Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Daily Kos Pollster Made Up Numbers

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the transparency-wins dept.

Math 546

jamie found a story up on Daily Kos revealing that the polling firm they had contracted with for 18 months, Research 2000 or R2K, apparently made up or at least manually tweaked its polling results. The blog published a preliminary report by a team of statistics gurus (Mark Grebner, Michael Weissman, and Jonathan Weissman), and it is an exemplar of clarity and concision. The team reports, "We do not know exactly how the weekly R2K results were created, but we are confident they could not accurately describe random polls." Daily Kos will be filing a lawsuit against its former pollster. "For the past year and a half, Daily Kos has been featuring weekly poll results from the Research 2000 (R2K) organization. These polls were often praised for their 'transparency,' since they included detailed cross-tabs on sub-populations and a clear description of the random dialing technique. However, on June 6, 2010, FiveThirtyEight.com rated R2K as among the least accurate pollsters in predicting election results. Daily Kos then terminated the relationship. One of us (MG) wondered if odd patterns he had noticed in R2K's reports might be connected with R2K's mediocre track record, prompting our investigation of whether the reports could represent proper random polling. ... This posting is a careful initial report of our findings, not intended to be a full formal analysis but rather to alert people not to rely on R2K's results."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

To be fair... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32735110)

Nobody expects the Daily Kos to be accurate.

It would be like trusting Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, or anything ever aired on "Air America" before it went bankrupt.

Mark Twain said it best (0)

pilgrim23 (716938) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735174)

there are Three sorts of Lies: Lies, damned Lies, Statistics. but then he did plead......Clemmency...

Re:Mark Twain said it best (3, Insightful)

flitty (981864) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735228)

In this case it was Lies, Damned Lies, and "stuff we made up".

Re:Mark Twain said it best (1, Troll)

Hylandr (813770) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735448)

Or, the polling could be dead accurate, and the election results that are not correct.

Given todays political climate, it wouldn't be too big a stretch to see our 'politicians' rigging results. How many people have been asked outside the polling offices, who they voted for? How was that tracked? It would be interesting to know.

- Dan.

Re:Mark Twain said it best (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32735524)

For actual details on how you can tell that stuff was just made up, start reading here: http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2010/06/breaking-daily-kos-to-sue-research-2000.html

Re:Mark Twain said it best (3, Insightful)

sycodon (149926) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735752)

Tin Hat Alert doesn't begin to cover this.

Re:Mark Twain said it best (2, Interesting)

Intron (870560) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735906)

You've never heard of exit polls? They're pretty much dead on in predicting vote results if done properly. There was some controversy in Bush vs. Kerry about them, it's interesting reading.

Re:Mark Twain said it best (2, Interesting)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735674)

And when you look at it from another perspective - you will probably exclude the nerd section of the population who never answers calls from 800-numbers (or other known junk callers) by using technology to divert the calls into a tarpit or something.

At least the open source telephony switch Asterisk do have a blacklist function where blacklisted numbers can be stored and used to perform a response like "The number you have dialed is not in use".

I do run that feature myself - and it's a lot more effective than using those "do not call" registries.

Re:To be fair... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32735242)

The difference between liberals and conservatives is that liberals are disappointed by liars.

Re:To be fair... (1)

Entropius (188861) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735832)

This, exactly.

Daily Kos' response to this was to post exactly how they knew that R2K was making stuff up, retract anything based on their numbers, and send the lawyers after R2K for fraud.

Re:To be fair... (1, Flamebait)

Uberbah (647458) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735246)

Nobody expects the Daily Kos to be accurate.

Only if you're fond of false equivalencies, or an Obama fanboy. Of which there definitely are [dailykos.com] some on Dkos, but you'll also find liberals complaining [dailykos.com] about Obama placing U.S. citizens on CIA hitlists - something you wont find from the teabaggers.

Re:To be fair... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32735766)

teabaggers

And thus you lose all credibility. Try again next time.

I am not sure who those "teabaggers" are... (-1, Offtopic)

PaulBu (473180) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735902)

... but my fellow Tea Partiers complain pretty loudly, e.g., here:
here [campaignforliberty.com] .

Paul B.

Re:To be fair... (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32735248)

Who marked the parent troll? There are a glut of self serving, biased, and (imo) worthless news outlets in the US, and every one mentioned in the parent post should be on it. It's incomplete, but hardly a 'troll'.

