July 21, 2010

Cooking With Gallup, Per RedState: Generic Congressional Poll Changes Disclosed Sample Base

CookingWithGallup0710UPDATE, 11:30 P.M.: Gallup has changed the language describing the July 12-18 poll and says it really sampled “registered voters” instead of “adults,” and has included an Editor’s note saying that the original description of having used “adults” was wrong.

(Original Post)

There are lots of “creative” ways to generate an artificial sense of momentum for a foundering political party.

Based on information provided at its own report, it appears that the Gallup polling organization may have come up with a new one. Gallup didn’t merely play with percentage of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents between poll dates. In the case of a generic Congressional poll done on July 12-18, the organization switched to a significantly different sampling base. Whereas previous efforts on the topic sample registered voters, the July 12-18 poll sampled all adults.

RedState’s Neil Stevens notes that in the transition, what was a one-point generic ballot lead for Democrats a week earlier using registered voters zoomed to six points in the July 12-18 tabulation of “all adults.”

Stevens posted on this yesterday (HT HyScience), and benchmarked the latest poll to one done from May 24-30 (bolds are mine):

Remember on June 2 when Republicans took a big lead in the Gallup generic ballot? I used it to project conservatively a 45 seat Republican gain in the House. This was a poll of registered voters, according to Gallup’s Survey Methods notes:

Results are based on telephone interviews conducted May 24-30, 2010, with a random sample of 1,594 registered voters, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, selected using a random-digit-dial sampling technique.

But now on July 19 that Democrats are showing a big lead, despite the fact that Gallup’s pretty graph now is titled Candidate Preferences in 2010 Congressional Elections, Among Registered Voters, the sampling is different:

Results are based on telephone interviews conducted as part of Gallup Daily tracking July 12-18, 2010, with a random sample of 1,535 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, selected using random-digit-dial sampling.

Catch the difference? The Republicans lead with a sample of Registered Voters, but the Democrats lead with a sample of Adults. Someone who trusted Gallup’s pretty, but lying, picture would never have noticed.

It is terribly dishonest for Gallup to string together two different polls as one series, as Gallup does not only in their graphs, but in their write-ups as well.

Assuming all is as Stevens details, poll cooking doesn’t get much more blatant than this.

I suppose it’s conceivable that Gallup’s disclosure is in error, but in the current political and economic environment, it’s more than a little hard to take that Democrats have achieved significant generic Congressional ballot gains in the past week. Gallup’s post implies that the improvement occurred because “the U.S. Senate passed a major financial reform bill touted as reining in Wall Street.” Paraphrasing tennis great John McEnroe in one of his less than perfect moments: They cannot be serious.

It will be interesting, and telling, to see if Gallup sticks with the much less predictive “all adults” metric in future reports on the topic, switches back to registered voters, and/or quietly flushes its latest effort down the memory hole at some future point.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Meanwhile, Back in the Economy …

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 1:40 pm

Housing starts: The seasonally adjusted news is bad enough (“June Housing Starts Hit 8-Month Low”), but as I’ve noted so many times before, looking at the raw data is important, especially in turbulent times.

Here, from the related Census Bureau report (11-page report; go to pages 10 and 11), are the raw housing start numbers for the past seven Junes:

June 2004 — 172,300
June 2005 — 192,800
June 2006 — 170,200
June 2007 — 137,800
June 2008 — 102,500
June 2009 — 59,100
June 2010 — 54,200

Even those figures don’t do justice to the full historical context: Scroll through all 11 pages of the report and you’ll find that only one June between 1963 (the earliest date reported) and 2008 had fewer than 100,000 starts (June 1982 — 91,100). Adjusted for population, the June figures of the past two years are the lowest on record by more than 50%, and are still headed downward.

This “Recovery Summer” thing is just a late April Fool’s joke, right?

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As explained here, the Financial “Deform” bill the president is signing today is another weapon in the arsenal of tyranny.

Meanwhile, Fan and Fred, the Frauds by Design, continue to bleed us dry, and the mortgage-mod program is experiencing failure on an unprecedented scale:

Bailout watchdogs Wednesday continued to blast the Obama administration’s flagship program to assist struggling homeowners, saying the Treasury not only isn’t doing enough for borrowers but also isn’t being honest with taxpayers.

The “growing public perception that this program is a failure will continue,” Neil Barofsky, the special inspector general watching over the government’s financial rescue programs, said at a Senate Finance Committee hearing.

He faulted the Treasury for failing to meet a “simple recommendation” that it put forth a realistic number of people it expects to help with the program.

The Obama administration has pledged aid for up to 4 million borrowers by 2012 through its Making Home Affordable mortgage-modification effort, expected to carry a price tag of $50 billion. But the program is so far providing long-term assistance for only a few hundred thousand borrowers.

The newest data available show almost 521,000 of the nearly 1.3 million modifications started have been canceled since the program began last March. Only 398,000 modifications are underway on a permanent basis.

