Interpreting Polls

by Sal on February 28, 2006

in Politics

A new CBS News Poll shows Bush at all-time low approval ratings of 34%, and that they think he is doing a poor job in the war on Terror in a 51% to 43% margin.

However, points out the following about the poll:

“Total Republicans” contacted: 272 unweighted and 289 weighted.
“Total Democrats” contacted: 409 unweighted and 381 weighted.
“Total Independents” contacted: 337 unweighted and 348 weighted.

This is in contrast to the party affiliation of Americans, based on the results of the 2004 election and other polls conducted in 2005 to confirm, is as follows:

30% Republican
33% Democrat
37% Independent

In this poll, the weighted poll shows 37% Democrats and 28% Republicans, with the remaining being independent. This gives the Democrats a 5% swing in number of respondents, thus making the entire poll bogus.

While it is true that Bush is down lately (Rasmussen, the most accurate of all pollsters, has Bush at 43%), the CBS poll is an example of shameless partisanship in the name of “scientific” polling. It just goes to prove the old saying penned by the eloquent Mark Twain: “There are three types of lies — Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics.”

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Ryan February 28, 2006 at 2:12 pm

I totally agree with that assessment. Whenever a really good or really bad poll comes out I like to check the internals. Rush informed me of the CBS poll today and I’m glad you put in such estute analysis, Sal.


Mike February 28, 2006 at 4:17 pm

Though the numbers need not be exact, a properly conducted poll should have a partisan breakdown as close as possible to 37 percent Republican, 37 percent Democrat and 26 percent independent. A legit poll can still give a take a point or two in either direction.

Furthermore, many of the questions were misleading, especially on the wiretap issue. This poll was designed to shape public opinion rather than reflecting it. But then again, what else would you expect from the network of forged memos?


noonan March 6, 2006 at 5:28 pm

Speaking of liberal biases, check out

Seems Newsweek has its own agenda.


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