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Reply #45: "Beyond MOE" calculation assumes "all things being equal" [View All]

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jwmealy Donating Member (35 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-30-04 07:40 PM
Response to Reply #44
45. "Beyond MOE" calculation assumes "all things being equal"
Nice ta meetcha!

Your margin of error probability calculations, of course, assume that the error stems from the sample diverging from the entire data pool by chance alone--and not for some identifiable reason that would make the sample "non-representative". Fraud would obviously be one possible reason. Personally, I have remained genuinely open to the possiblity that there is a specific, and non-fraud-related, explanation for a certain amount of red shift phenomenon in general.

For example:

1. People who voted for Bush may well have been more likely to be embarrassed about their vote--because he has been such a lying, war-making, money-squandering president. Nonetheless, many people may have gone into the polls thinking that Bush was going to do something to their immediate personal benefit--such as cut taxes--but they knew at some level inside themselves that it was immoral, shortsighted and selfish to have voted for him on that basis. Hence they may not have felt like chatting with the exit pollsters. This could skew the exit polls by some measurable amount (say, between 3% and 6%) towards Kerry.

2. Let's assume that lots of voters belonged to that fabled group, the "undecideds". Many of these will have originally voted for Bush in 2000, but then got sick of him and thought they were probably going to vote for Kerry. Many, at the last second, may have flip-flopped and voted for Bush again, on the basis of "better the devil you know". (I recall this effect manifesting itself dramatically when Margaret Thatcher was re-elected in 1988, despite the fact that the polls had shown her to be doomed.) Just like the Britons, who re-elected Thatcher after she aggressively attacked Argentina, lots of Americans are probably inwardly attracted to Bush's policy of macho pre-emptive war, but they prefer not to admit that to themselves consciously. Such voters could come out of the polls wondering why they hadnt followed through on their intention to "ditch Bush even if it means voting Democratic this time", and hence they mightnt feel like talking to exit pollsters. This could also skew the exit polls by some measurable amount (say, between 3% and 6%) towards Kerry.

None of this, of course, explains why there should be nearly two-fold exaggerations of red shift where Bush stood to gain the most.


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