Re:To be fair... (0, Troll)

Gary W. Longsine (124661) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735374)

There is also a glut of self serving, biased, and unqualified people with mod points at Slashdot. The troll mods around these parts are out of fucking control There really needs to be a more effective check on that, or Slashdot will continue its long slow slide toward a Usenet / Digg / YouTubeComments quality of discussion.

Re:To be fair... (4, Interesting)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735444)

Somebody really fucked up the metamoderation. I used to metamoderate all the time when you had to rate moderations as fair, unfair, or neutral. I thought that worked pretty well, but now metamoderation is an up or down vote, and worst of all, by doing so you have tagged the post and it shows up on your damn profile page! I only made that mistake once, and I'm not metamoderating again until that goes away. I don't want my profile page cluttered with random posts from other people.

Re:To be fair... (0, Offtopic)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735508)

/. moderation is srsbzns XD

i get mod bombed all the time (-1, Flamebait)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735566)

sometimes i'll look at my list of comments, and there will be an across the board "flamebait" or "offtopic" for 10 comments, across all commentary and different threads, all at the same time

it used to bother me, but it never really effects my karma, so now i take it as a form of demented compliment that someone should be so devoted to me (in hate, which is just the flip side of love. what we all really fear is being ignored)

the signal (the genuine mods) still drown out the noise (the troll modding), so slashdot still works for me. if the noise begins to drown out the signal though, indeed, slashdot is doomed

Re:To be fair... (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735764)

Since even Slashdot carries a cross-section of population we probably have our share of murderers, religious fanatics, spammers, hardrockers, hells angels, priests and shamans here too. And some of them doesn't like truth so they try to gain cred and then mod down the truth.

That's why there is this "browse at -1" recommendation when you do the moderation.

As for polls - you will always get a flawed poll since some people aren't truthful or are just hanging up on the pollers. And then there are some people that are answering truthfully but then never goes to the election.

Re:To be fair... (1)

Orange Crush (934731) | more than 4 years ago | (#32736006)

As for polls - you will always get a flawed poll since some people aren't truthful or are just hanging up on the pollers. And then there are some people that are answering truthfully but then never goes to the election.

Of course, but that's not the issue here. The issue here is R2K's survey data appears to have been altered or fabricated by the pollster themselves.

Re:To be fair... (1)

coaxial (28297) | more than 4 years ago | (#32736130)

Since even Slashdot carries a cross-section of population we probably have our share of murderers, religious fanatics, spammers, hardrockers, hells angels, priests and shamans here too. And some of them doesn't like truth so they try to gain cred and then mod down the truth.

Murderers? Yup. [slashdot.org]

I'll leave the rest of the scavenger hunt for others. ;)

Re:To be fair... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32735256)

..."Air America" before it went bankrupt.

Financially or intellectually bankrupt?

Re:To be fair... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32735368)

They started with the second, the first was only a matter of time.

Any more billionaires in line to pay for an industry that can't to support itself... Uhh, disregard the reports from France.

Re:To be fair... (3, Insightful)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735506)

First one, then the other.

Re:To be fair... (3, Interesting)

RingDev (879105) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735330)

[quote]or anything ever aired on "Air America" before it went bankrupt.[/quote]

I actually liked Rachel Meadow on Air America. Every night she would give the daily death tolls from Iraq and Afghanistan. Something that no other news/talking head program that I have been able to find on my radio dial does. The rest of the line up was pretty 'meh' though.

-Rick

Re:To be fair... (3, Insightful)

ccarson (562931) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735654)

I wonder if she still does that at the beginning of her program? It seemed that when Bush was in office, the left screamed bloody murder when it came to the war(s). Now that their guy is in office, you can hear chirping from crickets.

Re:To be fair... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32735396)

Perhaps you misread the summary? The Daily Kos is not at fault here.

Re:To be fair... (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 4 years ago | (#32736080)

They hired the pollsters,put their imprimatur on the results, and published them, so yes they are at least partially at fault.

Re:To be fair... (3, Informative)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735422)

Actually, I do. And now They're suing the pants off of R2K. [fivethirtyeight.com]

If this was the National Review Online, or Free Republic, or what have you, there would be a huge push to cover this up and blame the "liberal media"(whatever the hell THAT is) for any accusations that they did something wrong.

