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MinM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-10-12 08:17 AM
Original message
The Problem with Polls
Nate Silver pooh pooh's Fox and CNN polls

Two new polls show Obama opening a nice lead, as you may know; but Gallup remains steady and Rasmussen shows a Romney lead; plus people have been watching the olympics. Therefore, Obama's lead has increased just a tiny bit or none at all; that basically the weak argument Nate Silver just made.

Romney "shouldn't panic" because he's down by 7 and 9 in these two polls, Nate concludes.

I'd like to add that people can watch the olympics AND read a newspaper or watch something else such as the news that Romney is hiding something on his taxes and outsourced jobs.

Another piece of the argument crumbles when once realizes that Rasmussen has a a vested intersest in the outcome of this race:

Read Nate's piece here: /

A little history on Polls...
...Hadley Cantril, a member of the faculty of Princeton University Department of Psychology, had used a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation to establish the Office of Public Opinion Research. A supporter of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and intervention in the Second World War he was also an agent for the British Security Coordination and did work for the anti-isolationist group, Fight for Freedom. Cantril was of the opinion that Roosevelt needed "an improving body of public opinion to sustain him in each measure of assistance to Britain and the USSR." Cantril was also an advisor to George H. Gallup and worked closely with David Ogilvy, who was employed by Gallup and was also an agent for BSC.

Another BSC agent, Sanford Griffith, established a company Market Analysts Incorporated and was initially commissioned to carry out polls for the anti-isolationist Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies. Griffith's assistant, Francis Adams Henson, a long time activist against the Nazi Germany government, later recalled: "My job was to use the results of our polls, taken among their constituents, to convince on-the-fence Congressmen and Senators that they should favor more aid to Britain."

As Richard W. Steele has pointed out: "public opinion polls had become a political weapon that could be used to inform the views of the doubtful, weaken the commitment of opponents, and strengthen the conviction of supporters." William Stephenson later admitted: "Great care was taken beforehand to make certain the poll results would turn out as desired. The questions were to steer opinion toward the support of Britain and the war... Public Opinion was manipulated through what seemed an objective poll."

Michael Wheeler, the author of Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics: The Manipulation of Public Opinion in America (2007) has pointed out how this could have been done: "Proving that a given poll is rigged is difficult because there are so many subtle ways to fake data... a clever pollster can just as easily favor one candidate or the other by making less conspicuous adjustments, such as allocating the undecided voters as suits his needs, throwing out certain interviews on the grounds that they were non-voters, or manipulating the sequence and context within which the questions are asked... Polls can even be rigged without the pollster knowing it.... Most major polling organizations keep their sampling lists under lock and key."

The main target of these polls concerned the political views of leading politicians opposed to Lend-Lease. This included Hamilton Fish. In February 1941, a poll of Fish's constituents said that 70 percent of them favored the passage of Lend-Lease. James H. Causey, president of the Foundation for the Advancement of Social Sciences, was highly suspicious of this poll and called for a congressional investigation.

It has been argued that both Arthur Vandenberg and Thomas Connally were targeted by British Security Coordination in order to persuade the Senate to pass the Lend-Lease proposal. Mary S. Lovell, the author of Cast No Shadow (1992) believes that the spy, Elizabeth Thorpe Pack (codename "Cynthia") who was working for the BSC, played an important role in this: "Cynthia's second mission for British Security Coordination was to try and convert the opinions of senators Connally and Vandenberg into, if not support, a less heated opposition to the Lend Lease bill which literally meant the difference between survival and defeat for the British. Other agents of both sexes were given similar missions with other politicians... with Vandenberg she was successful; with Senator Connally, chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, she was not."

During the Lend-Lease debate Vandenberg announced on the floor of the Senate that he had finally decided to support the loan. He warned his colleagues: "If we do not lead some other great and powerful nation will capitalize our failure and we shall pay the price of our default." Richard N. Gardner, the author of Sterling Dollar Diplomacy in Current Perspective (1980), has argued that Vandenberg's speech was the "turning point in the Senate Debate" with sixteen other Republicans voting in favour of the bill.

