Category Archive 'Polls'
25 Mar 2013
Earlier this month, it was revealed that the management of this year’s Sex Week at Yale circulated a questionaire inquiring about Yale students’ sexual histories, whether they’d ever had sex for money, and what sort of activities had they participated in. Campus Reform blog
I personally smiled sardonically and shrugged when the Daily Mail swallowed this silliness whole and when one editorialist at NR online also climbed on board, worrying aloud about what all this pre-matriculation-at-college debauchery must say about the state of our civilization.
The Daily Mail is a British newspaper and, let’s face it, some of the guys who write for NR do not have personally an Ivy League background, so a little confusion about the meaning and validity of that particular poll was understandable. But, as the French flavorfully put it: “Il ne faut pas de enculer des mouches” [One does not sodomize flies]. I decided not even to dignify this nonsense by remarking on it.
I was clearly wrong. Some flies will keep demanding attention until they get it.
First of all, a few days ago, on Facebook, a prominent conservative intellectual I know (who did not go to Yale), was linking another instance of the one-out-of-ten-Yale-undergraduates-have-been-hookers news meme. So, I intervened and pointed out that in evaluating all this, one needed to reflect on in just what way the typical Yale undergraduate is likely to respond to blithering, intrusive, and basically bizarre questions about his-or-her sex life written up in ridiculous form by a professional “sexologist” who operates a suburban store selling dildos. I was only surprised that number of affirmative answers to the weirder questions was so low.
More recently, even Glenn Reynolds (who went to Yale Law, and ought to know better) was repeating this important meme.
March 21, 2013
HIGHER EDUCATION UPDATE: Nine Percent of Yale Students Surveyed Say They’ve Accepted Money for Sex. “Nine percent of Yale University students who participated in a recent survey on sexual behavior reported having been paid for sex at least once. Three percent said they had participated in bestiality, and more than half said they had ‘engaged in consensual pain’ during sex.”
When I read this sort of thing, I think back fondly to Ken Kesey appearing at Yale, during the Revolution, to announce to the nation his candidacy for the presidency (opposing Richard Nixon in 1972). Kesey was visibly inflamed with self-righteous political passion, egomania, and some sort of mood altering substances. He proudly delivered his diatribe, and began taking his bows while condescendingly accepting questions from the audience.
The Yale undergrad questioners began cruelly playing with Kesey like some cats playing with a mouse. They gravely expressed agreement with his nonsensical propositions, and deliberately and skillfully drew him farther and farther out along fanciful limbs of patently ridiculous claims pertaining to his qualifications for high office and elicited from him some extremely potentially embarassing proposals for national policies involving sex, drugs, and Rock & Roll. Then, the audience began mocking him. People asked unkind questions, like whether he might not be too stoned to campaign effectively. Kesey became infuriated, and he began exchanging invitiations to come up and fight him for catcalls from the floor. And that was how the audience at Ken Kesey’s presidential campaign announcement at Yale sank that campaign on its opening night.
Someday, boys and girls, I should tell you what we did to Norman Mailer, but that is another story. In any event, it is necessary to bear in mind, that most people who get into Yale are very, very bright, and that Yalies have a tendency to mock fools.
21 Jan 2013
An interesting little factoid has emerged from a new Fox News poll of U.S. voters: Personal sentiments are strong and defiant among many U.S. gun owners.
Question 46 in the wide-ranging survey of more than 1,000 registered voters asks if there is a gun in the household. Overall, 52 percent of the respondents said yes, someone in their home owned a gun. That number included 65 percent of Republicans, 59 percent of conservatives, 38 percent of Democrats and 41 percent of liberals.
But on to Question 47, addressed to those with a gun in their home: “If the government passed a law to take your guns, would you give up your guns or defy the law and keep your guns?”
The response: 65 percent reported they would “defy the law.” That incudes 70 percent of Republicans, 68 percent of conservatives, 52 percent of Democrats and 59 percent of liberals.
06 Nov 2012
Mona Charen argues, I think correctly, that polls (filled with dubious and completely hidden assumptions) this year have succeeded in burying electoral reality, at least as far as the media reporting sources are concerned.
‘I don’t know,” a very wise and skeptical Washington political analyst confided to me on Sunday as I limned the Romney victory I foresee. “I’d like to believe it,” she said, “but I have to overlook a lot. If you’re right, then a whole lotta state polls have to be wrong.”
