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Friday, September 28, 2012

Political Polling in a Wind Tunnel

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eric-boehlert/skewed-polls-acorn-and-ri_b_1918975.html

Political polling is not a system whereby polling questions are placed inside a wind tunnel.  It's a data system whereby one poll either validates or nullifies another. Eventually, a preponderance of information supports particular trends and projects outcomes on any of a myriad of issues, including politics.

Once upon a time, we could get away with saying "the only poll that counts is the one held on election day."  With political polling now conducted on practically a 24/7 cycle, it's clearly impossible to ignore trends in public opinion, especially regarding the elections of candidates or ballot measures.  

While the 2012, presidential election was a pollster's toss up for nearly a year, in spite of a contentious Republican primary and an economy in distress, the polls are now trending toward President Obama being re-elected.  

Of course,  this probability sends shivers up the spines of right wing extremists, who wasted many millions of campaign contribution dollars on their candidates and political action committees, because, they believe, their influence can buy elections and, thereby, slam dunk their rigidly extremist agenda.  These right wing "trollers" find any person they can wrestle on the Internet in social media sites like twitter or facebook.  I've been the victim of many social media "righties"- they aren't nice.  

It takes a great deal of intestinal fortitude to push back on these Internet extremists. But, I confront them, because, if they're even remotely close to being the face of a potential Romney administration, I believe they'll push our nation backwards into an austerity desert. We'll be immersed in a right wing nation where only those people who righties think are "worthy" will be allowed to call ourselves American citizens.  

One "twitterzen" suggested I'm unqualified to blog or tweet because I'm uninformed. (Hello? As though he was better informed?  I don't think so!)

Political polls are popular when they affirm a positive, but voters who disagree with the statistical analysis of polling find ways to rationalize the results.  They'll either blame the polling sample or claim the questions lack validity.  Now, a new confounding element, called the conspiracy theory, has been injected into the polling skeptics rationalization.  

Right wing extremists now claim all the political polling currently trending in favor or President Obama are concocted for the purpose of discouraging Republicans from voting, thereby assuring the president's reelection by voters who are Democrats.

These polling conspirators don't take into account the string of incompetent mis-steps made by over confident Republican candidates, especially by Governor Mitt Romney, who have generated mistrust among the electorate.  Right wing puppet candidates, like Romney and others, were largely propped up by rich moguls like the Koch brothers and their cohorts. They're now watching their legalized bribe money, paid in the form of campaign contributions, being washed down the drain like dirty soap scum.  

Obviously, the current polling trends might or might not hold in favor of President Obama's reelection.  As a matter of fact, concerns have been raised about the inability of polling queries to reach people who only own cell telephones.  This one confounding fact alone could skew polling results, except, the preponderance of polls are showing similar results.  In other words, nearly all the current polls are showing a widening lead for President Obama, so there's a very low probability that they're all wrong.  

Eric Boehlert reported in Huffington Post:

"After four years of relentlessly condemning Obama as an historic failure and all around bad person, conservatives are desperately trying to explain the disconnect between their dire Obama denunciations and the on-the-ground political reality about Obama's polling surge. They need a scapegoat, and the pollsters have been cast in the role."

While right wing conspiracists might believe political polls are conducted by people who pull results from papers spinning in a wind tunnel, the fact is, independent polls are trending in favor of President Obama winning re-election.  Polling is not a wind tunnel methodology of data aggregation.  It's as accurate as the day the data is collected and collated.  

But, polling will never be as accurate as the vote count calculated on election day.  Indeed, the old fashioned way of counting votes still trumps the polls, regardless of how the prognosticators predict the outcomes of elections. 

Nonetheless, polling conspiracists need a political reality check when it comes to buying elections.  Its time voters affirm the value of polling, regardless of whether we agree with the analysis, and to demonstrate how rich moguls cannot buy our elections. 

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