Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Rejiggering polls.

John Podhoretz has a post about how the Salt Lake Tribune told its pollster to go check its findings in favor of a Republican candidate because there weren't enough Democrats in the sample. The pollster complied and - voila! - the Republican's lead evaporated.

Podhoretz observes:

To recap: A newspaper pays for a poll. It doesn’t like the look of the results. So it asks the pollster to reexamine them and alter them by changing his “weights.” He does so; he may agree with the call (as the Mason Dixon pollster says he does in the story) or he may be simply serving the interests of his paying client.

And it will do so based on the partisan split—the very controversy that is dismissed so cavalierly by media types.

We only know about this one because of the highly unusual circumstances of its revision. The question you have to ask yourself now is: How many times does this happen before a poll is published?

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