Very true. But I’ll climb all the way out onto a limb and assert that the state polls are wrong — or at least misleading.
Every four years we complain that the press covers the presidential contest as a horse race. This year sets some sort of new standard. This is the year when polls ate the campaign.
And El Rushbo
observes: Everthing, except the polls, points to a Romney landslide.
Personally, I think presidential election are usually easy to predict. You can tell when Americans generally are tired of the incumbent and inclined to give the other side a chance. You can tell when times are bad and people are going to vote out an administration they hold responsible.
By any rational criteria, the presidency of Barack Hussein Obama has been a disaster. Obama made countless grandiose promises. He told Americans that he would bring an end to racial animosity, that his administration would be unprecedentedly honest and open, that you could watch his proposals and initiatives being drafted on CSpan.
He broke every single one of those promises. He has governed autocratically, appointing more Czars and undertaking more innovative end runs around the law than any previous president in history. His signature achievement, Obamacare, was occultly drafted in closed backrooms, no CSpan, and it was then rammed through a Congress, unread, in the face the opposition of a much larger national majority than voted for Obama for the presidency.
His Justice Department has been flagrantly biased and corrupt, and his administration has been rife with scandals and cover ups.
He ran a bitter and divisive campaign in which he declined to offer any new meaningful promises and in which he had great difficulty taking credit for any positive achievement, unemployment, poverty rates, and gasoline prices all being higher than when he was first elected.
I can’t see any reason why today’s result should look different from 1980’s.
09 Oct 2012
What is best in life? To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women!—Conan the Barbarian
Yesterday, we got to listen to the delightfully loud lamentations of Andrew Sullivan, who continues to refer himself as a conservative while operating professionally as one of the left’s most prolific and mendacious spinmeisters.
Poor Andrew is currently panicking.
The Pew poll is devastating, just devastating. Before the debate, Obama had a 51 – 43 lead; now, Romney has a 49 – 45 lead. That’s a simply unprecedented reversal for a candidate in October. Before Obama had leads on every policy issue and personal characteristic; now Romney leads in almost all of them. Obama’s performance gave Romney a 12 point swing! I repeat: a 12 point swing.
Romney’s favorables are above Obama’s now. Yes, you read that right. Romney’s favorables are higher than Obama’s right now. That gender gap that was Obama’s firewall? Over in one night:
Currently, women are evenly divided (47% Obama, 47% Romney). Last month, Obama led Romney by 18 points (56% to 38%) among women likely voters.
Seriously: has that kind of swing ever happened this late in a campaign? Has any candidate lost 18 points among women voters in one night ever? And we are told that when Obama left the stage that night, he was feeling good. That’s terrifying. On every single issue, Obama has instantly plummeted into near-oblivion. He still has some personal advantages over Romney – even though they are all much diminished. Obama still has an edge on Medicare, scores much higher on relating to ordinary people, is ahead on foreign policy, and on being moderate, consistent and honest (only 14 percent of swing voters believe Romney is honest). But on the core issues of the economy and the deficit, Romney is now kicking the president’s ass.
27 Sep 2012
Rick Wilson looks at what’s been going on recently in the campaign.
The trick the Obama campaign has executed beautifully this month is to demoralize and dismay the GOP base. A combination of a very, very, very heavy TV buy in swing states (pay attention, because this is a rabbit they can’t pull out every week), a fierce assault on Romney at every turn (abetted by a cooperative press that loves the taste of blood) and a series of public polls that have played into a self-reinforcing narrative that Obama is inevitable.
The trick is a good one, and to judge from the wailing and lamentations on our side, it’s been working.
But it’s just a trick.
Let’s pull back the curtain, shall we?
The polling-validity battle has gone on for weeks now, and I’ll skip recounting the arguments on both sides. Yes, they’re playing 2008+ model games. No, it isn’t a just a conspiracy by the liberal media. Yes, the race is closer than the public polls show – on either side. The poll coverage looks the way it does because the media monster is always hungry, confirmation bias is like slipping into a warm bath and the herd runs the same direction, despite the facts.
The polls are what they are and September polls are never, ever wrong… except of course in 1948, 1968, 1976, 1980, 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2004. (h/t the amazing Jay Cost for that one).
See? You just saw one of the wires that make the trick work.
The polling is presented superficially, with typically only the toplines and a degree of analysis that is facile at best. There’s no context, history or depth. I’ve covered this problem a bit here and here.
