Wednesday, February 21, 2007

NY Post Reports False Poll

The NY Post is so depressed, they're not even trying. Public opinion is moving away from their false stories, and so they're not even pretending that their stories have any rational basis.

They have a front page story today that reads "Finish The Job." The article begins:
February 21, 2007 -- In a dramatic finding, a new poll shows a solid majority of Americans still wants to win the war in Iraq - and keep U.S. troops there until the Baghdad government can take over.

Strong majorities also say victory is vital to the War on Terror and that Americans should support President Bush even if they have concerns about the way the war is being handled, according to the survey conducted by Public Opinion Strategies.

The poll found that 57 percent of Americans supported "finishing the job in Iraq" - keeping U.S. troops there until the Iraqis can provide security on their own. Forty-one percent disagreed.

The article is packed with clearly non-neutral language from the poll.
Despite last November's electoral victories by anti-war Democrats, the survey found little support among voters for a quick pullout of U.S. forces.

Only 25 percent of those surveyed agreed with the statement, "I don't really care what happens in Iraq after the U.S. leaves, I just want the troops brought home." Seventy-four percent disagreed.

Two of the other options also present talking points.
The next most popular policy, favored by 27 percent, was expressed by the statement: "The Iraq war is the front line in the battle against terrorism and our troops should stay there and do whatever it takes to restore order until the Iraqis can govern and provide security to the country."

The fourth option, favored by 23 percent, was the statement: "While I don't agree that the U.S. should be in the war, our troops should stay there and do whatever it takes to restore order until the Iraqis can govern and restore security to their country."

This is what's known as a Push Poll. The results are not important (despite the Post's treatment of this as an actual poll, and, sadly, my dear friend Pat Kiernan from NY1 reporting this as "news") - what's important is the message communicated through the "options." The range of options does not properly represent th range of possible opinions. It is skewed towards a certain viewpoint.

But most importantly, who is this polling group called Public Opinion Strategies? Strategies? From their website:
About half of our research is dedicated to winning elections. Our political client base includes 18 U.S. Senators, eight Governors, fifty-four Members of Congress, and numerous state legislative caucuses. The other half of our work is involved in complex public policy battles, working with industry coalitions, government entities and private companies. This work extends to corporate image, community relations, and crisis management research for local companies, Fortune 500 corporations and industry associations throughout the country.
Your goal is political, then why the fuck could this poll possibly be covered as news?

Hilariously enough, their About Us page writes this:
Here's who we are not: a passive participant that simply produces numbers.

* We are strategic partners.
* We use data to make decisions.
* We don't hesitate to have an opinion, make a judgment, and then live or die by the results.
My friends, that is what a poll IS: "a passive participant that simply produces numbers."

And secondly, regarding that final bullet point - how'd that election work out for ya? Does the "dying" by the result start soon? Are your clients satisfied with your advice during the last election?

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