I'm No Pollster, So Please Help Me Out With This

Discussion in 'Politics' started by IGetItAlready, Aug 20, 2012.

  1. IGetItAlready
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    IGetItAlready BANNED

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    I've read several items within the past couple of weeks which refer to an over sampling of Democrats in current polls.
    I had simply brushed it off being that the claims are not getting a ton of attention. Being that I know little of the process by which these polls are compiled I suppose I figured there was a very good reason for it.

    PEW POLL METHODOLOGY QUESTIONED

    The article seems to imply there is not some esoteric reasoning behind this but I've heard it mentioned so often despite virtually no collective outrage over it that I'm wondering if anyone can explain why pollsters might do this, aside from the obvious.
     
  2. theDoctorisIn
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    theDoctorisIn Senior Mod Staff Member Senior USMB Moderator

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    Polling is done by randomly selected phone numbers. The percentage of "Democrats" and "Republicans" aren't predetermined, they're part of the polling.
     
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  3. Publius1787
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    They do over sample Democrats. Which is why Reagan, Bush Sr., & Bush Jr. were all (according to the polls) supposed to lose their elections.
     
  4. theDoctorisIn
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    theDoctorisIn Senior Mod Staff Member Senior USMB Moderator

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    Randomly selected people to be polled is, in fact, the only way to have a poll that means anything.

    If you're determining who you're going to poll before you start polling, it defeats the purpose entirely.
     
  5. g5000
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    g5000 Diamond Member

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    The reason is very simple. There are far more registered Democrats than there are registered Republicans. So if you call 1000 people, you are going to get more registered Democrats than Republicans.


    Mystery solved!


    .
     
  6. IGetItAlready
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    So theoretically a poll could be conducted that excluded one party or the other entirely.

    I suppose this is one more reason to put little faith in the polling, this and examples like those Publius mentioned. And it does make perfect sense that you'd not conduct a poll of 500 registered Republicans and 500 registered Democrats as that would only measure party support for each candidate.

    Thanks guys.
     
  7. theDoctorisIn
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    theDoctorisIn Senior Mod Staff Member Senior USMB Moderator

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    See, the thing is, it's not even about party registration - it's self-identification. It's one of the poll questions.

    There's no way for Pew Research to actually know their party registration beforehand. Well, there is a way for them to know, but not if they want their polling to mean anything.
     
  8. kaz
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    kaz Diamond Member

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    Exit polling was projecting a sweeping Kerry victory, how did that work out for you?
     
  9. theDoctorisIn
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    theDoctorisIn Senior Mod Staff Member Senior USMB Moderator

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    It's theoretically possible, yet incredibly unlikely.

    Statistics is an interesting subject.
     
  10. Dick Tuck
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