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News ::
Poll Control (english)
18 Mar 2003
Modified: 22 Mar 2003
Ever wonder why soooooo manypeople put sooooooo much faith in U.S. opinion polls? Not only are the polls themselves subject to manipulation, but so are the reports of their findings. The following from Counterpunch:
AP Misrepresents Poll in Headline

Our friend Chris Kromm, director of the Institute for Southern Studies, examined a March 15 AP news story on a poll on pro and anti war sentiment among We the People and promptly dashed off the following letter to AP:

March 15, 2003
Dear Associated Press, Today, the AP filed a story with the following headline: "Poll: Bush Has Solid Support for War." Many readers, of course, will read only that headline, taking with it the message that the U.S. public overwhelmingly supports the Bush Administration's drive to war in Iraq. However, after wading through reporter Will Lester's spin to actually read the poll results, one finds the exact opposite to be true.

Buried in paragraph six, we find the relevant numbers: "The poll found that about half of adults, 47 percent, say they support military action to remove Iraqi President Saddam Hussein from power and disarm Iraq, even without the support of the United Nations Security Council. Almost four in 10, 37 percent, said the United States should do that only with full support of the Security Council; 13 percent said the United States should not take military action even if the Security Council agrees."

President Bush has resolutely stated he will prosecute a war against Iraq without the "full support of the [UN] Security Council" -- and appears poised to do so.

This means that fully 50% (37% + 13%) of those polled OPPOSE the Bush Administration policy on Iraq, as compared to 47% in favor.

Why is the Associated Press afraid to honestly report the poll's findings? What can justify such an astonishingly misleading headline, followed by reporting from Mr. Lester with a similarly suspect message -- when the actual facts presented in the article point to precisely the opposite conclusion?

I await an explanation, and hopefully, a very public correction.


Chris Kromm
Institute for Southern Studies
Durham, NC
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Only the white rich have a polling advantage (english)
19 Mar 2003
Odds are that the high income bracket of the U.S. are the ones being polled. If you are affected by the loss of social services in the U.S. you are probably landing somewhere in the middle if not lower income brackets. Otherwise you may be more concerned on how to get that $75,000 S.U.V. tax break… Oh, by the way if you are a minority or a woman, the chances of you being included in these polls are even less. Here are some stats on the accessibility the “polled” have to the internet.

Internet Users: 165.75 million (2002) CIA Fact Book
53% of population have internet access
69% have phone lines

Users earning less than US$25,000 per year, the lowest income bracket measured, … numbered 4.3 million in February 2000…
A Pew Internet and American Life Project study … found that 38 percent of households that earned less than $30,000 had access to the Internet.
…the upper middle-income group earning $50,000 to $75,000. They number more than 30 million

Likewise, in 1996 the average household income for the online population was US$62,700, while in 2001 it is $49,800, a figure within a few dollars of the average household income for the general population in the 2000 U.S. Census.

Real per capita income was unchanged between 2000 and 2001 for the overall population ($22,851), each of the race groups and Hispanics. It was $26,134 for non-Hispanic Whites; $14,953 for African Americans; $24,277 for Asians and Pacific Islanders; and $13,003 for Hispanics.
The real median earnings of women age 15 and older who worked full time, year-round increased for the fifth consecutive year, rising to $29,215 -- a 3.5 percent increase between 2000 and 2001,
i support your thought, but the math is wrong (english)
22 Mar 2003
37% isn't nearly one in four. it's greater than one in three. again...i am against war in iraq, but don't make yourself discredible by skewing facts/doing bad math.