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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

David Farrar and his polls are opinion manipulation masquerading as public opinion

The corporate mainstream media this year will probably be the most biased we will have ever seen in modern political history. 3 anti-Hone editorials in the NZ Herald in 2 weeks is unprecedented, and the fair and balanced Fox News approach the Herald has taken by appointing Government propagandist and National Party pollster David Farrar as their online political columnist is only matched by Stuff.co.nz misquoting Hone and then quietly editing their online story once the Bin Laden misquote was outed.

(NOTE: The Press Council will be assessing my complaint against Stuff.co.nz's Hone misquote and silent edit on July the 1st).

And into this Stuff.co.nz are now using David Farrar, the very same Government propagandist to discuss the latest flawed opinion polls.

I note once again that these Polls are pointless brainfarts that serve only to create the impression of support rather than measure actual support. We don't know what the call back ratio is (it is supposed to be 6 times), we don't know if only landlines were used, were cell phones used (in a recession where the poor are avoiding debt collectors and can't afford land lines their opinions are simply not registered) and MOST importantly we are never shown the weighting. What is weighting? Each poll has to equate to the percentage make up of the population, so let's say there are 10% Maori, the Poll has to have 10% Maori, problem is that most of the time the Pollsters never get 10% Maori opinion, so what they do is they weight whatever opinions they do get from Maori to fill up the necessary 10%, now if you are only getting conservative opinion when you call during dinner time, then that is the opinion that will get magnified, the danger is these brainfarts become self fulfilling prophecy.

To paraphrase one researcher from Janet Hoek and Phillip Gendall's 'Public Opinion Polling: Supporter or Subverter of Democracy', attempts to correct biased samples by using age-gender weights is like embalming a corpse in the hope of its resurrection.

The only polls worth real examination are deliberative polls, but because they cost so much money to run we get these cheap brainfart polls.

Treasury and the boffins are so far out on their economic predictions because the steepness of this recession has bewildered them all, into that steepness runs less people on landlines and less people willing to answer the phone when it calls for fear it is a debt collector. It is these same cheap brainfart opinion polls driving the hubris within National that convince them they will rule an outright majority. These are the same cheap brainfart opinion polls claiming John Banks and Len Brown were neck and neck, and we all know how that turned out.

This isn't public opinion measurement, this is pluralistic ignorance and the corporate mainstream media are turning to the arch mage of manipulation, David Farrar to promote this unbalanced fraud.

Don't believe the hype.



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