The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Overarching Assumptions Behind Zombie’s Five Falsies

Posted on | September 27, 2012 | 14 Comments

by Smitty

Great post, via Insty, by Zombie, on five bogus assumptions behind the polls:

This entire strategy, which dominates the 2012 election even more than it dominated earlier campaigns, is based on some amateurish assumptions about mass psychology that have never been proven, or even tested. I find it extremely odd that no one has ever questioned these assumptions — until now, at least — because so much depends on them. What if it turns out, after endless person-hours expended on the Poll Wars, that the assumptions justifying poll-skewing are completely wrong?

The amateurish assumptions have indeed been tested. See Europe around 80 years ago. The basic assumption is not just that people are sheep, but that a crowd of people is a mindless lump of mutton. The Left operates as though that lump of mutton cannot analyze anything, and is driven by whatever crude image it was just shown. Irrespective of whether the last image contradicts the penultimate one.

Al Gore’s internet has blown that notion to lamb chops. The real problem was always information dispersal, and the internet has substantially diminished both the Left’s grip on information, and the difficulty of locating fellow liberty-minded souls.

And so the Left, having aborted all grasp of Truth, is faced with diminishing returns on its lies. Couldn’t happen to a sadder pack of jackwagons.

One hopes that the GOP are paying attention to the Left’s meltdown, and effectively scared straight by the debacle.


14 Responses to “Overarching Assumptions Behind Zombie’s Five Falsies”

  1. AngelaTC
    September 27th, 2012 @ 6:45 pm

    Love you to death Smitty, but this sounds a bit like what I refer to as the “Ron Paul Supporter Denial Symptom.” The polls are wrong, the internet is right, they’re not polling indy’s, they’re not polling cell phones…should I go on?

  2. unclebryan
    September 27th, 2012 @ 7:16 pm

    Yes — you should go on. And I don’t mean continue.

    How about some aloe vera for that burn I just laid on you?

  3. Wombat_socho
    September 27th, 2012 @ 7:31 pm

    I think it’s been clearly established by now that the polls ARE wrong.

  4. K-Bob
    September 27th, 2012 @ 8:55 pm

    This is why I love the fact that Smitty is on this blog. Those of us who work in information technologies are all too aware of how the statistics have been so badly misunderstood by the Sociology majors (no offense to you Sociology majors out there). The ones who get involved in political analysis always seem to struggle with the fundamental math behind the formulas they use, and miss the important points about distributions, populations, and uptake of information.

    Marketing companies are usually much better at honing in on these things. Not great, but better.

    Folks are typically unaware that the father of the global communications satellite, Arthur C. Clarke, also predicted decades ago that the powerful would lose their control over information. This goes doubly for those who would presume to sell themselves as the premier analysts of that information.

    I predict a “derivatives” type market for information analysis (if it hasn’t happened already) that involves taking apart the data inside polls and marketing surveys, and re-composing it to produce better understanding of what people think.

  5. Adjoran
    September 28th, 2012 @ 3:03 am

    I would like to take this opportunity to address all those Sociology majors out there who K-Bob has taken such care not to offend.

    Please imagine the most offensive insult you might hear, and make believe it came from me.

  6. Adjoran
    September 28th, 2012 @ 3:05 am

    When poll samples assume a bigger Democrat turnout advantage than in their wave year of 2008, the second biggest of all time after the post-Watergate & pardon election in 1976, it is hardly a conspiracy theory to wonder why or to suggest the electorate is not expected by any observer to look like the samples.

  7. K-Bob
    September 28th, 2012 @ 3:05 am

    Right on cue, comes Nate SIlver with a freshly minted stale rebranding of the “polls show obama winning” ploy. Why, it’s going to be 2008 all over again!

    It’s going to be so nice rubbing certain noses in this crap November 7th.

    Even funnier, he links to a table showing Obama handily winning in the coal states he is killing.

    Clue for Mr. Silver: killing coal has lost Obama a union full of votes, and that’s only the start of it.

  8. scarymatt
    September 28th, 2012 @ 8:17 am

    Take your p-values and shove ’em where the sun don’t shine.

  9. scarymatt
    September 28th, 2012 @ 8:21 am

    I would agree with large intake of salt with the polls, though I’m not as confident as Smitty about how wrong they are. They definitely show that for all the disaster of this administration, there are still way too many people who want more.

    Also, it seems like there are quite a few that disagree with each other. This, to me, is a sign that the polling isn’t settled. I’m favorable to a Carter-Reagan like opinion cascade, but that may just be me wishcasting.

  10. Bob Belvedere
    September 28th, 2012 @ 9:19 am

    I second Adj’s motion, Mr. Speaker.

  11. Bob Belvedere
    September 28th, 2012 @ 9:20 am

    One hopes that the GOP are paying attention to the Left’s meltdown, and effectively scared straight by the debacle.

    Don’t get your hopes up too high, Admiral, that The Stupid Party will change.

  12. Peregrine
    September 28th, 2012 @ 11:15 am

    To be fair, a goodly portion of the electorate are, in fact, neuron-free lumps of mutton. I know: I’m in California and am surrounded by same. However, the Left’s attempts to move the herd are pointless, as they are by and large voting Hard Lefty to begin with.

  13. JeffS
    September 28th, 2012 @ 12:45 pm

    Sociology majors are akin to political science majors: if they don’t get a job teaching somewhere, they’ll go into the fast food business.

  14. richard mcenroe
    September 28th, 2012 @ 3:12 pm

    The simple fact is, a LARGE part of the voting public DOESN’T WANT to know.

    It’s a scary thing to watch when you try to talk them. You can give them facts, you can give them sources. Literally, their heads wobble for a moment and then some version of “No, I don’t believe it” dribbles out of their pie-holes.

    It reminds me of a scary investigative report Fox did a few years back where they followed a convicted pedophile around and he literally could not believe them when they told him those little boys on the street were not coming on to him. It simply didn’t register as a possibility.