Roiling the Polling Pollsters

hart in richmond

Squinting into the sun, in Richmond, 36 hours ago

I have been in Williamsburg, Virginia for a conference and a research trip outside of the conference, and, seemingly, have missed nothing.

Poll: Obamacare support, Obama approval sink to new lows
CBS News

President Obama’s job approval rating has plunged to the lowest of his presidency, according to a new CBS News poll released Wednesday, and Americans’ approval of the Affordable Care Act has dropped it’s lowest since CBS News started polling on the law….

Is the top story. CBS turning a poll they commissioned into news.

Well, compare with Republican popularity ratings, and notice how Healthgazi has been turned into this terrible issue when there’s no actual issue at all.

The GOPs got President Obama to back down on something, my own congressman Peter DeFazio returned to the invertebrate caucus and led the parade of 39 other Democratic quislings to vote for the nonsense symbolic election-record-commercial bill in the House.  Bullies dominate the news once more, and propaganda works.

And all is right in GOPpyland.

beverly park pony rides

But it is Christmas season and the Grinches do not seem to understand

I’ve gone into this before, that the ultimate problem with polling is that it’s generally a) lazy news and b) completely missing the point. Polling can only tell you, in a very real sense, what you ALREADY know.

You can ask “how many apples do you think an apple tree OUGHT to produce?” and opinions, expert and stupid are all given an equal vote and we get an “answer.” But that presupposes the audience know that apples grow on trees. If they do not, the answer may be nonsensical (as in “Family Feud”) but will SEEM to make sense because the questioner is interested in apple trees.

magritte pipe apple

Nor a painting of an apple n(e)either

Suppose that there was a superbush that would grow apples in far quicker time, tastier, more colorful, healthier,etc. Suppose the pollster or questioner didn’t know about the superbush. Even though the entire world of apple orcharding might be about to be turned on its head, the poll can only comfort the questioners about apple trees.

That is the “X” factor, the unknown that, when known, transforms the entire equation.


“Ask the next question”

Last election, the X factor was Superstorm Sandy. You couldn’t poll for it. You couldn’t weigh its implications on a scale of 1-5 with 1 = REALLY LIKE and 5 being TOTALLY DISLIKE: “How much super cool was Superstorm Sandy?”

Wh0ops! Revealed a bias. (“super cool” as opposed to the equally biased “how terrible” – remember, when you are TRYING to get a result, observation bias turns the McMartin PreSchool into a den of child molestation and a latter day Salem Witch Trials.)

Generally news polls poll for what the news organizations already know, minus the numbers, and plus the “POPULARITY” factor. But they can’t poll for Superstorm Sandy, either. And thence thus they parse self-commissioned polls for HEADLINES! (President’s approval rating plummets: How Obama will try to rebuild credibility.)

Thirty-seven percent now approve of the job Mr. Obama is doing as president, down from 46 percent in October — a nine point drop in just a month. Mr. Obama’s disapproval rating is 57 percent — the highest level for this president in CBS News Polls.

Ze sky, she falls!


I have kiwwed the wabbit …

To listen to this buffrontery would be to presume that the Presidency hangs by a thread, and that the drama queens inside the Beltway, after trying every whichaway to destroy Dreaded Obamacare, have won by declaring that they have won.

Distilling Angels into Devils

Fig. 1 – How GOPaganda works

Put out the lie about a lie, and lie about how dreadful the lie was and then poll to see how well your lies worked?

  • Free from the major news organizations.

Printing up fundraising letters, running tv commercials, etc.?

  • Couple of million.

Seizing power with aggressing brainwashing of the American people?

  • Priceless.

BastardCardNever give a sucker an even break without it.

Get a grip people. Go back to defending locker room hazing as “manly” and “warrior” behavior.

In other words (and very few of these polling questions are meaningful a month later) polls like these are just ways of manufacturing news out of one’s own navel gazing.

Or, put another way, the 0nly socially acceptable form of public masturbation in American society.

(And get this: “President’s approval rating plummets: How Obama will try to rebuild credibility.” Your polling not only generates stories, but stories ABOUT your stories. The Worm Ourbouros meets the hoop snake.)

and in other weird news

Now, since an entire marketing and demographic, p0litical and corporate broadcast industry is based on polls, how much —  on a scale of 1-5 — weight would you give this poll in the whole Skinnerian Conditioning Scheme to make you believe that an insurance website’s less than perfect implementation means the END OF CIVILIZATION AS WE KNOW IT?

Pavlov's Dog - Pampered Menial_f


Mr. Williams has a lively blog His Vorpal Sword. This is cross-posted from his blog.

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About Hart Williams

Mr. Williams grew up in Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas and New Mexico. He lived in Hollywood, California for many years. He has been published in The Washington Post, The Kansas City Star, The Santa Fe Sun, The Los Angeles Free Press, Oui Magazine, New West, and many, many more. A published novelist and a filmed screenwriter, Mr. Williams eschews the decadence of Hollywood for the simple, wholesome goodness of the plain, honest people of the land. He enjoys Luis Buñuel documentaries immensely.
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