Thursday, July 01, 2010

Shame, Embarrassment, and the Public Option: A Study in Local Media

The Daily Kos is preparing to sue its former pollster for providing "fraudulent" results. Excerpts of his argument against them:

I have just published a report by three statistics wizards showing, quite convincingly, that the weekly Research 2000 State of the Nation poll we ran the past year and a half was likely bunk. (…)

We were defrauded by Research 2000, and while we don't know if some or all of the data was fabricated or manipulated beyond recognition, we know we can't trust it.(…)

While the investigation didn't look at all of Research 2000 polling conducted for us, fact is I no longer have any confidence in any of it, and neither should anyone else. I ask that all poll tracking sites remove any Research 2000 polls commissioned by us from their databases. I hereby renounce any post we've written based exclusively on Research 2000 polling.

Rather strong denunciations. "Can't trust it" and "no confidence in any of it". From the guy sponsoring the research and until now peddling its findings as fact.

For the record, Kos wasn't the only one using to Research 2000 for fact based support of an ideological agenda. Believe it or not, the best and brightest of MN Lefty media have touted their claims as well.

For example, from August 9, 2009, this commentary in the Star Tribune:

There is a shameful reason why these and other Republicans can't bring themselves to denounce the fraudulent messages the birthers spread. Recent opinion polls suggest that the birther message is especially resonant with Republican voters. A nationwide poll by Daily Kos/Research 2000 indicates that 28 percent of Republicans believe that Obama was not born in the United States and that a separate 30 percent are "not sure."

Shame and eternal shame, nothing but shame! Well, maybe not quite eternal. I think this shame may have had an expiration date around the time Kos filed suit for fraud.

From February 12 in the Minnesota Independent:

A new survey of Minnesotans shows that a majority of residents -- 56 percent -- are embarrassed by Rep. Michele Bachmann.

In Bachmann's own district, only 39 percent found her embarrassing. However, a majority of surveyed independents -- a population likely to tilt the scales in Bachmann’s November election against either DFL Sen. Tarryl Clark or Dr. Maureen Reed -- responded negatively to Bachmann, with 62 percent answering that she was embarrassing.

These experts in embarrassment ought to have one hell of a poignant retraction if these results are ever declared to be fraudulent. Not to mention when the election results of the race between Bachmann and Clark are tabulated come November.

Finally, from February 25, in Minn Post:

More than 60 percent of Minnesota voters support a public health insurance option, while just 35 percent back the Senate health care bill, according to a Research 2000 poll released today.

The poll's results will be a boost to progressives like Sen. Al Franken and Rep. Keith Ellison, who in recent days have helped lead a resurgent campaign to advance a public option.

Hope springs eternal! But somehow that resurgent campaign went nowhere and the public option ended up as dead as it was the day before these poll results boosted its progressive leaders' efforts. Wonder how that could have happened?

Also for the record, I do not have an opinion on the validity of the Daily Kos's claims against Research 2000. Maybe they defrauded him with phony results. Or maybe Kos is going off half-cocked now with these allegations. Was his judgment woefully flawed when he gleefully used their conveniently supportive data for his worldview, or now when he's renouncing them? It'll all come out in the court case I'm sure.