on age, sex, race, education, and region of the country. We also “weight” to adjust for the fact that people who share a phone with others have less chance to be contacted than people who live alone and have their own phones, and that households with more than one telephone number have more chances to be called than households with only one phone number."

So, despite these "great pains," CBS still wound up with a sample that has a disproportinate number of Democrats, and fewer Republicans that the populace as a whole. Hmmm....I think CBS needs to take greater pains in its polling, or out-source the job to a more reliable outfit like Rasmussen. According to Rasmussen's daily poll, the president's approval rating is now at 43%, and has been as high as 49% earlier in the month.


Vash said...

Lurker here.
Lets be fair. Weighting is done after the results are collected. Votes that are under represented are set to count more then those that are over represented.
Not saying the CBS didnt fudge their number, as I suspect they did, Just not in the way you indicated

Huan said...

the more statistically truthful thing to do would be not to weigh the results but prior to revealibng the rsult post a chart comparing the polled demographic vs the expected or "real" demographic and the p value as to whether the polled demographic is significantly different from the expected/real demographic.

the standards for scientific research is to post methods first, followed by statistical analysis for validity of the study population and then the results.
but then it is a political poll and has nothing to do with validity does it?

augurwell said...

Dear *^,

Thank you for you blog, it is clear and unambiguous and I appreciate your thoughtfulness. Though many do not post comments I have passed your site along to trusted friends.

What was it Clint E. said about what opinions are like? I also put much stock in his statement about a person needing to know their limitations.

Handicapping is for horse racing not war.

Perhaps one day when computers are more secure we will have real-time polls on any issue that is at hand. (When we can confirm and verify one person one vote.)

I wonder how that will effect the way government makes decisions. To seek council is one thing but to endlessly debate issues can hamper decisive action. And much of the public is fickle, prone to changing their minds all the time and they can be an ungrateful ignorant lot. I assemble experts to handle the fields I am ignorant about. And it is ultimately important to keep your own council.

The President, I'm informed, watches no TV and doesn't listen to polls, I consider that others do it for him. If I were Emperor I think this war would be just about over and a victory party in the making. But I don't know the entire picture.

I was happy with Ronald Reagan when all those around me in Canada were afraid that if he defeated Carter there would be nuclear war. I was a teenager at the time, Carter had been wringing his hands for 444 days and a pisspot country was doing what it is doing today only with a more consolidated base now. And that base is genuinely hated by the real Persians. If they get the nuke they are going to hold themselves hostage as well as blackmailing Israel into popping one off on them and as Secretary Rice points out "The People deserve better."

There is a problem with democracy, that's why Churchill said it was the "Worst form of government except for all others."

The philosophy of Zen has given me a different way to respond to things that is not "Knee-jerk" reactionary. It is very helpful with determining what is truth and combined with other philosophies what is a wise plan of action and how to go about the implementation of same said. And faith, "The Lord is my Shield and Light."

There was a book I read when I was a teenager that completely changed the way I think, it was written in 1938, I found it most helpful and I will try to remember the title and get back to you with it. It outlines and described why communism or nazia or criminal activities will never fully succeed. It dealt with transformation, and symbols and signs by which you conquer X >+< P etc. It dealt with history, science, psychology and religion. I suppose it introduced me to 'Depth Psychology' and Carl Jung.

A very enlightening read, perhaps I'll contact my old library and find out what the name was. 'Depth Psychology ?

GWB is a brave guy he just cut the ribbon at the new embassy in the Afghan. It was interesting to learn that even under talaban rule the US Embassy remained open and protected by some Afghans. The Afghan people were very happy with George and disappointed that they could not show him their hospitality due to the nature of harms way.

We don't have the soviets breathing down our necks this war. So, if the Irainians will revolt we can give them every assistance possible. "There is nothing to fear but fear itself." Some reporters are cowards and it is reflected in their stories and reinforces the cowardice in the general public. What the hell is the motives of these defeatist press? What is their bias? It sort of reminds me of the tower of Babal legend, the language is common now but the thinking is askew. The ethos of America is for mass freedom, anyone against this is the enemy. ( . )

Again thanks.

The still free pure precepts.

Chesshire by Severn

PS Some people today are afraid to leave their addresses like they have something of vital National Security to conceal or they are afraid of being stalked or something. We have the best law in the world and it's not the guard-dog you need be concerned with when dealing with me, it's me and my knife etc. you should be concerned about.

Forthright; one of the qualities lacking in the enemies of freedom. AND not to forget we even fight our shadow wars in the light and that I know of a man called Intrepid.