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What About This . . .? 8.10.2017

You’d think that people relying on information generated by polls would be very, very difficult to find. After all, the biggest statistical fiasco since Dewey’s “assured” win over Truman in the 1948 presidential election happened to us just a few months ago.
Public opinion polls and their statistical treatments were so sure that our next president would be Hillary Clinton that no one, NO ONE thought Donald Trump could even compete, let alone come close. The Donald would be lucky, everyone agreed, if he was not embarrassingly repudiated.
We all know how that turned out, and yet, little by little, news stories based on poll results seem to be creeping back into the media.
Considering how wrong they got a poll asking simply, “Who will be the next president?” you wonder how reports can be based on polls presented in such ways that responses can be crafted to mean just about anything.
For example: Your telephone rings and you are asked to respond to a question ‘survey.” You say, “Sure.” You are asked to choose the more correct statement: 1) The moon is made from blue cheese. Or (2) Congress is doing as good a job as it can, being made up, as it is, of so many scum-dogs.
Forced to choose, being absolute-ly sure the moon is not made of cheese, you select the second alternative as the more correct state-ment. And your response is reported: “99% of the respondees to our poll said Congress was doing a good job.”
I can think of three things we might consider doing to demonstrate our dissatisfaction with polls reported as facts: 1) Refuse to participate; 2) Lie, choose the most ridiculous alternative answers, sound so confused the poll takers think they have called a local politician by mistake; 3) Complain each and every time a poll or poll results are reported in any media as reliable information. Ask how many participated out of how many were asked, where did the responders live, what time of the day was the poll taken, what ages were represented, what affiliations, what statistical tools were employed to examine the data, were the polls replicated with confirming results, etc. so that whoever you are speaking with will never want to receive such a barrage of questions again.
Perhaps then we might see a reduction in the number of polls reported in the media telling us what the pollsters want us to believe we think. This might leave more room in various media for the “important stuff” we might be missing like small plane crashes, weather peculiarities, police car chases, trailer fires, pickup wrecks, unidentified guys firing automatic weapons over sand berms, children molested by religious leaders and other necessary informa-tion like that.