Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Bullshit poll #3- rail disliked in Waukesha..ERRR...West Bend....ERRR..."Milwaukee area"

And here is another garbage poll that gets released to the Journal-Sentinel that (surprise!) favors a Republican position. This time it's the Public Policy Forum's poll on rail and other transportation issues. The Journal-Sentinel jumped on the finding that 41% of respondents now approve of the high-speed rail line between Milwaukee and Madison, down from 57% in November. