Tuesday, June 29, 2004

How Will the Left Lie Now?

Another NYT/CBS poll, another rant. This one centers on a few internal poll questions that do not make the article. (And they don’t make the article because, even relative to regular poll questions, these questions are eye-glazingly dull for the non-polling aficionado.)

The first question of complaint is the percent of pollees who claim they will “definitely” vote in November 2004. It is 85%. In 2000 when the Right was as passionately fired-up to rid the political scene of the Clinton stain, 50% of registered voters went to the polls. There is reason to believe, despite Gore’s precipitous fall from sanity, to believe the Left is any more fired-up. If so, then, clearly, there is a disconnect. (Love all those commas?)

So 85% say they will “definitely” vote (I’ll use quotes because “definitely” seems to mean something other than the traditional Webster’s definition of the word), but only 78% said they were registered to vote. What’s going on? Likely the pollees are trying to please the poller by saying what they think the poller wants to hear or what the polleee believes society says they should do.

In the poll, 70% of pollees say they voted in 2000. According to the poll, 78% were registered. Connecting these two answers means the percent that voted (assuming being registered is the only way to vote) was actually 90%. Seems we are moving farther and farther away from what we actually do know - the percentage of registered voters who actually voted in 2000.

With such disparities between reportedly likelihood of voting and the actual percent of people who voted, there does not seem to be any way to read these polls with the air of authority in which they are reported. All we can successfully glean is what the reporting agency wants us to believe. The NYT titled the article, “Bush’s Rating Falls to Its Lowest Point, New Survey Finds.”

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