So the polls became part of the message of chest-beating triumphalism by Team Obama. The drumbeat of Obama’s glorious, inexorable ascension to another four years in the Oval Office is something Chicago feeds to the media, but doesn’t for a second believe themselves.
The entire purpose of the last two weeks on their side is to game early voting. That’s it. It’s not about the end game, but rather an attempt to roll up some numbers in key states before the debates start and the campaign joins in earnest. They’re desperate to have you demoralized, depressed and sitting home in your living room, grumbling at Fox instead of voting early.
The Democrats know very well this race will tighten even further toward the end, and that the Potemkin Village of polls showing Barack Obama with a double-digit lead is just that.
They know that all the balls Obama is juggling now are, statistically and politically, impossible keep airborne. They know the run of Obama-is-God stories will collide with reality, whether economic, diplomatic or political. They know that Romney’s spending is catching up, fast, and will peak in the last week of October in a furious orgy of television ads and a get-out-the-vote program like nothing the GOP has done before.
Read the whole thing.
20 Oct 2011
Doug Schoen, Bill Clinton’s former pollster, in the Wall Street Journal, investigated just who is participating in the Occupy Wall Street protest and what they really represent.
[T]he Occupy Wall Street movement reflects values that are dangerously out of touch with the broad mass of the American people—and particularly with swing voters who are largely independent and have been trending away from the president since the debate over health-care reform.
The protesters have a distinct ideology and are bound by a deep commitment to radical left-wing policies. On Oct. 10 and 11, Arielle Alter Confino, a senior researcher at my polling firm, interviewed nearly 200 protesters in New York’s Zuccotti Park. Our findings probably represent the first systematic random sample of Occupy Wall Street opinion.
Our research shows clearly that the movement doesn’t represent unemployed America and is not ideologically diverse. Rather, it comprises an unrepresentative segment of the electorate that believes in radical redistribution of wealth, civil disobedience and, in some instances, violence. Half (52%) have participated in a political movement before, virtually all (98%) say they would support civil disobedience to achieve their goals, and nearly one-third (31%) would support violence to advance their agenda.
The vast majority of demonstrators are actually employed, and the proportion of protesters unemployed (15%) is within single digits of the national unemployment rate (9.1%).
An overwhelming majority of demonstrators supported Barack Obama in 2008. Now 51% disapprove of the president while 44% approve, and only 48% say they will vote to re-elect him in 2012, while at least a quarter won’t vote.
Fewer than one in three (32%) call themselves Democrats, while roughly the same proportion (33%) say they aren’t represented by any political party.
What binds a large majority of the protesters together—regardless of age, socioeconomic status or education—is a deep commitment to left-wing policies: opposition to free-market capitalism and support for radical redistribution of wealth, intense regulation of the private sector, and protectionist policies to keep American jobs from going overseas.
Sixty-five percent say that government has a moral responsibility to guarantee all citizens access to affordable health care, a college education, and a secure retirement—no matter the cost. By a large margin (77%-22%), they support raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans, but 58% oppose raising taxes for everybody, with only 36% in favor. And by a close margin, protesters are divided on whether the bank bailouts were necessary (49%) or unnecessary (51%).
Thus Occupy Wall Street is a group of engaged progressives who are disillusioned with the capitalist system and have a distinct activist orientation.
And, what do you know? These people are not the economically distressed and the unemployed. They are your rancid communists, the lunatic fringe of the activist left, the people yearning for socialist revolution and Marxist totalitarianism, people left of Barack Obama.
Read the whole thing.
05 Oct 2011
The ability of the media to spin never fails to astonish.
They’ve managed to take the last debate (in which Republican rivals piled on Rick Perry), a meaningless Florida straw poll (which came out favoring Herman Cain), the former name of the location of a Perry family hunting camp, added some polling of their own (by CBS), and all the suckers are convinced that Herman Cain is the Republican front runner. Right!
The morale is: read the news a little less frequently and a lot more skeptically.
The real 2012 campaign news items are reports of hardening public opposition to Barack Obama’s re-election and of a massive flood of contributions, $17 million, pouring into Rick Perry’s war chest.
17 Feb 2011
The Gallup Poll finds “the devil you don’t know” running, at this point, perfectly even with Obama.
U.S. registered voters are evenly split about whether they would back President Barack Obama for re-election in 2012 (45%) or “the Republican Party’s candidate” (45%). ...
