Dumbest possible reaction to debate comes from Fox News



When it comes to political polling, the first thing you need to know is that any survey that doesn’t follow the fundamental scientific rules of the game is mostly worthless.

Reputable polling organizations take great pains to follow those rules, which is why their results usually are pretty much similar to one another. If Gallup has a poll showing Smith leading Jones by nine percentage points, most other reliable polls likely will show similar results.

Sometimes, however, a pollster with a good reputation will come up with results that differ considerably with the numbers produced by its competitors. Such a poll is known in the business as an “outlier.”

There’s another factor in all of this known as the “margin of error” in a poll. But we won’t get into that stuff here. It’s not important to the point I’m making.

In short, conscientious polling is not a perfect science. That’s why you often see disclaimers, usually in fine print, conceding that there’s perhaps one chance in 20 that the results will be skewed and therefore are not reliable. Most political professionals are well aware of this kind of anomaly.

But then there are polls that pay little or no heed to scientific rules of the game. They usually produce results of no particular value — other than as sucker bait for political partisans. News organizations that take their mission seriously will pay no heed whatever to these bogus polls.

But Fox News, unfortunately, is not such an organization. Fox often is more interested in passing along nonsense calculated to warm the hearts of the right-wingers who constitute much of its audience.

A story published today on the Fox News website tells of several online polls showing far greater favor for Donald Trump’s performance in last night’s debate than indicated in surveys conducted in accord with time-tested scientific methods.

The piece begins with this gratuitous dismissal of points of view that might differ with the slant offered by Fox:

If polls only included media pundits, Hillary Clinton would have won Monday’s debate by a landslide, but online surveys had Donald Trump as the “yuge” winner.

The Drudge Report online vote had 80 percent of respondents giving the victory to Trump, and a Time.com survey had the Republican nominee leading Clinton by 4 percentage points – 52 percent to 48 percent – after more than 1,300,000 votes were cast. CNBC and Breitbart votes also had Trump winning the event, at New York’s Hofstra University.

A Fox News online vote had Trump winning with 50 percent of respondents, Clinton at 35 percent and the other 15 percent declaring no one won.

 After that, Fox adds a few grudging concessions couched in a little pile of nonsense:

The online surveys are not scientific and, in many cases, supporters of either candidate can cast multiple ballots. Still, the disconnect in judging Trump’s performance was reminiscent of the Republican Party primary, when pundits often said his competitors bested him while online polls put him on top.

Experts say the online votes are a good gauge of enthusiasm, which could mean Trump’s performance was enough to energize those who already backed him.

Experts were near unanimous in finding Clinton was more disciplined and armed with greater recall of facts, but Trump’s supporters believe his blunt style and unconventional background are among his best attributes.

Read the entire Fox article HERE.





1 Comment

  1. Steverino

    Fox News is the standard-bearer for bias reporting. Too many seniors gaze at this channel all day long believing they are receiving accurate and truthful information. Best to change the channel and watch reruns of Gun Smoke.

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