” Polls are deployed only when they might prove useful — that is, helpful to the powers that be in their question to maintain their position and influence.” — Christopher Hitchens, Harper’s Magazine, 1992 The latest rod by which to beat the President of the United States is a Washington Post/ABC News poll showing Mr. Trump’s approval ratings languishing at 36 per cent. Americans across the board appear, on first take, to be well out of love with the new President. But the “small print” on the polls reveals something quite disturbing about the methodology of the group responsible. The poll was performed by AbtAssociates — a swamp dweller-staffed research and policy shop in Cambridge, MA. AbtAssociates board members include former Bob Dole, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Planned Parenthood, World Bank, and Deloitte staffers. In other words, it is a microcosm of the party of Davos. But that in itself doesn’t rule AbtAssociates out from doing decent work. What might, however, is the underlying philosophy behind political polling, and the methodology they use to conduct it. WaPo/ABC polling obviously predicted the U.S. election incorrectly. They’ll point to the “margin of error” and claim they were aiming to predict the popular vote, of course. But this still led to them presenting Mrs. Clinton as the presumptive winner. Them, and basically everyone else, which is unsurprising, given the way these things work. The latest headlines — which themselves have seeded hundreds of articles in the press about the matter — are about President Trump’s unpopularity, born out of a poll of just 1,001 people. That’s an average of 20 people per state in the U.S. they hold up as “representative”. The representative element comes from projecting this data out using pollster voodoo. This is what you’re really paying for when you commission a poll. Anyone can survey 1,001 people, but these guys claim to know the “right” people, and then be able to project their views out onto the whole nation. Then we go into the data tables. Since this time last year they have over-represented Democrat voters in their studies. For this latest one, 35 per cent of their respondents were Democrats, 23 per cent were Republicans, 35 per cent were Independents (who in turn lean towards voting Democrat), six per cent said ‘Other’, and two per cent had no opinion on the matter. Interviews, they add, were conducted in English and Spanish, and demographic questions they asked are not included in the data.
How convenient.. Things to keep in mind the next time you see another “breaking news” poll on CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS/NPR or MSNBC, if you actually watch those channels for news. To read the rest of this eye-opening op/ed by Raheem Kassam, click on the text above.