Re:To be fair... (2, Insightful)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735522)

Actually, I do. And now They're suing the pants off of R2K. [fivethirtyeight.com]

If this was the National Review Online, or Free Republic, or what have you, there would be a huge push to cover this up and blame the "liberal media"(whatever the hell THAT is) for any accusations that they did something wrong.

I doubt they would have questioned the results to begin with, much less investigated...

Re:To be fair... (5, Insightful)

Angst Badger (8636) | more than 4 years ago | (#32736124)

Nobody expects the Daily Kos to be accurate. It would be like trusting Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, or anything ever aired on "Air America" before it went bankrupt.

On matters of fact, they're pretty scrupulous, especially when it comes to owning up to their own mistakes, like hiring R2K.

On matters of opinion and ideology, well, it's a political blog. What exactly is an "accurate" opinion?

Statistics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32735120)

There's lies, damned lies, and then there's statistics.

Poll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32735126)

The fraudulent process was discovered when 5 out of 5 dentists recommended the gum, for patients that chew gum.

Slightly misleading headline? (3, Informative)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735138)

Those who aren't used to phrases used with "political" centric organizations might mistake the title as saying someone who is on Daily Kos' payroll flubbed the numbers, rather than a company working on contract with them.

Re:Slightly misleading headline? (2, Informative)

Ocker3 (1232550) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735708)

even simply adding an apostrophe to make it "Daily Kos' pollster made up numbers" would be more informative

Re:Slightly misleading headline? (2, Informative)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735844)

Unless Kos is plural, since it's not the name of an ancient person, they'll need to add an apostrophe and an s. "Daily Kos's Pollster Made Up Numbers".

Re:Slightly misleading headline? (2, Informative)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 4 years ago | (#32736022)

It's technically correct (the best kind of correct) that you can show possession with simply an apostrophe for singular nouns ending in an 'ess' sound.

The trick is you have to be consistent about it. (You can't start with "Daily Kos' pollster" and later use "Daily Kos's editor".)

It's more of a guideline than a rule to use the succeeding 's.'

However, I will say that leaving the 's' off would likely be a depreciated style if this was a standards documentation.

Polling (2, Informative)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735220)

For me, the surprising part of this isn't so much that R2K made up poll results, but that the results actually were noticably less accurate than traditional polling, which I like to think of as representing a broad cross-section of people who still have landlines with no caller ID for some reason (or are desperate enough to talk to another human being that they'll answer their landline anyway).

Re:Polling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32735482)

For me, the surprising part of this isn't so much that R2K made up poll results

I'm surprised they made up the final number instead of making up the raw numbers. They obviously predicted results, then made numbers to match them. They could have simulated polling and created raw numbers which would have been very hard to detect as frauds. They final numbers just scream "fake".

MOD PARENT UP (1)

DriedClexler (814907) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735860)

Seriously, how do they even get polls to work now, given that people try to avoid them like the plague?

Give them credit. (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32735238)

Unlike the many Republican outfits which used partly- or wholly-fabricated polls by Strategic Vision, or the many media outlets which continue to use the horribly flawed Rasmussen polls to create eye-catching headlines, Kos immediately dumped the pollster, did an investigation, owned up to the errors publicly, and is now pursuing legal recourse.

This is exactly how you would expect an honest media organization (if one with a considerable political agenda) to behave. Too bad the mainstream media and those on the other side of the aisle don't seem to want to do the same.

Re:Give them credit. (2, Insightful)

Anonymusing (1450747) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735274)

I'm not Republican, but ... [citation needed] for the Rasmussen reference.

Re:Give them credit. (2, Informative)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735392)

Re:Give them credit. (4, Informative)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735532)

The quote you gave merely says that the results that Rasmussen is getting at this time show a public more greatly favoring Republican positions not that Rasmussen is fudging the numbers to get those results. The rest of the article can be dismissed since the source for the article clearly favors Democratic policy over Republican

Re:Give them credit. (0, Troll)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735690)

The quote you gave merely says that the results that Rasmussen is getting at this time show a public more greatly favoring Republican positions not that Rasmussen is fudging the numbers to get those results.

