Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Polling & Politics “The First thing we ought to do is line up all the pollsters and shoot ‘em.” Senator Ernest F. Hollings.

Similar presentations


Presentation on theme: "Polling & Politics “The First thing we ought to do is line up all the pollsters and shoot ‘em.” Senator Ernest F. Hollings."— Presentation transcript:

1

2 Polling & Politics “The First thing we ought to do is line up all the pollsters and shoot ‘em.” Senator Ernest F. Hollings

3 Criticism of the media’s handling of the polls

4 Too much attention is given to the horse race aspects of the campaign, and polling about and coverage of issues are slighted.Too much attention is given to the horse race aspects of the campaign, and polling about and coverage of issues are slighted.

5  Survey results can be altered by questions wording, methodological differences, and sampling strategies, and the media are not well enough informed about polling practices to alert the public.  The media report findings as if they true for all time rather than being a snapshot of opinion.  The articles must be simplistic  Journalists have a tendency to oversimplify, exaggerate, and fragment. The methodology of the survey rarely is covered.

6 Polls get more costly the more they are “filtered,” filtering being a process of refinement that scrutinizes, separates, codifies, and “breaks down” the “don’t knows.” So it’s not surprising that you read questions like “Are the poor lazy?” (Los Angeles Times) rather than “Does the Federal Reserve’s tight money policy favor the rich, the poor, or neither?”

7 Findings seldom are put in to context. The change between surveys or whether the latest survey agrees with previous studies often is ignored.

8  Polls interfere with the election process and have become more powerful as other elements, such as the role of the political parties, have grown weaker.  Citizens answering preprimary polls are responding to name recognition only. Thus lesser known candidates begin to be frozen out of the process, with workers and contributions drying up.

9 After winning the Iowa caucuses in January 1976 Carter became the presidential choice of 12 percent of Democrats, according to the February 1976 CBS/New York Times poll. He went on to take the New Hampshire primary, make the covers of Time and Newsweek, and win primaries in Florida and Illinois. Within one month the same poll made him the first choice of 46 percent of Democrats. There are two views about this. The first is that of former Congressman Mo Udall, who as a Democratic presidential candidate in ’76, objected to the pollsters’ practice of “defining” a “front-runner” in this way before most voters had gotten near a booth and long before any real policy arguments had been heard. He later put it thus: “It’s like a football game, in which you say to the first team that makes a first down with ten yards, “Hereafter your team has a special rule. Your first downs are five yards. And if you make three of those you get a two-yard first down. And we’re going to let your first touch down count twenty-one points. Now the rest of you bastards play catch-up under the regular rules.”After winning the Iowa caucuses in January 1976 Carter became the presidential choice of 12 percent of Democrats, according to the February 1976 CBS/New York Times poll. He went on to take the New Hampshire primary, make the covers of Time and Newsweek, and win primaries in Florida and Illinois. Within one month the same poll made him the first choice of 46 percent of Democrats. There are two views about this. The first is that of former Congressman Mo Udall, who as a Democratic presidential candidate in ’76, objected to the pollsters’ practice of “defining” a “front-runner” in this way before most voters had gotten near a booth and long before any real policy arguments had been heard. He later put it thus: “It’s like a football game, in which you say to the first team that makes a first down with ten yards, “Hereafter your team has a special rule. Your first downs are five yards. And if you make three of those you get a two-yard first down. And we’re going to let your first touch down count twenty-one points. Now the rest of you bastards play catch-up under the regular rules.”

10 By conducting their own polls, the media are making news.

11 Polls are deployed only when they might prove useful—that is, helpful to the powers that be in their quest to maintain their position and influence. Indeed, the polling industry is a powerful ally of depoliticization and its counterpart, which is consensus. The polls undoubtedly help decide what people think, but their most important long-term influence may be on how people think. The interrogative process is very distinctly weighted against the asking of an intelligent question or the recording of a thoughtful answer. And, as all pollsters will tell you privately, the answers to poll questions are very greatly influenced by what has lately been defined as important by the television news. Since the television news, in turn, relies upon opinion polls to determine what is really going on, the range of discourse is increasingly constricted.

12 Stupid answers traditionally come from stupid questions. Stupid questions, however, need not come from stupid people.Stupid answers traditionally come from stupid questions. Stupid questions, however, need not come from stupid people.

13 Biased? Meaningless? More meaningless than the ABC News/Washington Post poll of July 1985, which actually asked interviewees whether or not they thought Ronald Reagan’s cancer would recur before he left office? No fewer than 45 percent solemnly responded that it wouldn’t, and 33 percent said that they thought it would, and only 12 percent gave the sane reply that they had no idea—“choice,” on this occasion, not being “forced.”

14 Meaning Define Polls, Not Numbers

15 What Do You Think? “Like many other technologies in politics,” says Pat Caddell, polling is essentially “an instrument for deception whereby the truth is obscured and the public will be excluded and ignored.” Which is a former pollster’s way of calling polling an increasingly dangerous substitute for democracy, if not the precise negation of it.


Download ppt "Polling & Politics “The First thing we ought to do is line up all the pollsters and shoot ‘em.” Senator Ernest F. Hollings."

Similar presentations


Ads by Google