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Don't belive the polls

Cowboy hat By Jim Hightower and Phillip Frazer - Sun., 12/1/02
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Political pollsters are very upset with you and me.
They do focus groups to frame their questions. They hire wordsmiths to get the nuances just right. They pay mathematicians to produce precise population samples. Then they pay dozens of people to ring you up and walk you through their carefully calibrated queries.
But do you appreciate any of this? No. You don’t even answer their damned calls! About a third of polling calls now go to folks who: (1) use answering machines to screen pollsters out, (2) use caller-ID to reject mass dialers like them, or (3) use cell phones, which poll-takers can’t because it’s illegal.
Uncooperative pollees are wrecking the statistical samples, which is to say that their poll results are horsehockey. To adjust for the fact that you don’t answer their calls—especially you younger, older, poorer, inner-city, or rural people—the pollsters do a little secretive statistical jig on their final reports. Even though you don’t respond . . . they simply pretend you do.
Yes, they essentially make up the numbers . . . and you wondered why the polls never seem to reflect what you think.



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Filed Under: Voting rights