Results from a parallel question Gallup asked during the presidencies of George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush show both of those presidents performing better on this re-elect measure at comparable points in their third years in office than Obama does today. ..
[T]he poll suggests Obama is relatively more vulnerable than former President George W. Bush at this point in his presidency.
When Gallup polled voters in 2003 to test Bush’s reelection prospects, the Texas Republican led a generic Democrat 47-39 percent.
These kind of polling results suggest that any credible Republican capable of uniting opponents of the current president, not destroyed by scandal or a major gaffe, would be able to defeat Obama.
I sincerely wish that we had a demigod like Barry Goldwater or Ronald Reagan to run, but I expect most of us will be happy to settle for anyone reliably committed to the kind of economic principles required to fix the American economy who seems to possess sufficient determination to do the job.
09 Feb 2011
A new CNN Poll that Obama’s slightly improving poll numbers do not necessarily translate into electoral support.
More than half of registered voters believe President Obama will lose a bid for a second term, even as more Americans say they approve of his job performance than at any time in more than a year.
A new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey, released Tuesday, shows 51 percent of registered voters, and the same percentage of adult Americans, believe Obama will lose if he runs for re-election. 46 percent say he would win.
And more voters say, at the moment, they will vote against Obama. Fully 51 percent say they definitely or probably will not vote for Obama, while 47 percent say they’re predisposed to vote for him. Independent voters would vote against Obama by a 44 percent to 53 percent margin, while he would win moderates by a much larger 55 percent to 45 percent margin.
The numbers come in the same poll that showed Obama gaining from a big positive bump. The sample of all adults approve of the job Obama is doing by a 55 percent to 44 percent margin, the highest Obama’s approval rating has gone since a poll conducted November 13-15, 2009.
I think Obama’s position would look completely hopeless, if we had an obvious strong candidate waiting in the wings to oppose him. The closest figure we have to that is Sarah Palin, who does have real star power, but who also provokes disadvantageous class antagonism, and who has given in the past much cause for concern by a propensity toward gaffes and failures to provide articulate responses. The current supposed GOP front runners, Romney and Pawlenty, are both losers of previous nomination campaigns. What has changed to make either more attractive to the Republican base? Nothing that I can see. Newt Gingrich is apparently running. And Gingrich has taken a sufficient number of unsavory and opportunistic positions that he has certainly lost credibility with serious conservatives. John J. Miller and Rich Lowry recently floated Jeb Bush trial balloons. The problem is that electing Bushes has not really worked out very well for Republicans in the past. I don’t think many of us are eager to have another representative of the Bush dynasty in the White House. The Republican Party is in great shape on Vice Presidential candidates, but Sarah Palin is extremely iffy and there is no obvious other choice for the top of the ticket. Yet.
13 Jan 2011
Gallup poll results show that pinning the blame on conservatives failed.
Most Americans reject that theory, with 53% agreeing that commentators who allege conservative rhetoric was responsible were mostly attempting to use the tragedy to make conservatives look bad.
And efforts to drum up support for more control on the basis of the tragedy in Tuscon are really going nowhere.
Most Americans… do not believe tougher gun laws in Arizona would have prevented these shootings. One in five say stricter laws would have prevented the tragedy, while 72% disagree.
23 Nov 2010
Zogby’s latest poll gives the Chosen One a whopping 39%. In comparison with potential 2012 opponents, Obama trails Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush and Newt Gingrich and is just one point ahead of Sarah Palin.
The percentage of likely voters saying the U.S. is on the wrong track is now the highest since Obama took office at 69%.
2012 is shaping up to be a blow out resembling 1980.
30 Oct 2010
Eugène Delacroix, La Liberté guidant le peuple, 1830, Louvre.
27% of the nation’s voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as president. Forty-four percent (44%) Strongly Disapprove, giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -17.
65% of Likely U.S. Voters say if they had the option next week, they would vote to get rid of the entire Congress and start all over again.
06 Oct 2010
Katsushika Hokusai, The Great Wave off Kanagawa, c.1829-1832
John Fund discusses the startling results of the latest Gallup Poll.
Yesterday, Gallup delivered its first 2010 “likely voter” poll and the results floored the political community. In the generic ballot question, which asks which party a voter would favor in a generic House contest, Gallup gave the GOP a 46% to 42% edge. But then Gallup applied two versions of its “likely voter” turnout model. In its “high turnout model,” Republicans led Democrats by 53% to 40%. In its “low turnout model,” the GOP edge was a stunning 56% to 38%. That kind of margin in favor of Republicans has never been seen in Gallup surveys.
