Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Poll and pol truths.....

I'm not sure what is more ridiculous... USA Today's story by Susan Page that proclaims "Poll: Public not swayed by Petraeus". Or that fact that poll opinions on Iraqi progress and the Petraeus Report were solicited from 1010 self-admitted "I dunno" types.

Asked about mid way thru the questionaire "How closely are you following the news about Congressional testimony on the situation in Iraq by Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker?".... 46% of the respondents were either "not at all" or "not too closely" following the Petraeus Report and Congressional political circus of questioning.

Add to that 46% of self-admitted uninformed, the largest percentage answered a whopping 40% of "somewhat closely".

In short, only 14%, or approximately 141 people, were even educationally qualified to have an opinion. That would be those who answered "very closely".

Lordy... the whole poll questionaire was all about the latest progress in Iraq. What does anyone expect when you ask the uninformed for an opinion? You get a reflection of a lot of uninformed people who don't care enough to even pay attention. Ho hum.... Read the actual poll results...

Unfortunately, a good percentage of these uninformed people tend to vote. And they vote for whomever got the most favorable media coverage in the run up to ballot time. sigh...

We are in deep shit here, folks.

But the facts aren't about to stop the agenda driven pols or their "scientist" supporters from flapping the gums, taking advantage of a very "cherry picked" headline. No doubt this poll's results will be quoted by many a partisan Congress person somehwere in the next week on various talking head shows as "proof positive" for something. It should be pointed as as proof positive of people are idiots. But noooo...

One "political scientist" quote included in the Page article:

"In terms of public opinion, it seems like Petraeus didn't really change anyone's mind," says Christian Grose, a political scientist at Vanderbilt University who studies the impact of the war on voting behavior. "He may have bought the president some time in Washington … but not in the public's eyes."

Uh... hard to change the public's minds if they don't watch or listen to the testimony, don't you think? And this an indication of Mr. Grose's "political scientific" analysis abilities? Woe....

And how about those poll telemarketers? They continue with questions, undaunted that the respondents admit they are clueless... huh?

"As you may know, George W. Bush is adopting General Petraeus’ recommendations for future troop levels in Iraq. Based on what you have heard or read about this plan, do you think General Petraeus’ plan calls for too few U.S. troops to be withdrawn from Iraq, the right amount, or too many U.S. troops to be withdrawn from Iraq?

Too few troops to be withdrawn 36%
Right amount 43%
Too many troops to be withdrawn 9%
No opinion 13%

9. Still thinking about this plan, do you think General Petraeus’ plan calls for U.S. troops to be withdrawn too slowly from Iraq, withdrawals to occur at the right pace, or U.S. troops to be withdrawn too quickly from Iraq?

Troops to be withdrawn too slowly 33%
To occur at the right pace 42%
Troops to be withdrawn too quickly 12%
No opinion 13%

One would think the *first* question that should have been asked is "are you paying attention". If they answer no, then hang up and find somebody who has a clue, fer heavens sake! sigh..

I repeat.. we are in deep shit here, folks....

Then again, the anti-war pols aren't in much better shape here. When this brilliant group of informed citizens were asked who they trust more to deal with Iraq

Bush 27%
Democrats in Congress (yes... DEMOCRATS in Congress, not both parties Huh?) 35%
Neither 28%
Both 9%

Democrats in Congress don't have much to crow about - considering it's a 4+ or - error rate in a poll amongst those admittedly uneducated in the subject matter. Those who diplomatically chose "both", or those who figured they were all bozos, beat out the two choices... Bush or Democrats.

Then, of course, the piece de resistance... the 411+ comments to the USA Today article who knowledgeably weigh in post article... basing all their cyber comments on Susan Page's incomplete and biased summary of the poll. Reading most over it's obvious that the "somewhat paying attention" or "not paying attention" syndrome in America is widespread. Few bothered to read the actual poll and learn that most everyone involved was dumber than dirt on the issue.

I suppose "headline and sound byte educated" is better than not paying attention. Uhhh.. maybe not. They vote too.

Can you say "deep shit" one more time?


Anonymous said...

Christian Grose developed his analytic abilities en route to earning a PhD in political science at the University of Rochester. You should really refer to him as Dr. Grose.

MataHarley said...

Interesting that your only point in such a presentation of a poll of the uninformed is your quiet, and anonymous defense of Dr. Christian Grose. Perhaps you felt I was being disrespectful?

I was.

Yes. Dr. Grose is a pretty fresh young face out of the campus crowd, receiving his PhD from Rochester in 2003. My son's way older than this one....

And because someone has a PhD, it does not eliminate a "Mr." status. So I agree to disagree. The "should really refer to" bit is a matter of personal opinion, and not a mandated title. I doubt that Condi would insist she is always referred to as Dr. Rice. And she's way notches above this one.

He might be a nice enough guy. But, based on his quick assessment here, do pardon me if I'm not all that impressed with his application of the university provided book learning, as it relates to life's real experiences. Perhaps after a few more years off campus life and in the real world, I'll find his words and analyses more insightful.

I'm sure his proffered public opinions will help to catapult him into the public eye, and increase his monetary value for the future. Every cable news station has a multitude of "political analyst experts" on file. Face and "quote" time sure doesn't hurt a bank account.

Just wish a few of these "experts" were further out of grade school, and had some real life historic perspective. Not a look back via public revisionist history books. Those of us who have been there oft find the public institutions' book summarizations of these epochs have been an odd and often frustrating dichotomy at best. We who have been around the block a few times can only shake our heads at the "new scholars" being turned out.

There is something to be said for thorough and basic reading. How can Grose state that the report didn't "change the mind" of the public, when it was clear that 86% of the pollees paid little to no attention to the Petraeus Report.
Some basic flawed analysis here, IMHO

If you happen to be one of those that thinks a 1000 person sampling is an accurate reflection of the nation, then the poll's headline should have been that we are a nation of pompous blowhards with opinions, but refuse to listen and learn in order to form those opinons. Embarrassing. And insulting as well.

Only in the media or an analyst's eyes can a 1000 sampling poll be indicative of a nation's desires. They are designed as a marketing and campaign tool - to be used by the political pundits as a quest for power, and by analysts and media mouthpieces as talking points.

To me, it's the opinion of 1000, probably un or mis informed Americans. Period. And anyone who presents it as anything other than that is one someone's payroll.