On 11th March 1941, Congress passed the Lend-Lease Act. The legislation gave President Franklin D. Roosevelt the powers to sell, transfer, exchange, lend equipment to any country to help it defend itself against the Axis powers. A sum of $50 billion was appropriated by Congress for Lend-Lease. The money went to 38 different countries with Britain receiving over $31 billion.

When David Ogilvy read an early draft of The Quiet Canadian (1962) he requested that William Stephenson put pressure on H. Montgomery Hyde to remove all references to Hadley Cantril and George H. Gallup: "I beg you to remove all references to Hadley Cantril and Dr. Gallup... Dr. Gallup was and still is, a great friend of England. What you have written would cause him anguish - and damage. One does not want to damage one's friends... In subsequently years Hadley Cantril has done a vast amount of secret polling for the United States Government. What you have written would compromise him - and SIS (MI6) does not make a practice of compromising its friends."

Hat tip to DUer Marzupialis and EFer John Simkin.
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MinM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-10-12 09:41 AM
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1. Here's a Poll I believe...
Majority Of Americans Want NBC To Air Olympics Live: Gallup

The Huffington Post | By Katherine Fung Posted: 08/09/2012 12:54 pm Updated: 08/09/2012 1:00 pm

The majority of Americans want to see changes in NBC's coverage of the Olympics, according to a new poll by Gallup.

The survey, which polled over 1,000 adults, showed that most Americans want NBC to air the Olympics live and again on tape delay in prime time.

A vast majority of those who report watching the Olympics "a lot" prefer that approach (71%). Even those who are watching "a little" and "none" of the games prefer both live broadcasts and tape delayed coverage (57% and 43% respectively).

The results should come as no surprise. NBC has come under fire for airing the Olympics on tape delay, and for numerous editing decisions. The network was hit for cutting out a tribute to the victims of the 7/7 terrorist attacks from its broadcast of the opening ceremony, spoiling Missy Franklin's gold win and missing another huge moment. The heavy barrage of criticism has even produced the Twitter hashtag #NBCfail.

Still, NBC has defended televising the Olympics on tape delay, citing research that shows people who know the results ahead of time are even more likely to watch the events. The 2012 games have done very well for the network, bringing in huge ratings and the most advertising sales ever for an Olympics.

Although NBC's ratings, as the story concedes, would tend to refute this.
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MinM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-14-12 09:31 PM
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2. "Non-partisan" push poll survey. Caller ID said "UTAH" (no phone number) - RED FLAG!
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MinM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-21-12 06:51 AM
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3. Public Policy Polling: "GOP voters dislike McCaskill so much they're not going to vote for her..."
Poll: Akin still leads McCaskill after legitimate rape comment
By Laura E. Davis | The Ticket 7 hrs ago

A poll conducted and released on Monday found that U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, who's under fire for his comments about "legitimate rape," still has an edge over Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill in Missouri's Senate race.

Public Policy Polling, a North Carolina-based Democratic polling firm, has Akin leading McCaskill by one point, 44 percent to 43 percent. That's not much different from PPP's last poll of the race, which also found Akin ahead by one point, 45 percent to 44 percent.

But Akin's sustained lead doesn't mean Missouri voters agree with what the Republican candidate said. The poll found that 75 percent say Akin's comments were inappropriate, and 79 percent say they disagree with them.

In releasing the results, PPP concluded that "GOP voters dislike McCaskill so much they're not going to vote for her no matter what their nominee does."

"This looks like it will be a closely contested race if Akin stays in," PPP President Dean Debnam said in a statement that came with the poll results.

Akin apologized for his comments on Monday but vowed to stay in the race in the face of criticism from his own party and some calls for him to quit, saying on Mike Huckabee's radio show "I'm not a quitter" and taking to Twitter to say that he's "in this race to win."

Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 07:54 AM PDT
PPPPTD: Public Policy Polling Performance to Date

by Red SoxFollow

Roughly two years after it came to light that Research 2000 appeared to be cooking their numbers, I think it's worth evaluating the performance thus far of Public Policy Polling (PPP) as they have taken over polling for dKos. The evaluation isn't any indictment of the ethics or business practices of PPP, but rather an attempt to determine whether PPP's numbers do accurately reflect the state of public opinion. Put more simply, I'd like to learn whether PPP has a "house effect" that favors Democrats and whether that needs to be considered when weighing PPP's results.

Nate Silver and others have documented a house effect and resulting bias in favor of Republican candidates on the part of Rasmussen Reports. Silver defines both as follows:

When I talk about a house effect, I mean what results a pollster shows relative to those of other polling firms. If everyone else shows the Republican Sharron Angle ahead by 3 points in Nevada and some other pollster comes along showing Harry Reid ahead by 5 points, that would be an 8-point Democratic-leaning house effect.

By bias, I mean how a pollsters results compared with the actual outcome of the election. In the example above since Mr. Reid won by about 5 points the pollster showing him winning by that margin would have an unbiased poll, even though it had a strong house effect. In contrast, the pollsters with Ms. Angle ahead would have a strong Republican-leaning bias, even though they hadnt had any house effect.

Put another way: house effects are what we look at before the election; bias is what we look at after the election...
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MinM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-22-12 10:19 AM
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4. I Just Don't Believe The Polls That This Race Is So Close.....
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MinM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-30-12 09:47 AM
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5. Those damned polls: The beige states
...the polling firm Mitchell Research has been consistently giving Romney the advantage in Michigan.

Personally, I think Gallup and Rasmussen offer the most accurate polling -- in this sense: The degree to which the conservative polls differs from other polls represents the percentage of fraud that the Republican vote-riggers would dare to attempt. That difference equals, if you will, the weight of the thumb on the scale...

Read more
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MinM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-06-12 10:39 AM
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6. Report: White House prodded Gallup to change poll methodology
DOJ Gallup lawsuit came after Axelrod criticized pollsters | The Daily Caller

Internal emails between senior officials at The Gallup Organization, obtained by The Daily Caller, show senior Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod attempting to subtly intimidate the respected polling firm when its numbers were unfavorable to the president.

After Gallup declined to change its polling methodology, Obamas Department of Justice hit it with an unrelated lawsuit that appears damning on its face.

TheDC is withholding the identities of the Gallup officials to protect them from potential retaliation from Obamas campaign and his administration.

In April, Axelrod tweeted that a poll showing Mitt Romney with a 48-43 percent lead over Obama was saddled with some methodological problems, directing his Twitter followers to read a National Journal story criticizing Gallup polls showing a Romney lead...

Read more:
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MinM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-28-12 11:30 AM
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MinM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-28-12 11:36 AM
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8. 1960 Presidential Election
In 1959 John F. Kennedy recruited Harris to do all his polling for the forthcoming presidential campaign. At the time George Gallup dominated this industry but was believed to be a strong Republican Party supporter. (In fact it later emerged he had been fiddling the results in order to get Republicans elected). Harris was a Democrat and was on record as saying: "For this poll-taker's part, he will never undertake to work for any candidate he believes will set back human progress."

Kennedy paid Harris $400,000 for his surveys, much more than a political pollster had ever received before. Harris argued in his autobiography, The Anguish of Change (1973): "I don't think any poll-taker before or since has sat on a strategy committee. Joe Kennedy, Bobby and Jack Kennedy, and I - we were the inner strategy committee. So I was part of and privy to the whole bloody campaign. The only people who got the polls were Jack and Bobby, nobody else." Elmo Roper attacked those "so-called public opinion researchers," who allow their polls to be exploited "rather openly for propaganda purposes."

