Thursday, May 15, 2014


The problem
With surveys


I have a problem with surveys, questionnaires. Even when the results agree with my well-considered opinions I am suspicious of the reports.

I was an honest reporter for a number of years (and then I stopped being a reporter; I'm still honest) and plied my trade around the Several States.

As a reporter I asked people in all manner of work to answer my carefully crafted questions, knowing that how I framed my question often determined how the question would be answered.

Do you still beat your spouse?

Another ruse I could use was to carefully select the people to be surveyed. If, for example, I wanted a positive response to the question "Should we build more jails to house the people driving up the area crime rate?" I would ask people in high income areas who fear for their possessions.

On the other hand, if I wanted a negative answer, I would add a few words to the query: "Should we build more jails IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD to house the people driving up the area crime rate?" It seems no one wants a prison next door.

I could limit my "research" to areas where I knew the majority of answers would align with my opinion.

As an aside: Have you ever been asked you opinion for anything? Were the response options limited, e.g., "Are you still beating your spouse? Yes or No.

Recently there was a survey sponsored by The Daily Tip, a pro-Israel organization. The survey asked several questions relating to the Israel-PA impasse.

The survey questions were included in the report (which, incidentally - surprise - placed most of the blame for the two entities inability to coexist peacefully on the PA).

The poll, according to the report, was Of 1595 likely voters was conducted by Paragon Insights, and released by TIP, a non-partisan educational organization that provides factual information about Israel and the Middle East to press, policy makers and the public.

Voters’ views were consistent regardless of party affiliation and age.

The poll does not identify the respondents as Jewish or non-Jewish.

According to the polling organization's methodology, the poll was conducted on-line from May 2-4 (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) among a national sample of 1595 likely 2014 voters. The interviews were conducted online by Survey Sampling International.

The 88-page poll (the "Israel-PA" questions begin on page 23) leads off with general U.S. government questions, e.g., Now, generally speaking, would you say things in the country are going in the right direction, or have they pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track?

A poll report page is shown below.

Click on image to enlarge.

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