Thursday, November 03, 2005

Update: CBS Poll Skewed to Obtain Desired Results

(Hat Tip Newsbusters, Real Clear Politics)

Apparently, I was right to be skeptical of the CBS poll released yesterday showing, among other things, President Bush with an approval rating of only 35%. According to The RCP Blog, the poll sample broke down this way:

Now for the numbers behind the numbers.
Take a look at the composition of the respondents:

Total Respondents (Unweighted) = 936

Republicans = 259 (27.67%)
Democrats = 326 (34.83%)
Independents = 351 (37.5%)

Now look at the weighted sample:

Republicans: 223 (23.80%)
Democrats: 326 (34.79%)
Independents: 388 (41.4%)

The result is a 35% job approval for the president, which is roughly 4-8 points lower than the other polls out right now.

Newsbusters takes the numbers and provides some additional analysis that, while revealing, is not particularly surprising when considering the source of the poll:

To put these numbers in proper perspective, according to the November 2004 exit
, the nation’s current party affiliation is 37 percent Democrats, 37 percent Republicans, and 26 percent Independents. As such, the polling agency involved in this result fell 36 percent short in sampling Republicans while over-sampling Independents by 59 percent.

This demonstrates what many statisticians have been saying about polls for years: If you are trying to ascertain a certain answer to a question, all you have to do is ask the right people.

I suppose my off-hand comment yesterday suggesting the poll results arrived via fax from Kinko's in Abilene, was not quite as over-the-top as I originally thought. One would think CBS would be a bit more careful with the information they release, considering their role in the forged document scandal of September 2004, especially considering the ease with which poll results can be analyzed. As the old saying goes: Some people just never learn!

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Thanks to: Nif and Mudville Gazette

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