Why do politicians and news organizations poll?
In other words, statistical science works, bitches!
For instance, Gallup reports that Americans are not in favor of any particular set of values over the prevalent opposing view, that is to favor some particular set of values called "traditional values."
By a margin of 52 to 44. The US population is 310+ million, and while the adult population is a little smaller (250+ million), getting all those many adults to vote is obviously still too expensive and a logistical nightmare.
So statisticians at Gallup chose a random sample of about 1,000 people, and they estimated the margin of error to be some +/- 4%.
All it means is that Gallup estimates that the population of the US today is likely to reject traditional values and prefer no specific set of value by a margin of 52 to 44.
Polling is of course also used to evaluate the state of the Presidential race. Mitt Romney was trailing significantly till his magical debate performance, which has not only stemmed the tide but has massively reversed it. To the extent that he is now leading in a few national polls where he was trailing before.
Naturally this has excited the rightwingnuts beyond belief, when just a fortnight ago they were screaming conspiracies in polling.
But now a pollster appeared on FOX "News" so that he can further feed the audience what they want: continuing positive news for Romney.
The article Pollster: Romney’s Already Won Florida, Virginia, North Carolina cites this:
PALEOLOGOS: We’ve already painted those red, we’re not polling any of those states again. We’re focusing on the remaining states.
Paleologos said the movement towards Romney in the three states was “overwhelming.” Obama was in particular trouble in Florida, where even before last week’s presidential debate he was only up by 46 percent to 43 percent over Romney.So it'd stand to reason that the pollster (Suffolk) had conducted polls to establish this, right?
No, it does not appear so. The last poll Suffolk conducted in Florida was conducted on 10/2/2012 (one day before the debate), and it shows Obama with a slight lead: 46 percent to 43 percent, with 7 percent undecided.
So what made Paleologos conclude that Obama was now so far behind that he's not even going to poll there? It must have been the preceding poll and the trend, right? Well, given that he polled just one other time since May and it was not in Florida, but in Virginia, not very likely.
Answer: Nothing that he or his organization polled.
Real answer: Likely budget problems, so guess as appropriate. Polls cost, and he's out of money for now.
This is precisely the bullshit that objective, alert media anchors would point out. If they were even pretending to be objective. It is FOX "News" with Bill O'Reilly fer cryin' out loud! This was never about delivering news, but propaganda.
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