Thursday, September 13, 2012

Presidential Push Polling

A push poll is a poll taken so that it's results are intentionally distorted. Here is one way of doing it: What is your favorite AFC South team in the National Football League? A. Houston Texans B. Tennessee Titans C. Jacksonville Jaguars Let's say I conducted a survey of Allen County residents, and I used that question with those choices. Would I get an accurate picture of which football teams Allen County likes? Or would you say that I left out an option that a statistically significant number of people would have chosen if it was actually available? The same goes for poll questions that begins with "If the election were held today". Every now and then, I get phone calls from pollsters who ask me who I play on voting for. I know my options, and I tell them my preference. But when a pollster only presents "Mitt Romney" and "Barack Obama" as possible options, there is no way that its results will resemble the outcome of the election. An accurate poll must include "Gary Johnson" as an option.

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