Monday, December 7, 2009

DeMint's Ideology

Sometimes it's pretty obvious people are screwing with your poll.

I was shocked last week when I started up our South Carolina survey and more than 10% of respondents were saying that Jim DeMint was too liberal. I figured the only people who could possibly think that were Republicans and thus about 25% of SC Republicans thought DeMint was too liberal, somewhat of a scary thought.

Breaking down the final numbers this morning though, 51% of respondents who said he was too liberal were Democrats and only 34% were Republicans. I'm guessing those folks were either saying he was too liberal for their own amusement or answering the poll strategically, hoping to put some data point out there that might make DeMint go out even further on a limb and perhaps make himself too extreme even for South Carolina's very conservative electorate.

It's a good reminder that people can game polls if they want to- and this didn't have anything to do with the poll being automated. Overall 12% of respondents said they thought DeMint was too liberal, but given who they were I wouldn't make too much of it.


Matt Osborne said...

No. What's happened here is that the meaning of the word "liberal" has been abused to meaninglessness. There are points south where I hear it used as a pejorative, the way teenagers use "gay."

Anonymous said...

Sounds like the old adage is true, "SC: Too small to be a country, too big to be an insane asylum."

It's a shame that the only poll done in SC in some time may not be usable! Hope to see another PPP poll in the field soon to try to figure out which way is up for us here in SC.

Tom Jensen said...

The poll as a whole is fine! Just got goofy answers to that one question.

DavidNYC said...

I think there is a simpler explanation - some people just don't know who the hell you are talking about, even if they claim they do. Or they do know, but they get confused. Perhaps some very savvy people are gaming things, but I bet ignorance is the much better answer (like that famous poll from the 1970s where people were asked how they felt about the fictitious "Public Affairs Act" - a third of people still managed to have an opinion!).

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