Thursday, 11 September 2003

More polling

Daniel Drezner has the scoop on a poll of Californians conducted by Knowledge Networks on behalf of Stanford University’s Hoover Institution from August 28 through September 8 that finds Arnold Schwarzenegger in a commanding lead and the recall with 62% support, contrary to many polls that show Bustamante in the lead and the recall question in a dead heat. One possible explanation for the difference:

The Stanford/Knowledge Networks survey is the first to ask voters to choose from the same list of 135 candidates that they will see on election day. Previous polls have restricted voters’ choices to the top candidates and have allowed respondents to select “undecided” or similar options.

If this methodological difference alone* makes that large a shift in the results—and there is fairly good reason to believe that it does—then there’s good reason to believe that the existing polling is flawed, since this methodology more accurately reflects the balloting environment.

Meanwhile, SacBee columnist Daniel Weintraub thinks a Schwarzennegger-McClintock detente may be in the offing.

Robert of Boomshock has some thoughts on the meaning of the poll as well. As for Knowledge Networks’ methodology, I recommend this page which explains how their panel works; it's pretty dissimilar from Harris Interactive’s approach. KN in general has some pretty smart people on board (as, for that matter, does HI) who’ve put a lot of thought in how to make Internet-based surveys representative.

* There are other possible explanations for the difference; for example, it could be simply the result of random chance (hence why pollsters attach 95% confidence intervals to these estimates) or it could be the result of different compositions of the WebTV-based Knowledge Networks panel and the set of Californians who respond to telephone surveys. On the latter point, the only independent comparison I’ve seen between Knowledge Networks’ methodology and telephone polling (RDD) shows the two to provide roughly equivalent estimates of population parameters (Harris Interactive’s propensity-weighting system for its opt-in Internet-based system, however, seemed to outperform both RDD and Knowledge Networks).


I think Michele and Dean have it covered.

Me? I’m going to try to do a bunch of things that would piss Osama off. That is, if he wasn’t worm food already (even those bozos in Lebanon who kidnapped hostages back in the 80s knew how to get newspapers to prove the video was recent). Among them:

  • Go to work.
  • Eat some pork products.
  • Watch some college football.
  • Work on my dissertation.
  • Live.

One thing I won’t be doing: this:

A vigil, sponsored by the UM Activist Coalition, will also be at 6:15 p.m. on the porch of the Croft Institute for International Studies building.

“It will mostly be a silent-type vigil,” Greg Johnson, member of the coalition and blues curator, said. “It's just in honor of all those who died on Sept. 11 and all those who died in resulting policies that have occurred.” [emphasis mine]

Following the vigil, a panel discussion, co-hosted by UMAC and the Croft Institute, will explore “September 11: Two Years Later. What has Changed – where do we go from here?”

Moderated by executive director of the Croft Institute, Michael Metcalf, the panel discussion will include Nirit Ben-Ari, an Israeli peace activist, Omar Bada, a Palestinian peace activist and UM economics professor Katsuaki Terasawa.

(a) What in the fuck do Israeli and Palestinian peace activists have to do with 9/11? I honestly could give so little of a shit about people who celebrated in the streets when they learned about the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. (b) I’m not participating in any vigil in honor of the Taliban and Ba’ath Party (two groups many of whose members who have—most deservedly—died as a result of said “policies”). What an amazing display of questionable taste by Croft to have any involvement in this crapfest.