Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Point/Counterpoint

So the other day Zogby published the results of a poll commissioned by John Zeigler. Poll guru Nate Silver took umbrage over the poll, which he characterized as as "push poll," or an attempt to spread disinformation under the guise of conducting a poll. Zeigler invited Silver to interview him, as long as the entire interview was posted without editing, so nothing could be taken out of context.

I am not under such constraints.

NS: Do you stand by all the statements in the survey as being unambiguously true?
JZ: I stand one hundred percent by the notion that there is absolutely zero ambiguity as to what the right answer is to any of the questions.

NS: What was the right answer to that [Palin] question?
JZ: The technically accurate question [sic] is that none of the four people said that, but we counted it as correct if they said Sarah Palin.

NS: Why would you commission a survey question with no correct response?
JZ: The purpose of the question, you pinhead, was we wanted to determine the Tina Fey Effect.

NS: Were the interviews conducted by telephone or online?
JZ: How can you ask a question like that and pretend that you have any clue what you're writing about! That's unbelievable that someone could write what you did! That is unbelievable that you wouldn't know that it's a telephone or an online poll and that you went on my summaries of the questions before the questions were even released!

NS: What did Zogby charge you -- what did you pay for this survey?
JZ: I'm not going to tell you that, I'm not a fucking idiot.

NS: How many Obama supporters did you speak with in total?
JZ: All twelve we spoke with are in the video.

NS: Was there any significance to the fact that in the YouTube video, seven of the twelve Obama supporters were black?
JZ: [Laughs]. The reason why we had more black supporters – that might surprise some of the people that we spoke to -- if we go by your apparent ability to determine race -- the first location happened to be in a black section of town and we were able to get our interviews faster there because of they way that was set up, because of the logistics. We had a second location but it got dark and we didn't have any lights. So, that's it, it was no grand racial conspiracy.

NS: Did you have financing for the project or was it paid for out of pocket?
JZ: It is not self-financed.

NS: Who paid for it?
JZ: You think I'm going to tell you that? When you've already shown yourself to be the enemy?

NS: When do you think Obama was a Muslim?
JZ: I think he was likely -- registered as a Muslim between the ages of 6 and 10 while he was going to school in Indonesia. It would have been highly unusual for him not to be.

NS: Would you consider Obama a Christian?
JZ: You'd have to ask him. There was never any evidence that he was a Christian until he decided to join the church of a racist hate-monger for political purposes.

NS: Who are the two senators from South Dakota
JZ: Thune and, uh, Johnson.

NS: Very good. South Carolina?
JZ: Go fuck yourself. I'm done with this interview if you're going to ask me stupid questions like that. Obviously I know who Lindsay Graham is.

NS: Well, since you’re running a website calling people misinformed, I’d like to see if -- there are certain things you’ve said that I would consider misinformed.
JZ: Misinformed? You're a piece of work! You are never going to have the guts to post a representative transcript on your website! I thought you actually ran a legitimate website!

NS: Thank you, have a good day.
JZ: Go fuck yourself.
Well, I'm satisfied that the poll had no agenda. And any statistician will tell you, 512 people is plenty when you're looking for a representative sample. You just have to accept a margin of error around 80%. Plus OR minus, of course.

4 comments:

wamk said...

Just out of curiousity, which polling firm has more experience, Zogby or 538.com?

Danielk said...

Zogby has more experience; 537, which doesn't conduct polls, is more accurate. Beside the point in either event. Zogby's experience in this case served to remind them that money is where you find it.

Publius said...

So, you only accept a poll when it says that Obama voters are brilliant?

Danielk said...

Wha?

Publius, I'll go you one further. Most people are a little stupid, most people voted for Obama, therefore most Obama voters are a little stupid. I'd happily champion a legitimate poll that demonstrated that. This ain't that poll.