....LMB: "The Debate"....

September 30, 2004

Oh God, I'm probably going to regret this. I think I'll "liveblog" the debate, frequently updating this one single entry, during the course of the non-debate debate, until I've gone insane and thrown my TV through the window.

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Lying Media Bastards is both a radio show and website. The show airs Mondays 2-4pm PST on KillRadio.org, and couples excellent music with angry news commentary. And the website, well, you're looking at it.

Both projects focus on our media-marinated world, political lies, corporate tyranny, and the folks fighting the good fight against these monsters.

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September 18, 2004

Smoking Poll

I am generally skeptical of polls because I just can't buy into the idea that you can interview 1000 people and then say that your results will accurately reflect the opinions of 290 million other people who happen to live in the same country. Mathematical, statistical and pollster friends have tried to convince me otherwise, and maybe they're right. But it seems like a ridiculous leap of logic to me.

But there is recent evidence that we should be skeptical of current election polls, not because of my brand of philosophical suspicion, because of basic design flaws.

First, we have this column which claims that pollsters, who usually do all their surveys via telephone, do not include cellphone numbers in their phone number lottery. If you've got a cell phone and a land-line, no problem. But if you only have a cell phone, you will never be polled. According to this article from back in April, over 8 million Americans fit that category, and the number is growing. The final piece of the puzzle: most of these 8 million are young people, and most young people tend to vote Democrat. So by ignoring cell phones, pollsters may be missing many Democratic opinions.

Secondly, we see that the highly respected Gallup Poll is skewing their sample. In their "polls of likely voters", they are assuming that 40% of those coming to vote will be Republicans and 33% will be Democrats. Meaning that they make sure that 40% of the people they poll are Republicans and 33% are Democrats.

I don't dismiss this idea out of hand; what if this 40:33 ratio is a historical trend? It would only make sense to make your polls follow suit. But the blogger linked to above researches this further, and finds that since 1992, the ratios of Rep to Dem have been 34:34, 34:39, 35:39 (granted, this is according to Zogby Polls, a rival of Gallup). Just using anecdotal evidence, I think that Democrats are going to flood the fucking polls this year because they are so angry at Bush. If the ratio this year isn't at least about equal, it will be because Kerry does something amazingly stupid, like announce publicly that he worships Satan.

And finally, we have evidence of some kind of slant in a recent NYT/CBS poll. After asking if they were voting for Bush or Kerry, the pollsters asked who the subject had voted for in the last election. 36% said Bush, 28% said Gore, and 32% said they didn't vote. That is amazingly skewed. If it was going to be representative, it should've been like 50% didn't vote, 25% said Gore, 24% said Bush. That's very fishy.

I'm not saying "look at the right-wing pollster conspiracy!" I'm saying "don't trust opinion polls!" And, to some extent, "maybe Kerry is getting more votes than we think." Of course, if our media was worth a damn, they would semi-regularly do stories about the limitations of polls, or analyze what questions were asked, who was asked, and what those results actually mean in the real world. But polls are such great, easy news stories, why would they fuck up a good thing?

Posted by Jake at 10:07 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
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