Tuesday, July 24, 2007

NYT gets 'creative' with polling

Start the morning reading Wally's "THIS JUST IN! MEET MEGAN THEE, PROFESSIONAL LIAR AND IDIOT!" and Cedric's "700 People Go Missing, NYT buries the story!" -- you'll need it before you read LIAR Megan Thee and her "Support for Initial Invasion Has Risen, Poll Shows" in this morning's New York Times. Thee's either a liar or someone too STUPID to understand the basics of polling.

She tells you roughly 2/3 of the latest respondents in the poll are against the illegal war but "the number of people who say the war is going 'very badly' has fallen from 45 percent earlier in July to a current reading of 35 percent, and of those who say it is going well, 29 percent now describe it as 'somewhat well' compared with 23 percent just last week." Now you can play dumb ass with Megan Thee or you can note realities.

Start with the "earlier in July" poll had 1554 respondents while this one has 889. A smaller size is not going to be as reflective (nor was it intended to be) and the poll Thee's yapping about is 665 respondents less. That's the least of its problem as anyone who took research & methodology knows. The poll also had a shorter time and note the warning sign, the small responders were phoned over the weekend. That is when you can up your conservatives and only the fools don't grasp that.

The Times writes up this poll, treats it as significant. The last one? No. In fact, they even had the paper's named pulled from a CBS poll this year. But we're not supposed to know that or notice that when American public opinion went beyond hardening against the illegal war, the New York Times that front pages polls constantly suddenly was allegedly no longer polling.

665 fewer respondents, participants contacted only on the weekend make the 'results' laughable and not comparable to the earlier poll. All variances in the two polls would be treated by social scientist with skepticism but Megan Thee runs with the thing that should raise eye brows and treats it as news. The rest of the polling doesn't reflect the lede (or headline) and the New York Times has an illegal war to sell. Megan Thee has no brain or no soul or possibly both.

The poll's findings are in line with those of one conducted last week by The New York Times and CBS News. Although both polls show a similar rise in overall support for the invasion, there was no change in measures like Mr. Bush’s handling of the war or how well the increase in troops is working, making it difficult to discern what the public may be reacting to.

No, both polls doe not show "a similar rise in overall support for the invasion" (to get that "rise," 669 respondents had to be lost). But, yes, excluding the questionable detail (which real pollsters know would immediately need further polling before being seen as anything other than a statistical anomaly) "the was no change" in the results.

While the Times works the numbers (fixes the numbers) to continue selling the illegal war, Martha notes Jon Cohen and Dan Balz' "Poll Finds Democrats Favored On War: But Bush, Congress Both Get Low Ratings on Iraq" (Washington Post) which surveys 1,125 respondents:

Most Americans see President Bush as intransigent on Iraq and prefer that the Democratic-controlled Congress make decisions about a possible withdrawal of U.S. forces, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
As the president and Congress spar over war policy, both receive negative marks from the public for their handling of the situation in Iraq. But by a large margin, Americans trust Democrats rather than the president to find a solution to a conflict that remains enormously unpopular. And more than six in 10 in the new poll said Congress should have the final say on when to bring the troops home.

[. . .]
Even among those Americans who said they had served or had a close friend or relative who served in Iraq, 38 percent approve of Bush's handling of the conflict.
At the same time, Congress fares little better with the public on the war. Just 35 percent said they approve of the way congressional Democrats are handling the situation in Iraq, with 63 percent disapproving. Two-thirds of independents give the Democrats negative marks on the war.

For those who have forgotten or never knew, "values voters" or 'vangical ones did not influence the 2004 election. That LIE was started by the Times in a front page "report" following a November poll which found the Times fudging the numbers (we covered this in November 2004) -- specifically fudged was the raw data on attitudes towards gay issues where they lumped two categories together to get negatives while contrasting that with one category of positive. If you took the "somewhats" from the positive (as they did on the negative) there was no story. So they played dumb and just happened to create a LIE that argued for Democrats to move to the center -- something the Times will always massage the numbers to get. If you've forgotten, rougly 18 months were spent by the Democratic Party responding to a non-existant, Times created myth.

And thank Susan whose e-mailed today noting the links to the paper's earlier poll lying which she's pulled from "Yo Nagourney, Check Your Fly:"

[For problems with Nagourney and Janet Elder's polling "summary" see: http://thecommonills.blogspot.com/2004/11/news-topics-fit-to-print-make-front.html,
and http://thecommonills.blogspot.com/2004/11/one-more-item-from-new-york-times.html in that order.]

Far from the lying of the Times, Lloyd returns us to reality, highlighting the following from Megan Greenwell's "17 Killed In Blasts Across Baghdad" (Washington Post):

A string of car bomb attacks left at least 17 people dead in Baghdad on Monday, many of them civilians killed by three blasts in one of the city's busiest neighborhoods. Police said 21 people died in other violent incidents across the country.
The violence occurred as the U.S. military continues to cite the success of the Baghdad security plan, which was launched in February when the first of nearly 30,000 additional American troops arrived in Iraq. Rear Adm. Mark I. Fox, the security plan's chief spokesman, said Sunday that the overall level of violence in the capital has been on a steady decline.

The capital, Baghdad, has over 5,000 extra US troops and the tiny decline (by their figures -- McClatchy Newspapers figures on bombings already disputed these claims) comes as Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) noted yesterday, "New Pentagon statistics show that the number of attacks in Iraq last month reached their highest daily average since May 2003. The data, which was obtained by Reuters, shows an upward trend in daily attacks in the four months since President Bush decided to escalate the war. During the month of June there was a daily average of 178 attacks against coalition troops, Iraqi security forces, civilians and infrastructure." And the claims regarding the capital took a further overnight in Iraq, but that's for the next entry. On yesterday's violence in the capital, Richard A. Oppel Jr. and Qais Mizher (New York Times) note, "Car bombs ripped through what is normally one of Baghdad’s least dangerous neighborhoods on Monday morning, killing at least 12 people and wounding 38. Iraqi authorities said most of the victims were people shopping at busy streetside markets."

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