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Reply #8: C'mon, he makes us look bad with all this misrepresentation of polls [View All]

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jobycom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-05 11:38 AM
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8. C'mon, he makes us look bad with all this misrepresentation of polls
I'm not even arguing whether Bush won or lost, or whether there was cheating or not. This is just not evidence. It's a gross misrepresentation of how polling is done.

A poll figures out how the 100 million people will vote by questioning 500 or 1000 of them. We all know this. They use formulas to determine what groups of people will vote, and how they will vote as a group. So they find a couple of token white rich guys, and few token middle class women, and a few people from every other demographic group they think will matter, and they get their opinions, and they calculate totals from those numbers, using their formulas.

Their formulas are based on guesses. These guesses take into account how people voted in the last few elections, and a bunch of other details. But they are just guesses. If the formulas are wrong, then the results are wrong. The same is true of the exit polls. They take random samples and extrapolate outwards. Exit polls are even less reliable, because until the final voting is tallied, they don't know how to use the data they have. They have to factor in regional turnout, precinct turnout, total turnout, to understand what groups are voting and what groups aren't.

One minor change in turnout throws all polls off. They guess that equal numbers of Repubs and Dems will vote, for instance, but for some reason Dems stay home in greater numbers than expected, or they guess that all of the new voters registered will vote for Kerry but instead a larger than expected number vote for Bush. How could they know that, since they are new voters? Every pollster makes similar assumptions, and if those assumptions are off, they affect all the polls.

Polls are just educated guesses. That's why they come with such large Margins of Error. They aren't evidence unless you can tie them to something else. These types of formulas mean nothing, and that't the reason no investigative journalist is paying attention to such numbers.

Again, I'm not arguing that there wasn't cheating. But to prove it you need evidence, not number games.
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