Knight Of The Mind

I'll do my best to present a philosophical and generally conservative look at current events and life, the universe and everything. Readers are invited to take all that's posted herein with a grain of salt. or if they prefer, a grain of salt, a slice of lime and a shot of tequila.

Location: Alexandria, Virginia, United States

Greetings and welcome. My name is Steve, I'm 35 years old and I work for the US Army as an Operations Research Analyst. Hence my blog title Knight Of The Mind.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Why Is The LA Times Considered a Major Newspaper?

The most recent LA Times Poll has me absolutely convinced. Absolutely convinced that John Kerry will have a huge election day victory; in LA County. After all, Kerry steamrollered his way to a 51-44 advantage, with a mere 5% being undecided. However, before sending the Senator your resume, I advise you that this had to be one of the most poorly conducted propaganda polls in 2004.

The poll has raised my hackles in ire for two reasons. First, the sampling technique came straight out of the Propaganda Warrior's Handbook. Secondly, the poll had a release date contrived to strongly influence the direction of the election momentum. This poll was not an informational product. It was a bandwagon propaganda sales pitch.

The sample from which the poll was taken included 25% Republicans, 37% Independent or Third Party voters and 38% Democrats. In a nation consisting of approximately 35% Republicans, 35% Democrats and 30% Independent voters, the likelihood of this happening at random goes to zero if more than maybe 300 voters are called for the poll. This result was an intentional attempt at distortion.

Assuming other recent polling from Quinnipiac U. holds water, President Bush should take 90% of the GOP vote. Kerry will steal about 10%. Among Democrats, Kerry takes home 80% of the bacon, Bush steals about 10% and 10% stay undecided. Where Bush gets hammered is among independents who are currently about 45% Kerry, 40% Bush and 15% undecided.

Among the LA Times sample, we can thus compose the following figures:

Bush: 22.5 from GOP base + 3.8 stolen from Dem base + 14.8 from Independent voters. This gives President Bush 41.3%.

Kerry: 2.5 stolen from GOP base + 30.6 from the Dem base + 16.7 from Independent voters. This gives Kerry 49.8.

Absent Ralph Nader, approximately 9% of the electorate remains up for grabs. The statistical noise present seems to favor President Bush slightly, but the choice of sample clearly has driven the result.

Given a more representative national example, again assuming Quinnipiac nailed their result fairly well, we can predict the following.

Bush: 31.5% from GOP base + 3.5% stolen from Dem. base + 12% from Independent voters. This gives the President 47%.

Kerry: 3.5% stolen from the GOP base + 28% from the Dem. base + 13.5% from independent voters. This gives the Senator 45%. Approximately 8% of the voters remain undecided.

In light of the fact that undecided voters traditionally go 2 to 1 for the challenger, my revised sample still suggests President Bush has work to do if he really wants that second term. However, this is probably a far more accurate gauge of where the country stands than what the LA Times put out the day before Ronald Reagan's funeral service.

And let's mention the timing of the LA Times release. Surely, everyone expected a Bush bounce in the days of Reagan Remembrance. This was not what the editorial staff at the LA Times wanted.

Certainly, the LA Times had planned a poll on this date well in advance. Certainly, given the success of The Times in predicting the California Recall Election, a rational mind would expect them to shank the poll a wee bit to the left.

However, given the past behavior of this particular 'news' outlet, I can't help but believe they dumped a little extra sauce on this one. As a result, the only thing they barbequed successfully, was their own reputation for fairness and objectivity.


As you may or may not already be aware, members of the Watcher's Council hold a vote every week on what they consider to be the most link-worthy pieces of writing around... per the Watcher's instructions, I am submitting one of my own posts for consideration in the upcoming nominations process.
Here is the most recent winning council post, here is the most recent winning non-council post, here is the list of results for the latest vote, and here is the initial posting of all the nominees that were voted on.

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