Confirmation Bias and Self-deception in The Use of Polls to Make Your Case

Discussion in 'USMB Breaking News' started by Martin Eden Mercury, Mar 15, 2016.

  1. Martin Eden Mercury
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    Martin Eden Mercury VIP Member Op-ed Contributor

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    Confirmation Bias and Self-deception
    in
    The Use of Polls to Make Your Case


    People mostly know confirmation bias, when they see it in others. Rarely do individuals look closely enough in a mirror to question their own biases; their own hopes, wishes, and beliefs. For better or worse, self-deception is a part of human nature. Making no moral or ethical judgment on this fact, the latest in brain science shows us that humans do indeed process information in this way. We deceive ourselves, we lie to ourselves and to others in order to confirm biases.

    An example of confirmation bias in making one's case, would be using this poll: YouGov | Trump breaks 50% in national support for the first time, which is making the rounds on the World Wide Web, to make a case that a majority of Americans say they support Trump. It is catching fire with those who firmly believe in their hearts, that the campaign of Donald J. Trump represents a majority of Americans (not one single credible poll can be used to ever claim this to be true).

    I can think of one good example which highlights the phenomena of self-deception involved. I believe most people can understand this one: President Ronald Reagan went on national television and told the American public that -- he believed he was not selling weapons to America's enemies in violation of US law, because his heart told him he wasn't. This Reagan-esque admission; a classic case of self-deception, is one where somebody sort of apologizes, and sort of admits lying. It came about because a few days or weeks before, President Reagan went on national television and told the American public he was not selling arms, or trading arms for hostage with America's enemies in violation of US law.

    We have one poll, where questions were asked of likely Republican primary voters. Not a poll where a majority of likely voters were asked if they'd support Trump. Trump's actually support within the GOP primaries and caucuses, has consistently averaged around 35%. I've never heard any credible source claim otherwise. Nate Silver for one ,has called Trump's cult following a floor, rather than a ceiling. Trump never loses support, but he does not gain anything when votes are actually counted: average 35%. I suspect it (Trump's average), could get into the 40+ percent area if he does surprisingly well today, but surprisingly well would mean Trump starts getting over 50% of a vote in states going forward.

    Ben Ginsberg has the best analysis of it all, and he may actually be the man who wrote the delegate rules. Ben has said, if Trump does not win Ohio, he never gets to the magic number. Ben has also said that if it is a contested convention, that after the first ballot, all bs predictions and precedents go out the window. Besides every state delegation having influence, we will see individual delegates with power unheard of.

    I suspect Trump will try to make a deal with one of the other candidates left standing, but I wonder. I wonder which candidates will allow ego to trump honor, and dignity -- and would be willing to make a deal with the devil.

    to be continued

    Martin Eden "Mem" Mercury

    an invite for you to e-mail me at usmbmem@lookout.com

    *attribute to Edmund Burke
     
  2. Martin Eden Mercury
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    Martin Eden Mercury VIP Member Op-ed Contributor

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    I wrote "Trump never loses support, but he does not gain anything when votes are actually counted: average 35%. I suspect it (Trump's average), could get into the 40+ percent area if he does surprisingly well today, but surprisingly well would mean Trump starts getting over 50% of a vote in states going forward."

    Trump's average, after the last group of primaries/caucuses is now 37%. I wrote this a week ago, and we have some others states voting today. I think we may see a sort of bubbling up of Trump's average, if only because his brand of fear and loathing on Islam/Terrorism sells well. Though the fact is his following is more concerned with immigration, than with terrorism ( Past Terrorist Attacks Helped Trump Capitalize On Anti-Muslim Sentiment ).
     
  3. LoneLaugher
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    LoneLaugher Diamond Member

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    Overheard.........

    "If you torture polling data enough, it will tell anything you want to hear"
     
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