Damned Lies And Statistics

Earlier this week, I noted that the WaPo released a Presidential preference poll that…:

  • Bucks all current polling and shows President Obama firmly in the dirver’s seat, which…
  • releases no crosstabs or backup data for mere consumers to use to judge the poll’s context, parameters or validity.

As I predicted, only faster, the Strib is already on board.  Joe Doakes – making a rare two-fer today – wrote to ask about h this column by Sue Hogan at the Strib:

“Catholics” is a pretty broad label. Abortion advocate John Kerry claims to be Catholic and so do openly-gay parishioners at St. Joan of Arc in Minneapolis as well as traditionalists who attend St. Agnes in St. Paul.

Who did they poll?

How was the question worded?

Silly Doakes.  Raw data is for gatekeepers.

Let’s take a look at Hogan’s piece:

A majority of U.S. Catholics support President Obama’s decision to require religious institutions to include birth control in health insurance plans, according to two new polls.

A poll by the Public Religion Research Institute in Washington, D.C., found that support among Catholics (58 percent) is higher than that of the American public overall (55 percent).

And who exactly is the “Public Religion Research Institute?  They describe themselves as “non-partisan”, which pretty much inevitably means “left-leaning”.  You be the judge.  Their piece on the poll doesn’t go into a lot more detail than Hogan’s puff piece.

Likewise, a Public Policy Polling survey commissioned by Planned Parenthood found that Obama’s position enjoys support from 56 percent of American voters. Of the Catholics polled, 53 percent agreed with the president.

Meanwhile, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops continues to decry the president’s decision, saying that it violates religious freedom.

And as we’ve noted in the past, PPP voter polls trend left of reality.

Look – I’ve expressed my skepticism that the Catholic Street really cares that much about the issue, or that the “middle management” would choose Vatican doctrine over progressivism.  It could be that the polls are accurate.  Since they seem to confirm my hunch, that’s a point in their favor [1]

But who did they poll?  What questions did they ask?

And, more importantlly, why aren’t they teliling us who they polled and what they asked?

Remember – distrust but validate.  Then, usually, distrust some more.

[1] Joking.  I’m a kidder.  I kid.

16 thoughts on “Damned Lies And Statistics

  1. The drive-by media strikes again. Dear leader’s policy decisions are wise and insightful, until he changes his mind. Then the topic becomes “un-newsworthy”.

  2. Went to the google, precious little to be found out about “Public Religion Research Institute”, except that it shows up on moonbat websites exclusively.

    Oh, *snap*!

  3. Actually he didn’t cave Ben.

    He’s proposing the Hawaii Plus option. Which basically says the church doesn’t need to PAY for it, but they still do need to direct their employees on where to get contraception options.

    It’s as if the White House hasn’t even tried to understand why the Catholic Church is pissed about this mandate. Hint: It’s NOT about the cost part. It’s that they think it’s unholy and evil.

    So in “compromise” the White House has taken away the part of the mandate nobody cared about, but is still insisting on the part that the church believes is the very face of evil.

    Doomed to failure.

  4. So a compounded unforced error.
    Lefties would have a better understanding of why Obama does certain things if they begin by catapulting the notion that he is smart.

  5. The question is-Is Obama really that stupid, or does he think that we (Catholics specifically) are?

  6. He didn’t cave. Just funneling the money from the institutions to an insurance company so the insurance company can give them “free” products.

  7. The point being, an insurance contract is a private contract between a consumer and a provider. The federal government has absolutely no business involving itself unless the consumer is a government employee. But we are in the era of Obama Imperial Mandates. In his second reign, er, I mean term, he will be mandating what type of toilet paper you will be allowed to purchase. That soft, fluffy paper uses too many trees.

  8. Methodology doesn’t matter to lefty pollsters. What they seek to conclude through their polls is that God is dead, or at least, irrelevant; and that followers of God are misguided miscreants and reality-addled buffoons – you know, Republicans. Then, they can splash it across their mastheads for the American Idol/Lady Gaga crowd to consume as “news.”

    And they do.

  9. One question that might be asked is: Did they actually ask ANYBODY, or did they just make this up? There is a whole book called “how to lie with statistics” and you don’t need to have actually data to do it.

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