A newly-discovered report from Pew (it was hidden since last winter) contains some interesting data on the veracity of survey respondents. Horror of horrors, Pew has actually said unequivocally that some people who speak to pollsters lie! Pew Research Center for the People and the Press flatly accuses 60% of those who answer their surveys by saying they are “registered voters” of lying and falsely claiming to be registered voters.
Pew also found that “likely voters” are not always telling the truth and point to the statistical impossibility of more “likely voters” in their surveys than actual, recorded votes in recent elections.
In a rare moment of journalistic honesty, Pew pointed directly to Democrats as the problem because they are liars. This keeps pollsters like Pew from producing honest results, they claim. Those old enough to remember the 1984 election will recall that when the polls were proved seriously wrong by the final count, pollsters blamed people for lying to them. The problem they had then as they do now was that they were off by 10 and 12 points. Lying respondents could not explain away all of their errors. Pew feels that lying and claiming to be a likely voter are factors that lead to the over-sampling of Democrats and thus inflates estimates of Barack Obama’s standing in a particular poll.
These are some other important data points delivered by Pew.
Registered Democrats are slightly more likely to say they are Independents than Democrats.
Those who are between 30 and 49 are underrepresented in polls probably because they are more likely to be working when the call comes in. As would seem to follow, older Americans are over-represented in samples that are the basis for poll results. Homeowners are slightly less likely to be represented – again because they are probably working when the phone rings. Racial minorities are underrepresented as well.
Pew concluded that we need to find a way to combat Democrat lies claiming Independent voter status. This could be why the polls that over-sample Democrats sometimes show Obama doing better with Independents than he really is.
Photo Credit: DonkeyHotey (Creative Commons)
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