Critical Thinking about Political Polling

In the NY times today: When Polling is More Like Guessing, by Nate Cohen.
Click Here
He leads with this opinion:
“Election analysts and forecastersdepend on accurate polling. Unfortunately, there’s not much of it so far this cycle.

Many of the surveys to date have been conducted by firms that use automated phone surveys and combine deficient sampling with baffling weighting practices.”

He goes on to provide evidence of some of the disconnects between polling results in terms of projected demographics versus likely demographics about who will vote. Differences in demographics will alter predictions.

To the extent that polling predictions affect actual votes–which is an interesting research question–it is perhaps more than just an argument about demographics.

PEW: Millenials In Adulthood

PEW just published a study on the Millenials–PEW Millenial compariosn

They found:

“The Millennial generation is forging a distinctive path into adulthood. Now ranging in age from 18 to 33, they are relatively unattached to organized politics and religion, linked by social media, burdened by debt, distrustful of people, in no rush to marry— and optimistic about the future.

They are also America’s most racially diverse generation. In all of these dimensions, they are different from today’s older generations. And in many, they are also different from older adults back when they were the age Millennials are now.

Pew Research Center surveys show that half of Millennials (50%) now describe themselves as political independents and about three-in-ten (29%) say they are not affiliated with any religion. These are at or near the highest levels of political and religious disaffiliation recorded for any generation in the quarter-century that the Pew Research Center has been polling on these topics.

At the same time, however, Millennials stand out for voting heavily Democratic and for liberal views on many political and social issues, ranging from a belief in an activist government to support for same-sex marriage and marijuana legalization.”

PEw voting by Age Over Time
















See Report:Click Here


PEW Poll on Income Inequality

PEW released a report on its polling data about income inequality. To see their report: Click Here
They state:
pew income inequality poll 2014“There is broad public agreement that economic inequality has grown over the past decade. But as President Obama prepares for Tuesday’s State of the Union, where he is expected to unveil proposals for dealing with inequality and poverty, there are wide partisan differences over how much the government should – and can – do to address these issues.”

“Partisans Agree Inequality Has Grown, But Differ Sharply over Gov’t Action: The new national survey by the Pew Research Center and USA TODAY, conducted Jan. 15-19 among 1,504 adults, finds that 65% believe the gap between the rich and everyone else has increased in the last 10 years. This view is shared by majorities across nearly all groups in the public, including 68% of Democrats and 61% of Republicans.” Continue reading »

New York Times Poll: Views on Obama, Congress, and Current Events

With another fiscal deadline looming in Washington, The New York Times and CBS News asked Americans for their opinion on the federal budget, government spending and the President’s job performance–as well as Congress’s job performance, iews on the vaffordable health care, who to blame for a government shutdown, and possible budget cuts.
While the President is not seen as doing a good job, Congress is perceived even more poorly, with an 80 percent disapproval rating. Most people are not pleased with the idea of a government shutdown, and while there is plenty of shared blame, Republicans are somewhat more likely to be held accountable. There are indeed negative views about ObamaCare, although finer analysis might show variations based on how well people understand the law. Interesting, when it comes to budget cuts, about half of the people surveyed identified the military.
The survey results can be found here: Click Here

The poll provides an excellent description of how the poll was conducted, margins of error, and other nonsampling errors. Check it out: Click Here

So Far, Majority of Americans Oppose Missile Strike in Syria

Q: The United States says it has determined that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons in the civil war there. Given this, do you support or oppose the United States launching missile strikes against the Syrian government?
59% oppose, 36% support launching missile strikes.

Even more oppose arming the rebels: 70% oppose, 27% support.

The Washington Post – ABC News poll: Click Here
The Post-ABC poll was conducted by telephone Aug. 28-Sept. 1, 2013, among a random national sample of 1,012 adults, including users of both conventional and cellular phones. The margin of sampling error for overall results is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Tracking Congress:
Where Things Stand, as of September 4th,
Aaron Blake, published his whip count on the Washington Post Blog:

22 Senators are for, 50 are undecided. 22 are against or leaning that way.
19 Representatives are for, 103 are undecided, and the rest are against or leaning that way.
Click Here for charts

Views on Occupational Groups: Military high, Lawyers Low

pew perception of occupations 2013This out from PEW: Public Esteem for Military Still High, Clergy in the Middle, Lawyers at the Bottom, POLL July 11, 2013
PEW asked about 10 occupations in terms of their perceived contribution to society.

They wrote:
“Americans continue to hold the military in high regard, with more than three-quarters of U.S. adults (78%) saying that members of the armed services contribute “a lot” to society’s well-being. That’s a modest decline from 84% four years ago, the last time the Pew Research Center asked the public to rate various professions. But the military still tops the list of 10 occupational groups, followed closely by teachers, medical doctors, scientists and engineers. A solid majority of the public says each of those occupations contributes a lot to society.

“By contrast, just 37% of Americans surveyed think the clergy make a big contribution to society, about the same as in 2009. Regular churchgoers tend to be more positive about ministers, priests and other clergy members. But even among adults who say they attend religious services at least once a week, only about half (52%) rate clergy in general as contributing “a lot” to society, while 29% say the clergy make “some” contribution, and 11% say the clergy contribute “not very much” or “nothing at all.”

“While there have been modest declines in public appreciation for several occupations, the order of the ratings is roughly the same as it was in 2009. Among the 10 occupations the survey asked respondents to rate, lawyers are at the bottom of the list. About one-in-five Americans (18%) say lawyers contribute a lot to society, while 43% say they make some contribution; fully a third (34%) say lawyers contribute not very much or nothing at all.”
View Article Here

PEW: Favorability of the Federal Government is Lowest Ever

A new poll by PEW found that “Even as public views of the federal government in Washington have fallen to another new low, the public buy generic viagra online continues to see their state and local governments in a favorable light. Overall, 63% say they have a favorable opinion of their local government, virtually unchanged over recent years. And 57% express a favorable view of their state government – a five-point uptick from last year. By contrast, just 28% rate the federal government in Washington favorably. That is down five points from a year ago and the cialis for prostate lowest percentage ever in a Pew Research Center survey.”           See Report:Click Here Continue reading »

PEW: Low Trust in Government, Majority Feels Government is Threat to Liberty

January 31, 2013: “The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Jan. 9-13 among 1,502 adults, finds that 53% think that the federal government threatens their own personal rights and freedoms while 43% disagree.”

The low trust in government continues, while 26% is a slight increase, it is nothing to rave about. Favorability of Congress continues to decline as well. The shenanigans with the federal budget and so called fiscal cliff probably were contributing factors..








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PEW Report: Wide Support for Women in Combat

PEW just released a report on its polling results for allowing women in combat.

They write:
“The survey, conducted after Defense Secretary Leon Panetta ended the ban on women serving in ground combat units, finds that most Americans (58%) think that the policy shift will improve opportunities for women in the military.”

“The public broadly supports the military’s decision to lift restrictions on women in combat. Two-thirds (66%) support allowing women in the military to serve in ground units that engage in close combat, while just 26% are opposed. Opinion on this question is little changed from a Washington Post/ABC News survey two years ago.”

Continue reading »