A Straight Shot of Politics

A blog from a gentleman of the Liberal political persuasion dedicated to right reason, clear thinking, cogent argument, and the public good.

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Location: Columbus, Ohio, United States

I have returned from darkness and quiet. I used to style myself as "Joe Claus", Santa Claus’ younger brother because that is what I still look like. I wrote my heart out about liberal politics until June of 2006, when all that could be said had been said. I wrote until I could write no more and I wrote what I best liked to read when I was young and hopeful: the short familiar essays in Engish and American periodicals of 50 to 100 years ago. The archetype of them were those of G.K. Chesterton, written in newspapers and gathered into numerous small books. I am ready to write them again. I am ready to write about life as seen by the impoverished, by the mentally ill, by the thirty years and more of American Buddhist converts, and by the sharp eyed people [so few now in number] with the watcher's disease, the people who watch and watch and watch. I am all of these.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

The Poll and The Pollsters to Look At Seriously

We are as awash in conflicting polling results from the Presidential campaign as Florida is in hurricane storm surges. A new poll released a few days ago by American Research Group, however, holds promise of being a more accurate predictor of the final outcome than many more famous national polls.

There are polls which indicate a strong Bush lead, and polls which, conversely, generally indicate a dead heat with a slight Bush lead well within the margin of error. Two explanations for this discrepancy have been put forward which I find credible, even though they are by strongly Democratic analysts.

In their view, the strong Bush polls are suddenly oversampling Republicans due to cultural changes such as diminished use of land line telephones and due to skewed "likely voter" criteria.

A more telling thing, in my view, is the fact that these national polls sample only about 500 to 1500 people nationwide. ARG, on the other hand, conducts statewide polls of 600 people each for a total sample of about 30,000 nationwide. The fact that their total sample shows a result similar to the other "dead heat" polls suggests strongly to me that the criticisms of the "strong Bush" polls are valid.

Moreover, in a Presidential election, the fact that the standard sample size is applied to state size populations gives a much clearer picture of how the actual preferences might play out in the state voting counts.

ARG is not only very slick at polling, they have interesting things to say about campaign advertising too, which I quote at length:

"Leahy's Law states that if a thing is done wrong often enough, it becomes right, and as a result, volume becomes a defense to error.

"When political advertising fails to sway voters, most campaigns follow Leahy's Law by increasing the frequency of the advertising hoping that more of what is not working with voters will somehow work when voters are subjected to more of the same.

"Use the following 10 simple rules to evaluate the advertising you encounter this political year. You may be disappointed, but don't be surprised when you discover that most advertising fails to follow any of the rules.

"1. Does the ad tell a simple story, not just convey information?
2. Does the ad make the desired call to action a part of the story?
3. Does the ad use basic emotional appeals?
4. Does the ad use easy arguments?
5. Does the ad show, and not tell?
6. Does the ad use symbolic language and images that relate to the senses?
7. Does the ad match what viewers see with what they hear?
8. Does the ad stay with a scene long enough for impact?
9. Does the ad let powerful video speak for itself?
10. Does the ad use identifiable music?"

In the view of ARG, these ten perameters strongly influence the factors in our judgment which are below our conscious thinking processes and shape the narrative of our opinions in the direction of our needs and expectations.

These pollsters, I think, are someone to watch and take seriously.

2 Comments:

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Blogger CoCo Chang said...

Recently, there is a presidential election in USA, and it is obviously that Obama re-election. We can see what important the poll is, and what meaningful the eloquence is, nothing like doing my Guild Wars 2 Gold business

3:28 AM  

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