Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Warning: Polls Aren't Trustworthy

Can you imagine this? Pollsters actually warned people reading their poll not to take the results too seriously! Sadly, though, the poll in question was not a presidential poll; instead, it showed the possibility that California voters will, after all, vote against gay marriage:
SAN FRANCISCO—The red-hot issue of same-sex marriage continues to sharply divide Californians, according to a poll conducted last week. If a vote were held today on Proposition 8, a state ballot initiative that would reverse the decision of the state's Supreme Court earlier this year and eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry, 48 percent of likely voters say they would vote yes, supporting a ban, while 45 percent say they would vote to leave the law alone. Seven percent of voters remain undecided. The initiative, which will appear on the ballot in two weeks, requires a majority to pass.

Pollsters caution that the poll may not be a perfect measure of where California voters currently stand on the issue. "Polling on ballot measures in general is an inexact science, and polling on homosexuality in general is a tricky business," says a description of the SurveyUSA poll, which has a margin of error of 4 percentage points. "SurveyUSA urges all who examine these results to not put too fine a point on the 3 points that separate 'Yes' and 'No' today." [Emphasis added--E.M.]

As television advertisements for and against Prop 8 have begun to flood the airwaves here over the past month, garnering almost as much attention as the presidential race, it has become increasingly clear that California voters remain deeply divided on same-sex marriage. In a half-dozen separate polls conducted over the past month, likely voters have been deadlocked on Proposition 8 each time. Through September, supporters of same-sex marriage appeared to be ahead by more than 5 points. But over the past several weeks, as the first pro-Prop 8 advertisements began to appear on TV—drawing criticism from legal experts, who have said their claims about same-sex marriage's impact on churches' tax exemptions and public-school education are misleading—the polls began to swing the other way.

Translation, for those who don't speak MSM: We want you to believe polls when they're going our way, especially when they show Barack Obama ahead by dubiously large margins; we want you to put your full faith in them and trust that we're right. However, when a poll seems to indicate that an issue isn't going our way, we will suddenly remember that polling is an inexact science at best, and urge you to ignore the poll. Further, if advertisements that show you how we plan to reshape society into a gay-friendly, hostile-to-religion-and-traditional-family entity are influencing you, we'll editorialize right in the middle of our article by inserting an indirect quote from conveniently anonymous "legal experts" in the hopes that you will doubt the veracity of the ads instead of doubting us; the number of people who doubt the MSM can't be measured accurately by any poll ever created, largely because most of us failed math and can't count that high.

Watching the machinations of the press as they continue to pretend they're an unbiased, objective group of citizen-reporters with no agendas of their own, gosh golly, no sir, swear on a stack of press passes, cross my heart and hope to be reassigned to Flyover Country, has begun to be one of the most amusing pasttimes of this present election season.


Scott W. said...

Fits perfectly with my pet theory: When proggressives are winning, their rhetoric is, "Ride the wave or be crushed by it." When they are losing, it's "Why O why must we use these limiting labels like 'liberal' and 'conservative'? Let's stop all this ugly division."

Red Cardigan said...

Great observation, Scott!