Dec 5, 2012

Statistics and manipulation of the ignoramuses (contd.)

[Previously in the series]

The polling madness has stopped, several pollsters, some reputed (Gallup, Rasmussen), others crackpots ( got their collective behinds handed to them, so the Silveritis has died down, a tad.

No more Jimmy Kimmel capturing selected street people/actors and producing a video that gets laughs.

No more Dick Morris explaining how Obama squeaked by with 332 electoral votes when he really expected Romney to win in a landslide with 321.

It's all about that dreaded "fiscal cliff" which seems lower than a worn out speed bump in an abandoned Target parking lot.

But I must press on with this theme of manipulation of ignoramuses. This time, there is nothing wrong really with the statistics, but it still coughs up ignoramuses.

Yes, I am talking about the PPP poll.

The highlights are:
  • 49% of GOP voters nationally say they think that ACORN stole the election for President Obama. 
  • 39% of Americans [have] an opinion about Bowles/Simpson [which is] only slightly higher than the 25% with one about Panetta/Burns.
A couple of problems. 
  1. ACORN does not exist, and has not existed for about a couple of years.
  2. There is no Panetta/Burns plan for deficit reduction.
OK, so the butt hurt for Republicans is more painful than I had imagined, considering that 25% of them also want to secede based on this poll.

While PPP is a Democratic leaning firm, its polling in the 2012 elections actually had a Republican bias. So we can sort of trust them with their statistical methodology being fair.

But the choices to present people is Jimmy Kimmelesque. While it truly reflects the ignorance of the bigoted ignoramuses in the Republican pool, and some in the general pool, the questions are more akin to push-polling--an underhanded tactic innovated by Karl Rove's inspiration, Lee Atwater. It may be karma, but all it shows is that ignoramuses can be manipulated rather easily.

Statistics is just a tool.

[Next in the series]

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