Ah. Didn't intend to mislead, I was merely pointing out that Republicans do indeed quote Rasmussen measurably more than Democrats, not that Rasmussen cooks its polls. Sorry for the confusion!

Re:Give them credit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32736064)

I suppose I must have been confused by your use of the phrase "horribly flawed Rasmussen polls" - I thought that might mean you thought there was something wrong with them. That's my bad, then.

Re:Give them credit. (3, Informative)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735460)

Apparently the situation with Rasmussen is complicated, but this [fivethirtyeight.com] seems to be a fairly decent starting place (that's not just some activist blogger).

You Are Not a Republican (4, Informative)

Gary W. Longsine (124661) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735476)

You're also lazy, and ill informed. You could have spent a fraction of a second (0.15 seconds) with Google to find about 3,860,000 results for the search term "Rasmussen bias" to discover that, yes, in fact, there is some discussion of this point.

Nate Silver on Possible Biasin Rasmussen Reports [fivethirtyeight.com]
"What Rasmussen has had is a "house effect". So far in the 2010 cycle, their polling has consistently and predictably shown better results for Republican candidates than other polling firms have. But such house effects can emerge from legitimate differences of opinion about how to model the electorate. And ultimately, these differences of opinion will be tested -- based on what happens next November. If Rasmussen's opinion turns out to be wildly inaccurate, that will impeach their credibility, and believe me, we will point that out. Likewise, if they turn out to be right when most other pollsters are wrong, we will point that out too."

Re:You Are Not a Republican (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32735850)

Hey! Let's play Google Confirmation Bias!

Let's see... are there aliens in Area 51 [google.com] ? Yep -- google finds 6.9M results.
Um... did NASA fake the moon landings [google.com] ? Yep - 300k results say yes.
How about: was there a conspiracy to cover up the WTC attacks [google.com] ? Wow - 2.7M results, so it must be true.

Using Google to search for information to support your hypothesis is a lousy way to find the truth.

Re:You Are Not a Republican (4, Insightful)

Anonymusing (1450747) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735940)

You're also lazy, and ill informed. You could have spent a fraction of a second (0.15 seconds) with Google to find about 3,860,000 results for the search term "Rasmussen bias" to discover that, yes, in fact, there is some discussion of this point.

I know there is discussion. Even your quote says differences "can emerge from legitimate differences of opinion about how to model the electorate" and FiveThirtyEight has, in the past, noted Rasmussen's surprising accuracy in predicting election outcomes. Your link would not support the GPP's description of "horribly flawed" to Rasmussen -- merely "hmm that's interesting".

Re:Give them credit. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32735588)

This [dailykos.com] , although I can't promise it's reliable, as it comes from the Daily Kos.

Re:Give them credit. (0, Flamebait)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735356)

+1 on this.

If Stephen Glass worked for a conservative rag like the National Review, he wouldn't have been fired, he would've been promoted.

Re:Give them credit. (5, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735560)

+1 on this.

If Stephen Glass worked for a conservative rag like the National Review, he wouldn't have been fired, he would've been promoted.

You mean the way that NYT promoted Jayson Blair several times even though his superiors were complaining about his inaccurate stories, until it became public knowledge that he just made things up?

Re:Give them credit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32735426)

This is exactly how you would expect an honest media organization (if one with a considerable political agenda) to behave. Too bad the mainstream media and those on the other side of the aisle don't seem to want to do the same.

And then Google goes, recognizes a problem with their wi-fi location data collection, publicly and responsibly admits the problem, and takes steps to correct it, and they're being raked over the coals for it.

And that's why media organizations have learned to not behave with honesty: The ones who don't gleefully feed on the ones who do.

Re:Give them credit. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32735646)

Sorry but Rasmussen is the most respected polling service out there. Only leftist cockguzzlers blame it of bias because it disagrees with theirs.

No offense (0, Flamebait)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735748)

but one left leaning group acting does not support a trend on one side or another. While your political bias is obvious and you do believe what you do extrapolating it such as you do is not accurate.

What we see here in your response is others is acceptance of an issue because it supports the viewpoints of those responding favorably to it. Throw in the left/right condemnation of the mainstream media; itself a generic term that has different meaning to different viewers; and the whole comment comes off as a coffee sipping head nod.

