The Unbearable Lightness of Polling

Take a close look at the first question that I came across in a poll I was asked to respond to today.

Here’s the.pdf if the screen image is too small to read: survey-question.

This question illustrates how untrustworthy poll results might be. What purports to be a simple Yes/No question is actually a compound question that can be answered two conflicting ways:

“Do you think Barack Obama has prepared himself enough for the job of President….”

[No, I don’t think he’s prepared himself]

“…, or hasn’t he”

[Yes, he hasn’t]

Which part of the question you choose to answer can skew the results. If you answer “no” are you you saying “he isn’t prepared” or if you answer “yes” are you saying “he hasn’t prepared himself”?

Keep this in mind the next time the media feeds you poll results.

Extra Reading:

Real Clear Politics Poll Averages,

Do Polls Lie About Race?, New York Times

Obama Up By 10 Points as McCain’s Favorability Ratings Fall, Washington Post

WaPo poll: Obama rated a “safer” choice for president than McCain,

OVER?!?!? NOTHING’s Over Until We Decide It Is, The Jawa Report

Tracking Polls Find Signs of Hope for McCain, The American Thinker


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Filed under 2008 Election, Barack Obama, John McCain, Politics, Polls

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