By Bruce Walker
Gallup is the oldest major polling organization in America. It has a strong interest in credibility with the public, because if its polls are wrong then its value drops to nothing. Gallup Polls, by and large, are fairly accurate reflections of what is actually polled. So when Gallup asks Americans in different states about their ideology, the reported data seems reasonable. The problem, however, is that unless one looks at the data and not at how Gallup entitles its polls, big stories are lost.
As one example, Gallup in the last year or so has finally begun asking Americans about their ideological persuasion and reporting the results of those polls. A close examination of Gallup's reported data shows an absolutely stunning fact. In the August 14, 2009 poll, conservatives outnumbered liberals in virtually all of the fifty states, even in hotbeds of radicalism like Massachusetts and Vermont. What was the title of that poll? "Conservative Label Prevails in South." On February 3, 2010, Gallup repeated the poll. The results were the same (every state was more conservative than liberal), but what was the title of that poll? "Three Deep South States Are Most Conservative" (not something like "Conservatives Still Outnumber Liberals in Every State." On August 2, 2010, Gallup tested the waters again. This time, there were more liberals than conservatives in one state, Rhode Island, leading Gallup to give this poll the reasonable title "Wyoming, Mississippi, Utah Rank as Most Conservative States."
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Obama’s winning this race
By Bruce Walker