Thursday, July 22, 2010

Polls Do Not Merely Misinform, but Pose a Genuine Threat to Our Democracy

Tags: Polls The Opinion Makers, by David W. Moore, Gallup Editor, Misinforms, Manipulates Us, Pose Threat to Democracy

The Opinion Makers: An Insider Exposes the Truth Behind the Polls” by David W. Moore, former 13 years as senior editor at Gallup, one of the top polling organizations. Previously he was a Professor at University of New Hampshire whose specialty was survey research and again is trying to change the methodology of polling organizations.

“A powerful argument that polls do not merely misinform us but pose a genuine, if subtle, threat to our democracy.”

Mark Crispin Miller, Professor of Media Studies at New York University

From the front and back flap of the book:

David W. Moore’s book: Drawing on over a decade’s experience at the Gallup Poll and a distinguished academic career in survey research, Moore describes the questionable tactics pollsters use to create poll-driven news stories--including force-feeding respondents, slanting question wording, and ignoring public ignorance on even the most arcane issues.

More than prof that the numbers do lie, The Opinion Makers clearly and convincingly spells out how urgent it is that we make polls deliver on their promise to monitor, not manipulate, the pulse of democracy.

Kawakami: Polling Drives the News and is a Political Process to Influence the Public something not addressed in the CJR article excerpted below.

I usually ignore early polls in the November elections. One thing I really object to about early polls is primarily because the public is really not paying attention or know the facts behind the poll questions. Of course the general public also does not know much in November and normally vote their prejudices anyway. The Independents always influence the elections the most even though they are more confused than truly independents.

That is why the Republicans use of fear works so well with scary music in the background of their TV ads as Angle (R-NV) makes against Reid (D-NV) for the senate campaign.

Don’t miss Keith Olbermann’s editorial on Wednesday at the end of the program from his vacation spa. He strongly criticized the meek politics of the Obama Whitehouse in trying to offend no one. Olbermann “Doesn’t the WhiteHouse realize this is War?” Let Obama do what he thinks is best and don’t over-advise him! Free him to do what he did during the election campaign. Hit Republicans very hard.

Jim Kawakami, July 22, 2010,

Polls Accuracy How to Determine Frugality Sloppiness Bias Design Analysis Random What’s Reported Clint Hendler July 21, 2010, … AAPOR, one of the polling industry’s most prominent trade organizations, has wrestled since its founding—and largely passed on the opportunity—to set or impose standards, according to Peter Miller, a Northwestern professor who recently served as AAPOR’s president. Instead, they’ve opted to encourage polling organizations to release information about how they conducted their polls—information that not only would give poll consumers a basis for evaluating their work, but that theoretically could be used to replicate their results. Miller stepped down in May, but is still helping AAPOR’s “transparency initiative,” the organization’s newest effort to encourage such disclosure. …

“I don’t presume to set standards for others,” says Gary Langer, ABC’s polling director and a long time advocate for high media standards in poll reporting. “But I do presume it is essential to have them.” …

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