There are very few polls conducted fairly, we have seen this in polls leading up to elections as well as exit polls. Having seen some exit pollsters at work I have seen one common theme, they ask people like themselves. As in, they look similar.

What this action by DailyKOS may do is spur groups on both sides to look at their data in new light. Not every group is blessed with good statistical oversight and many on both sides will discount examinations of their data because it the criticism is seen as leaning the wrong way. Right now with the level of political strife it is only natural for some groups to dig because of the level acrimony.

I know just as many on the right and left who latch on to polls and it never amazes me that they like pollsters who show results that agree with their political leaning and disparage polls that don't as slanted. Its human nature.

Re:Give them credit. (0, Troll)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735934)

Exactly how long did the Daily Kos blindly spew out those poll results while someone wondered about "odd patterns he had noticed in R2K's reports"?

How long had they been featuring those results while there were questions about R2K's quality?

Nelson from the Simpsons sums it up.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32735272)

Ha-ha

Obligatory (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735282)

Everyone knows that 78.49% of statistics are made up.

Re:Obligatory (2, Funny)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735316)

Everyone knows that 78.49% of statistics are made up.

And that the other 23% are erroneous.

Re:Obligatory (4, Funny)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735362)

Everyone knows that 78.49% of statistics are made up.

And that the other 23% are erroneous.

And that the remaining 17% just don't add up.

Gee (3, Funny)

BCW2 (168187) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735290)

You'd think they would spend Soros money more carefully.

R2K not alone in this. (5, Informative)

Zephyr14z (907494) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735314)

I used to work a different major polling company, and I can assure you R2K is not alone in just making up numbers. Easily 80% of surveys that went through my region were completely falsified, and the remaining 20% rarely matched the demographic they were supposed to be answering for. Survey administrators have quotas, and then get paid extra for additional surveys past that, but there is basically nothing done to verify any of the surveys turned in, and everybody in the company knows it. Don't always trust what you read, especially not statistics.

Re:R2K not alone in this. (2, Funny)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735534)

Easily 80% of surveys that went through my region were completely falsified, and the remaining 20% rarely matched the demographic they were supposed to be answering for.

You're just making those numbers up, aren't you?

Re:R2K not alone in this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32735626)

Actually it should read like this...

Easily 80% of surveys that went through my region were completely falsified, and the remaining 80% rarely matched the demographic they were supposed to be answering for.

Re:R2K not alone in this. (1)

Chapter80 (926879) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735608)

I believe the statistic that you are looking for is 87 [dilbert.com] .

Re:R2K not alone in this. (2, Funny)

D Ninja (825055) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735658)

I can't decide whether this is just being funny, or if it's insightful, or interesting. But, I'm pretty sure it's 50% funny, 20% insightful, and 30% interesting. +/- 3%

Re:R2K not alone in this. (4, Funny)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735738)

And if Diebold scored it:

24% Funny
10% Insightful
15% Interesting
51% Republican

misleading headline... (4, Informative)

emagery (914122) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735348)

For headline skimmers, this post would produced a completely inaccurate sense of what the article was all about... at length, the D.KOS are the ones who found out about this and are doing something something about it. That's good... but if you just read the headline, you'd come away thinking that D.KOS were the culprits instead.

Turd polishing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32735514)

Daily KOS employed bullshit artists for their polling data.

Commence turd polishing!

Re:misleading headline... (1)

Scareduck (177470) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735530)

I don't get that. "Daily Kos Pollster" is the pollster used by the website "Daily Kos". If you read the story, Kos was defrauded by the pollster.

Re:misleading headline... (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735666)

I don't get that. "Daily Kos Pollster" is the pollster used by the website "Daily Kos". If you read the story, Kos was defrauded by the pollster.

But it doesn't emphasise the pollster was a third party. Replace 'Daily Kos' with 'Fox News' or 'MSNBC' and see how it can be (mis)interpreted.

If you need the DK reference, then 'Pollster for Daily Kos...' is better as it implies more a working relationship rather than part of the organization.

Or they could have just said 'Research 2000 Makes Up Poll Numbers' Don't know who R2K is? RTFS.

Re:misleading headline... (0, Offtopic)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735572)

Welcome to Slashdot. An assumption that the headline reflects the contents of the article, or that the summary reflects the contents of the article, are things you eventually learn is rarely true around here.

