Even More Lies

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Most of the time when the media reports a poll result, it quotes them as hard figures. An MSNBC/Reuters poll is reported on MSNBC as Dean in front with 28%, Gephardt in second with 23%, Kerry in third with 17%, and Edwards in fourth with 14%.

The problem is that the poll is +/- 4.5%, a nine-point swing. This means that Edwards could be as 9.5-18.5%; Kerry 12.5-21.5%; Gephardt 18.5-27.5%; and Dean 23.5-32.5%. Gephardt could be in the lead, and there is no rational basis for concluding otherwise.

The +/- 4.5% means "we are not saying Gephardt is at 23%, we are saying he is between 18.5% and 27.5%." That is what it means. Edwards and Gephardt could be even. Kerry could be ahead of Dean. Not tomorrow, right now, according to this poll. This poll says there is a three-way tie for the lead right now, not that Dean is in the lead by himself.

While I am on the subject of polls, some of you may not be aware, but who is allowed to participate in Presidential Debates is essentially decided by a private bipartisan commission that works to keep out third parties. One of the ways they do this is by saying you have to achieve a certain percentage in certain polls to be considered a viable candidate that is allowed to be in the debates.

This is such an atrocious thing on many levels, first and foremost because our choices are being limited arbitrarily by private people who have political interest in doing so. But the criteria they use is astonishingly questionable. We have seen many polls be flat-out wrong over the last several years, such that to rely on them as a basis for the slection of our leaders is patently ridiculous and borderline criminal.

But take it to the next step: who is to say these polls are not being falsified? We have put a lot more emphasis on verifying voting data, which is a good thing, but we are using unofficial private polling data to actually determine whom we get to vote for, and there is not the slightest bit of public oversight of the data. If it is possible that state officials are committing fraud in actual elections to hurt Bush or Gore, why do we not question whether it is possible that private people are committing fraud in the polls to hurt Nader or Perot? slashdot.org

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<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

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This page contains a single entry by pudge published on January 13, 2004 12:20 PM.

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