Friday, September 05, 2008

The Limits of Public Opinion Research-Another Non-Ideological Political Post.

Survey USA, one of the more reputable of the 11,9754,879 organizations polling the presidential election, conducted a survey it published yesterday on Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin. One statistic jumped out of the report, and it had nothing to do with Palin herself.

Seventy-five percent of registered voters polled said they had seen Palin's speech at the Republican convention.

Now, a lot of people did see Palin speak. According to Nielsen's TV ratings, which are an electronic sample of television sets, not people answering questions, 37 million Americans tuned in to hear the newcomer from Alaska. But, lest we forget, our population is over 300 million.

Thirty-seven million people is not three-fourths of all registered voters. It's less than one-third of the people who actually VOTED in the 2004 election. There may be 150 million registered voters.

This leads one to the inescapable conclusion that a significant percentage of registered voters in the survey cited above, maybe as many as half, are big-time liars who didn't want to admit they goofed off on their civic duty and watched "Project Runway." This leads one to the further inescapable conclusion that if people will lie about something so mundane as what they watched on TV last night, their statements on something as personal as voting should be treated with considerable skepticism.


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