Re:misleading headline... (0, Offtopic)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735590)

are rarely true... *sigh* What can I say, I just got up...

Re:misleading headline... (1)

men0s (1413347) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735602)

Daily Kos: Our Contracted Polling Company Made Up Their Numbers

..would have been a better title. I'm beginning to see why people choose to ignore kdawson edits. Or maybe it's just a ruse by him to make us actually RTFA?

Are you for some reason surprised? (0, Troll)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735698)

if you just read the headline, you'd come away thinking that D.KOS were the culprits instead.

This is slashdot, after all. If they don't keep up their conservative credentials how will they continue to attract conservative advertising revenue?

Hell, it's already Tuesday afternoon in the US and this might be the first pro-conservative story they've run all week; in which case they have a lot of catching up to do in order to make their quota...

the truth is, polling sucks (5, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735436)

of course this will turn into a "bash the left" and a "bash the right" thread. when ideology isn't the point. polling is the idiocy in question

and the guy who manipulated the numbers is clearly an amateur. the way you do proper poll manipulation is LOAD THE QUESTION. you poll people with a question with the proper turn of phrase to lead them towards the answer you want. then, when you present the answers to the poll, you also cage the results in such a way to lead the audience in the way you want them to interpret the results

polling is fucking joke. all results from the left, or the right, is complete bullshit, and a waste of your time

Re:the truth is, polling sucks (0, Offtopic)

EraserMouseMan (847479) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735498)

So what you're saying is that R2K is run by ACORN?

exactly my point ;-) (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735694)

false association is the best sort of poll manipulation

for example, if the poll was

"do you believe obama is the antichrist?"

of course this wouldn't poll very high. even those who oppose obama, the vast majority do so for genuine reasons of policy, not out of some demented partisan bloodsport (although unfortunately, the unthinking zombie partisan hordes seem to be on the rise in this country)

but if the poll was

"if obama were the antichrist, should he be impeached?"

and of course, this will poll high. when of course the question is completely loaded bullshit. if ANYONE were the antichrist, they should be voted out of office. but this is exactly this sort of false association that goes on all the time with polling questions. albeit a lot more subtle than this, and usually preying on people's preexisting prejudices and simplistic ideological understandings. it leads them to completely useless answers, but answers that can then be twisted when reported upon, with cable news HD graphics and bombastic audio cues and cinematic announcers with heavy gravitas and serious, low voices:

"in a shocking new poll, the idea of impeaching obama polls high among a wide sampling of americans"

polls are nothing but propaganda

Re:exactly my point ;-) (1)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | more than 4 years ago | (#32736102)

if ANYONE were the antichrist, they should be voted out of office

Well, no, not in the USA, where government is explicitly commanded to separate itself from religious affairs.

Re:the truth is, polling sucks (5, Insightful)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735640)

You're assuming the motive was to manipulate the outcome.

Did it not occur to you that maybe the motive was to provide any outcome that would look real enough to get paid, while not doing as much work?

Re:the truth is, polling sucks (4, Insightful)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735710)

polling is fucking joke. all results from the left, or the right, is complete bullshit, and a waste of your time

Or, to put it another way, it's absolutely impossible to know what the people want without asking every single one of them.

Genius.

No, wait, sorry, I meant "bullshit". Polling is a tool, and an extremely important one. Can it be done very poorly? Yes, of course, But that needn't necessarily be true. And it's the only option for understanding a population when there's millions and millions of individuals.

Re:the truth is, polling sucks (1)

Myopic (18616) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735720)

Depends on what you mean by "joke". Using polling data, Nate Silver predicted the 2008 election within less than a half a percent. That's pretty accurate, but it could still be a joke for some definitions of joke.

Re:the truth is, polling sucks (1)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735796)

The Polling Industry: the last resort of employment for those who got a D-minus in statistics.

Re:the truth is, polling sucks (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 4 years ago | (#32736136)

he way you do proper poll manipulation is LOAD THE QUESTION. you poll people with a question with the proper turn of phrase to lead them towards the answer you want. then, when you present the answers to the poll, you also cage the results in such a way to lead the audience in the way you want them to interpret the results

Damn, that sounds like a lot of hard work. Much easier to just make up some numbers that sound good.

