Alarming News: I like Morgan Freeberg. A lot.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: We were following a trackback and thinking "hmmm... this is a bloody excellent post!", and then we realized that it was just part III of, well, three...Damn. I wish I'd written those.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: ...I just remembered that I found a new blog a short while ago, House of Eratosthenes, that I really like. I like his common sense approach and his curiosity when it comes to why people believe what they believe rather than just what they believe.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is an intriguing guy...[he] asks great questions and answers others with style, flair, reason and wit. On the blogroll he goes. Make him a part of your regular blogospheric reading. I certainly will.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is brilliant.
Common Sense Junction: Misha @ Anti-Idiotarian never ceases to amaze me. He keeps finding other good blogs. I went over to A.I. this morning for my daily Misha fix and he had found this guy named Morgan Freeberg in Fair Oaks, California, that has a blog, House of Eratosthenes. Freeberg says its "The Blog That Nobody Reads" but it may now become the blog that everybody reads.
Jaded Haven: Good God, Morgan, you cover a topic from front to back with a screwy thoroughness I find mind boggling. I'm in awe of your thought proccesses, my friend, you're an exceptional talent. You start by throwing in the kitchen sink, tie in someone's syphilitic uncle, bend around a rip tide of brilliance and bring it all home in a neat, diamond dripping package of an exceptionally readable moment of damn fine wordsmithing. I love reading you.
Mein Blogovault: Make "the Blog that No One Reads" one of your daily reads.
Philmon: When Morgan meanders, stick with him - he's got a point and it'll be worth it in the end. He's not a hit-and-run snarky quip kind of guy. The pieces all fall into place like tumblers in a lock and bang! He's opened a cognative door for you.
Rightlinx: Morgan at House of Eratosthenes is one of the best writers out there. I read him nearly every day because he manages to provide an interesting perspective, even though I don't always agree.
Poetic Justice: Cletus! Ah gots a laiv one fer yew...
Romney has gained 3 points since the last time CNN ran its poll, in late September, when Obama led 50%-47%. That is good news for the Republican ticket, especially since the poll was conducted after Hurricane Sandy.
Yet there is something odd–and even ridiculous–in the poll’s sample: of the 693 likely voters in the total sample of 1,010 adults polled, “41% described themselves as Democrats, 29% described themselves as Independents, and 30% described themselves as Republicans.”
In other words, the poll is a D+11 outlier. It presents a picture of an electorate that is far more pro-Obama than it was in the historic 2008 election. That is extremely unlikely.
And…it’s been going on and going on, and the “smart money” says we should ignore that part of it and treat the polls as gospel.
But that’s where the other link comes in.
If you look at history, which poll takers do, they consider what percentage of the population votes Democratic and what percentage votes Republican. For many years, Democrats typically make up 36-38% of the election; the remainder is composed of Republicans and independents. The Democrat percentage is so consistent that the election is won or lost by how many Republicans vote plus whatever the independents do.
A few short paragraphs of examples from recent history, in which democrat percentage wobbles between 36% and 38%. It is never higher than 39%, the figure from their magic year of 2008. Then…
Okay. Let us say you are a pollster. You conduct a poll in which you call a few thousand numbers around the US, and hope that you get about a thousand people to participate all the way through.
You ask them if they are registered voters because you don’t need participants who cannot or will not vote. Sometimes, you ask if they are likely voters. This last part is very essential, the Czar believes, because only a small percentage of registered voters actually bother to act like mature adults and vote.
But many organizations don’t care. They only want to know if you were to vote, for whom would you vote if the election were held today? Then they ask if you are a Democrat, Republican, or Independent.
After that, the data are collected and then “normalized.” That’s where it gets interesting…you should go read it top to bottom, and I’d still be saying that if I didn’t like what it was pointing out because it’s all game-changing. And rather hard to refute, from what I can see.
The takeaway from it all is, the polling has wandered down the same evolutionary avenue as any other overly-institutionalized discipline: Process matters more than results. In fact, the aroma of this process-over-results value system is likely more pungent in polling than anywhere else, since in this field of effort the one great sin you can commit is to be an “outlier.” Polls are invalidated as they come out because they are outliers. They are not invalidated after the fact because they turned out to be wrong…not with too much zeal anyway…because it’s after the fact. We talk a lot about pollsters with “egg on their faces.” And I imagine maybe it’s a bit tougher to sell the product, maybe, when the polling service didn’t predict the result like it’s supposed to do. But do the brand names really suffer any lasting damage? It does not seem to be so. I see people saying “Listen to this guy, because he called the 2004 or 2008 election right.” I do not see, quite so often, anybody saying “Stop listening to [insert really, really big name here], because he/she/they called the election for this guy and it went to that guy.”
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