After his victory in the 1960 Presidential Election, Kennedy apparently told Harris that "maybe next to me you've got more power than anybody else in this country." Harris agreed and he told the New York Times: "When polls figure largely in the outcome of a major victory, such as... President Kennedy's in Virginia in May, 1960, the poll-taker becomes a kind of political miracle worker." One former Kennedy aide commented: "Face it, politicians have big egos, bigger than anybody's. Harris was smart. He'd come in with these polls that showed that everybody adored Kennedy, and Kennedy ate it up." Ted Sorensen disagreed with this assessment and claimed that Kennedy "felt that a pollster's desire to please a client and influence strategy sometimes unintentionally coloured his analysis."

Michael Wheeler, the author of Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics: The Manipulation of Public Opinion in America (2007), has pointed out: "During the campaign he would sometimes engage in flights of fancy about his future after the election... some people close to Harris at the time say he would wistfully imagine himself as director of the CIA one day and secretary of commerce the next... Having supposedly masterminded a presidential campaign, Harris became the number one political pollster. Democrats who wanted to win came to him, and they paid top dollar for what they got."
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MinM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-01-12 01:27 PM
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9. What is Scotty Rasmussen up to?
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MinM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-11-12 07:17 AM
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10. George H. Gallup, the CIA and polling organizations

The next year, (Edwin) Wilson jumped to the Special Operations Division, which was in charge of covert actions. First, he served as an advance man for Hubert Humphrey's vice-presidential campaign, allowing the Agency to keep tabs on Johnson's running mate. After the election, Wilson opened a front business: Maritime Consulting Associates, an ocean freight forwarder that handled sea logistics for CIA programs. The Agency man in charge of Maritime was Tom Clines, deputy chief of the division's maritime branch.

Wilson ran Maritime Consulting as if it were a regular company. He recruited a figurehead president and worked hard: weapons to Angola, communications equipment to Morocco, materiel to Laos.He also found non-Agency business to conduct-activity that put cash in his pockets. For Langley's fronts, profits meant better cover. Wilson had a golden gig. There was little auditing of his books. No one noticed when he padded his costs. He could be both a secret agent and a wealthy man.

In their 2004 book with a lengthy title (All is Clouded by Desire; Global Banking, Money Laundering, and International Organized Crime) authors Alan Block and Constance Weaver wrote that Wilson's Maritime Consulting Associates "was also a front for a polling firm established in the Philippines in collaboration with George Gallup to influence Philippine politics." ...

After leaving The Washington Post in 1977, Carl Bernstein spent six months looking at the relationship of the CIA and the press during the Cold War years. His 25,000-word cover story, published in Rolling Stone on October 20, 1977, is reprinted below.


How Americas Most Powerful News Media Worked Hand in Glove with the Central Intelligence Agency and Why the Church Committee Covered It Up


In 1953, Joseph Alsop, then one of Americas leading syndicated columnists, went to the Philippines to cover an election. He did not go because he was asked to do so by his syndicate. He did not go because he was asked to do so by the newspapers that printed his column. He went at the request of the CIA.

Alsop is one of more than 400 American journalists who in the past twenty‑five years have secretly carried out assignments for the Central Intelligence Agency, according to documents on file at CIA headquarters. Some of these journalists relationships with the Agency were tacit; some were explicit. There was cooperation, accommodation and overlap. Journalists provided a full range of clandestine servicesfrom simple intelligence gathering to serving as go‑betweens with spies in Communist countries. Reporters shared their notebooks with the CIA. Editors shared their staffs. Some of the journalists were Pulitzer Prize winners, distinguished reporters who considered themselves ambassadors without‑portfolio for their country. Most were less exalted: foreign correspondents who found that their association with the Agency helped their work; stringers and freelancers who were as interested in the derring‑do of the spy business as in filing articles; and, the smallest category, full‑time CIA employees masquerading as journalists abroad. In many instances, CIA documents show, journalists were engaged to perform tasks for the CIA with the consent of the managements of Americas leading news organizations...
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