Thursday, November 24, 2005

POLL SHOCK - By Robert C. Koehler - Tribune Media Services

By Robert C. Koehler
Tribune Media Services

One of the most wildly inaccurate pre-election polls in memory, which was off by over 40 points on some predictions, may prove to be deadly accurate as an indicator of the problems we face as a nation with our voting process - and democracy itself.

But you won't learn this by reading the Columbus Dispatch, the newspaper that conducted the poll just prior to Ohio's Nov. 8 election. The paper's public affairs editor conceded to me that the poll results the Dispatch wrote about, wrongly indicating massive public support for several proposed constitutional amendments, were, in essence, the journalistic equivalent of the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger.

"Much like the American space program, both our triumphs and our shortcomings are out there for all to see," Darrel Rowland said in an e-mail. Unlike NASA, however, which did manage to find that faulty O-ring, the newspaper's powers that be don't seem particularly interested in learning how their big public flop occurred. "We'll certainly double-check the poll mechanics," he said, "but see no reason to discontinue a methodology that's proven accurate for decades."

And Rowland's right, as far as I can tell: The Columbus Dispatch's survey of voters, conducted by mail, has historically been a reliable poll; it has been cited for its precision in the scholarly journal Public Opinion Quarterly and is considered far more accurate than telephone surveys. There is no faulty O-ring, in other words; the methodology doesn't need changing.

And that's why there's a story here that must not be allowed to vanish.


You have to read this entire piece. It more clearly illustrates the magnitude of the election corruption issues we face than any other I've read.


Post a Comment

<< Home