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« Desert Queen-Gertrude Bell and the Creation of Modern Iraq | Main | More on Bias in the Polls »

July 23, 2004


Patrick Brown

It's an interesting issue, Mike. One thing that occurs to me on reading the USA Today questions is that in any questions asking who you would vote for, Kerry or Kerry-Edwards is always mentioned first, Bush or Bush/Cheney last. Don't know if that's true for every person polled, but it might have some effect. There's also the issue that the questions encourage people to think about Bush's record as President, so they may think quite deeply about him as a candidate. But Kerry has never been President so there is no equivalent question asking people to think about his record.

In other words, the structure of the poll encourages more reflection on Bush than on Kerry in order to answer the pollster's questions. But in order to vote, citizens may think equally deeply about Kerry's record, and the GOP will no doubt encourage them to do that with advertising between now and November. Voters thinking more deeply about Kerry is unlikely to be a good thing for the Democrats.

One way of assessing the kind of bias you're asking about would be to look at opinion sources other than media polls, sources such as the Iowa Electronic Markets (link: There, people "buy shares" in various outcomes - Bush wins, Kerry wins, etc. After the election, winners' shares are worth something, losers' shares are worthless, and this is real money. The idea is that players in the market are not expressing their personal preferences or opinions about who would do a good job. Rather, they're betting on who is going to win, and doing so not as a pure gamble (like a slot machine) but on the basis of knowledge. They collect knowledge from all sorts of sources - media news, talking to people at the office, etc. - and make their bets about who is going to win. The market has a good record. To the extent that the media polls are out of sync with the IEM, I would think that is an indication of bias in the polls.


I call the biased polls POLLAGANDA.

It is really propaganda in the poll.

The lesson is: Dont be afraid to speak your mind. Fear of expression your true views is on small step down the slippery slope of political correctness and "1984"-style conformity.

Liberating Iraq blog

M. Simon

What the left needs more than anything else is a November surprise. Now is no time to tell the truth. Save it for 02 Nov.

phoenix az painter

It's now or never. We should start working.

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