Elizabeth Warren, who heads a separate Congressional Oversight Panel, noted that “for every family that Treasury has helped into a sustainable mortgage modification, 10 other families have lost their homes to foreclosure.”

It isn’t just a perceived failure. It is a failure.

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One suspects that the Ted Strickland administration might tout yesterday’s announced reduction of Ohio’s unemployment rate to 10.5% in June from 10.7% in May as good news.

It beats the seriously deteriorating situation of a year ago, but it’s not a sign of real improvement. On a seasonally adjusted basis from May to June:
- The state’s total labor force dropped by 15,200 (from 5.9851 million to 5.9663).
- The number of unemployed dropped by 15,700 (from 640.8 thousand to 625.1).
- Thus, total employment increased by 500.
- The rest of the drop in the number of unemployed occurred because people either gave up looking for work or left the state.

The raw numbers from June 2009 to June 2010 tell a worse story:
- The state’s workforce shrunk by 72,800 during the intervening 12 months.
- The number of unemployed dropped by 29,300.
- Thus, total employment dropped by 43,500.
- Where did these people go? They either gave up or moved out.

All the presidential visits in the between now and November that attempt to prop up Turnaround Ted Strickland will only serve to remind Buckeye State voters that the state’s decline has been a four-year group fail by Democrats in Washington and Columbus.

Latest Pajamas Media Post (‘Universities and Government Bureaucracies: The Left’s Chokepoint Charlies’) Is Up

OfficialStatistsCertificateOfPermisIt’s here.

It will go up here at BizzyBlog on Friday morning (link won’t work until then) after the blackout expires.

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So many chokepoints, so little space: Here are a few other leftist chokepoints and potential chokepoints I didn’t get to in the column –

  • Broadcast licenses. This is particularly germane at the moment, given that certain lefty journalists at the Journolist, as reported this morning at the Daily Caller, openly discussed how to go about having Fox News’s broadcast license pulled, and made it clear that if they had such power they would exercise it.
  • Political contributions. You want to try to effect political change? Well, you can’t just write a check in any amount to your favorite political candidate, as you could only 40 years ago (e.g., Gene McCarthy, whom George Will reminded us in 2005 “was utterly dependent on large early contributions from five rich liberals” in his 1968 campaign). No-no-no. You can only give a candidate so much. This works to make challenges to incumbents difficult.
  • Work during retirement. Do you want to earn more than about $14,160 per year after you retire and begin receiving Social Security benefits? From age 62-66, you’ll lose a dollar in benefits for every two dollars you earn about that threshold amount. This is a chokepoint legacy of FDR, who thought that getting seniors to stop working (the earnings penalty used to be dollar for dollar) would reduce unemployment among young people.

There are surely many other examples of chokepoints besides the ones cited here and in the PJM column.

But in at least three areas, where there is a legitimate need for chokepoints, leftists work to undermine or eliminate them:

  • Illegal immigration. Leftists undermine efforts to keep illegals from coming in, and work to thwart attempts to expel those who are caught.
  • Incarcerating criminals who deserve it. Leftist lawyers work to set them free on technicalities, regardless of whether or not the cretin involved actually did the crime.
  • Voting. The ballot box should be a chokepoint, in that only citizens without felony criminal records and who are actually alive should have a right to vote. Leftists up to and including the Obama Department of Justice are working to undermine the integrity of that chokepoint by not enforcing laws on the books requiring that voter rolls be cleaned up, and insisting that requiring ID to be able to vote is somehow discriminatory (it only “discriminates” against those who wish to vote illegally).

Positivity: Heroic mailman saves 3 lives while on the job

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:09 am

From Akron, Ohio:

The mailman finished his afternoon deliveries in an unassuming way, betraying no sign that anything out of the ordinary had occurred save for the blood on his uniform and the cut on his lip. Back at the post office, his actions were greeted with cries of disbelief: “Did you hear? Keith saved another life today.”

Such is a day in the life of Keith McVey, the postal worker with the bronzed skin and the alert blue eyes who can’t walk down the street without being honked at by passing cars filled with his admirers – or, apparently, without saving a life.

“He’s a rock star in our eyes,” says Tina Starosto, a receptionist at King Apartments, where a sign declaring “Keith Our Hero” is prominently tacked to the office wall.

Over the years, McVey, 53, has helped save three people while on his mail route, earning a reputation as the humble superhero of this small neighborhood near a lake. Last week, he threw aside his bundle of mail to perform CPR on an unconscious man on the side of the road. Two years ago, he pulled a drowning girl from the lake. And nearly 20 years ago, when a teenager tried to take his life by jumping off a bridge on a snowy winter day, McVey, unable to stop him from jumping, covered the teen with blankets and helped keep him alive until an ambulance arrived.

McVey was embarrassed about displaying the many awards and newspaper clippings that showcase his acts of derring-do for fear of, as he put it, “tooting my own horn.”

It usually starts, as most feats of heroism do, with a cry for help.
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