Remember: (2, Informative)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735578)

If you place a statistician's head in ice and his feet in boiling water, then on the average he is quite comfortable!

Commence Right-Wing Yank-Fest (-1, Flamebait)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735580)

Because of course Fox News, World Net Daily, TownHall.com, and PowerLineBlog have never, ever, ever, passed on inaccurate numbers. This is the first time that the world has ever seen such a thing and clearly it is inherently a liberal problem, no doubt about that.

How many logical fallacies can you count? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32735794)

Red Herring: "A fallacy of distraction, committed when a listener attempts to divert an arguer from his argument by introducing another topic."
Tu Quoque: "The assumption that because someone else has done a thing there is nothing wrong with doing it."
Ad Hominem: "Attacking not the idea, but the person putting forward the idea."

Echos of Cryptonomicon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32735704)

In Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon [wikipedia.org] , there's a scene early in the book where the Allies are assembling the personnel for Station X (aka Bletchely Park [bletchleypark.org.uk] ). Statistician, turned Nazi codebreaker Lawrence Waterhouse, points out that his Nazi counterpart Rudy von Hacklheber, would notice something was amiss with the Allied personnel changes based the statistics of people being transfered to Bletchely Park, and then quickly deduce that the Allies are attempting to break the Enigma code. To camouflage the transfers, Waterhouse suggests creating ficticious personnel and have some of them transfered to Bletchely Park as well. However the military can't just make any random fake person, the fictious people must be statisitically drawn from a distribution that when added to distribution of real Bletchely Park personnel, the combined distribution is statistically insignificant [wikipedia.org] (i.e. fail to reject the null hypothesis) than any other large military base.

If Research 2000 did what is suggested, they failed to taint the polls with the right kind of fake data, just like what the novel warned about.

Excuse me? Science.slashdot.org??? (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735730)

Can anyone give a reasonable explanation for why this story is listed under "science.slashdot.org"? Clearly this is a political story and should have been placed as such.

Re:Excuse me? Science.slashdot.org??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32735818)

It's about polling and statistics, not politics.

Echos of Cryptonomicon (5, Interesting)

coaxial (28297) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735758)

In Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon [wikipedia.org] , there's a scene early in the book where the Allies are assembling the personnel for Station X (aka Bletchely Park [bletchleypark.org.uk] ). Statistician, turned Nazi codebreaker Lawrence Waterhouse, points out that his Nazi counterpart Rudy von Hacklheber, would notice something was amiss with the Allied personnel changes based the statistics of people being transfered to Bletchely Park, and then quickly deduce that the Allies are attempting to break the Enigma code. To camouflage the transfers, Waterhouse suggests creating ficticious personnel and have some of them transfered to Bletchely Park as well. However the military can't just make any random fake person, the fictious people must be statisitically drawn from a distribution that when added to distribution of real Bletchely Park personnel, the combined distribution is statistically insignificant [wikipedia.org] (i.e. fail to reject the null hypothesis) than any other large military base.

If Research 2000 did what is suggested, they failed to taint the polls with the right kind of fake data, just like what the novel warned about.

To Hell with all Polling. (1)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735772)

Let the fools in Washington be suprised come election day, not trying to figure out how to leverage someone who is leading in the polls months before they get elected to an office.

I think polling itself is a travesty as some of the dumb idiot sheep following fools out there will tend to "vote for the winner" instead of voting for their ideals. Why not just stop all polling, the only polling we need is in primaries and in november.

I would really love to see this happen as it would cause people in the news to actually be suprised when the people they help pick by biased reporteing get their pants handed to them. Nothing is funnier than watching a media personality get a nice nasty surprise on election night...

Considering... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32735788)

Considering they call me up while I'm eating dinner, I find the average polling person to be mean.

Re:Considering... (1)

Intron (870560) | more than 4 years ago | (#32736000)

I talked to pollster who cross-dressed, but I believe that is a standard deviation.

nothing's shocking (1, Insightful)

electron sponge (1758814) | more than 4 years ago | (#32736060)

A website that has an openly biased point of view published data that backed up their point of view for a year and a half without looking at it critically? Why are we surprised at all? By that same token, why would anyone care what dailykos or any of those other rabble-rousing political bitchfest sites (from either side, a pox upon both their houses) have to say about anything?
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?