What should worry Democrats most is that the “low turnout model” is typical of recent midterm elections. If the Gallup numbers hold up (and the firm cautions that “the race often tightens in the final month of the campaign”), some word more cataclysmic than “tsunami” would be needed for the Democratic losses.
Michael Barone, co-author of the Almanac of American Politics, says either of the Gallup turnout models would produce “a Republican House majority the likes of which we have not seen since the election cycles of 1946 or even 1928.” Mr. Barone says the historical parallel might no longer be 1994, when the GOP gained 54 House seats, but instead 1894, when Republicans gained more than 100 House seats in the middle of the economic downturn that engulfed Democratic President Grover Cleveland.
19 Aug 2010
Obama looks at home in Islamic outfits
Our lords and masters at the Washington Post are in a foul humor today because, once again, the American people has proven itself to be an affront and an embarrassment to its betters.
Bitterly, the Post notes the results of latest Pew Research poll.
The number of Americans who believe—wrongly—that President Obama is a Muslim has increased significantly since his inauguration and now account for nearly 20 percent of the nation’s population.
What is the matter with you people? Don’t you read the Post?
It’s right there, in black and white, right in front of you. Obama is a Muslim is WRONG. And the correct answer is also there.
The number of people who now correctly identify Obama as a Christian has dropped to 34 percent.
After all, Obama has formally identified himself as a Christian, attending for more than 20 years a politically-influential, inner city Black Liberation church, whose congregation whoops and hollers and sings loud hymns in the intervals between delivery of the gospel according to Marx and God-damn-America! sermons by its extravagantly unorthodox cast of clergy. Does attending such a church by an ambitious young community organizer angling for political support for election to minority legislative seats not count as serious evidence of Christian belief?
How can a fifth of the country possibly answer affirmatively to a poll question that asks, Is Barack Obama a Muslim?
Well… it’s not as if Barack Hussein Obama is not an Islamic name or that he does not have a Muslim father and grandfather, which last considerations—in some people’s eyes, Muslims, at least—would automatically make him a Muslim.
When I was a boy, I went to parochial school, was taught religion out of the Baltimore Catechism, and served mass as an altar boy. If someone pointed to those facts as evidence of my having a Roman Catholic identity, despite my adult skepticism, I don’t think I could reasonably claim that he was incorrect.
Barack Obama, at the same period of life, was attending a madrassa, memorizing verses of the Koran, and knocking his forehead on the floor during devotions at a mosque in Indonesia. Even if Obama is as estranged from the religion of his boyhood as I am from mine, it would not be incorrect to identify him as being a Muslim by birth and upbringing.
But Barack Obama’s personal relationship with Islam clearly did not stop when he moved from Indonesia to Hawaii.
Just the other day, an American president celebrated Ramadan in the White House and held an… how do you spell it? “Iftar dinner” in the State Dining Room. How many Iftar dinners does the average Christian American hold?
While American troops are in the field fighting against Islamic fanatics, that president praised Islam and claimed (on heaven only knows what basis) that Islam has “always been part of America” and that Mohammedans (what ones?) had made extraordinary contributions to the United States. It is not typical of American presidents to make a point of celebrating the holidays of foreign adversaries in the White House or to resort to gross flattery and refer to the completely imaginary relevance and contributions of the foe.
Barack Obama, in reality, frequently displays a personal enthusiasm for Islam and Islamic culture. He always speaks of “Pahk-ee-stan,” carefully adopting a native’s pronunciation. He has boasted of a personal interest in Urdu poetry. He proudly demonstrates his familiarity with Islamic practices, customs, and terms, and has been known to incorporate Islamic phrases, greetings, and parting salutations in his public statements. He said “Ramadan Kareem” just the other day.
It is the Washington Post which is silly, naive, and deluded to take a politician’s pro forma practically required public position as probative and factual and to dismiss as irrational the American public’s obvious perception of differences in Barack Obama’s loyalties and identity.
That Pew Poll merely shows that the American people are capable of thinking for themselves, independently of the media establishment which believes itself entitled to define reality any way it likes, and the Washington Post’s petulant response evidences its frustration with its inability to impose its own version of reality.