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10 November, 2022

Seven ways polling is manipulated to produce bogus results

icon manipulation,polls,surveys
How polling is manipulated to produce bogus results

Political pollsters predicted a red wave (NYT). How did so many pollsters get it so wrong?

"Polls have a number of limiting factors. Pollsters can't know for certain if the people who answer the poll are representative of the population that will actually vote. Most pollsters end up making adjustments to match the expected composition of the electorate. But that is just a guess, using assumptions from turnout in previous elections. Republican pollsters like the Trafalgar Group, Rasmussen Reports, Insider Advantage do not "adhere to industry standards for transparency or data collection." - Judd Legum / Popular Info

How can polling be manipulated? Dr. Evil's secret guide explains how to manipulate polling to get whatever results you want.

How to manipulate polling

How to manipulate survey results to get the answers you want.
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Sample bogus survey survey results

Follow Dr. Evil's guide to make up polling results (all false) such as:

  • 80% of seniors believe Medicare should be abolished
  • Five out of six people say the poor should starve to give more tax cuts to the rich
  • 9 out of 10 women like the idea of a Republican politician controlling their bodies
  • 98% of Kentucky residents say Mitch McConnell should be Senator for life
  • 73.3256% of veterans are in favor of abolishing veterans' benefits
  • 7 out of 10 diabetics feel that the price of insulin is too low

Survey manipulation tricks

Pick your audience - Choose who to survey to get the results you want. Don't ask people who are likely to be against your position. e.g. If you want answers against lowering drug prices, conduct your survey with wealthy respondents.

Slant your questions - Design you survey questions to favor the answer you want. e.g. "Do you like angels or the devil?"

Pick the language of the survey questions to suit you. Choose who to survey to get the results you want. Don't ask people who are likely to be against your position.

Choose who to survey to get the results you want. Don't ask people who are likely to be against your position.

Pick the type of people to survey carefully. Choose the people to include in your survey so you get the results you want. E.g. Would you like a tax cut or a free meal?

Choose the people to include in your survey so you get the results you want. e.g. Would you like a tax cut or a free meal?

Choose when to conduct your survey. Pick the time that your best respondents are likely to be available. e.g. If you want people who are not working, conduct your survey when others are likely to be at work.

Pick the time that your best respondents are likely to be available. e.g. If you want people who are not working, conduct your survey when others are likely to be at work.

Choose how to conduct the survey. Pick the form of communication that your supporters are most likely to be using. Do they prefer phone calls, text messages to letters?

Leave out any survey answers you don't like. Include mostly the survey results that support your position. Leave a small percentage of the opposing viewpoint to give the appearance of 'fairness'.

Republicans manipulate polls to cook up results

Why polling is getting worse

After each campaign cycle, certain pollsters are congratulated for their accuracy, and others are derided for getting it wrong. In 2016 and 2020, Trump overperformed compared to his standing in most polls. So the most "accurate" polls in recent cycles were conducted by partisan Republican pollsters, like Trafalgar Group.

This run of "success" raised the profile of right-wing pollsters and caused the media to become less skeptical. The New York Times noted that while traditional media organizations cut back on the number of polls they commissioned, "there has been a wave of polls by firms like the Trafalgar Group, Rasmussen Reports, Insider Advantage and others that have tended to produce much more Republican-friendly results than the traditional pollsters." These Republican pollsters do not "adhere to industry standards for transparency or data collection." - Popular Info

TakeAway: Look out for manipulated polling that serves their agenda.

Deepak
DemLabs


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