2008-11-12

Picking your sources

So I come to the computer this morning and one of my favourite blog sites proclaims that "52% of evangelicals who voted for McCain think Obama is a Muslim". So I follow the link, salivating at the thought of yet another blog post proclaiming the stupidity of American Evangelicalism.

And as I read the source text, I find this important statement:
The survey is not scientific or based on random sampling. It was advertised throughout Beliefnet's Web site and newsletters. From November 3 through November 6 4,400 users completed the survey.
Which pretty much sums up the poll's usefulness, ie not very. The only stupidity being exercised here is by Beliefnet who somehow think that unscientific polls are worth taking notice of in today's politically polarised world. Americablog, the lefty blog who posted the link that I followed, is guilty too, not of stupidity but ignoring the dumbness of the poll.

1 comment:

Ron Lankshear said...

clicking on links from the 52% link I got to beliefnet with very "profound" analysis of voters based in 1135 people. Such as "Obamagelicals support gay civil unions" now how was the question put - what we discussed around here recently was essentially "if people want to sin can we by legislation stop them - what are the real priorities" so by not being supportive vs actually taking aggressive action to oppose - will in a survey question become "support".

I had a dreadful time with a phone poll before our last election the questions were so loaded.

An interesting poll posed " did I agree with the flashing signs on highway saying "drink driving is illegal" NO I don't because that is not the law - the law is being over the limit.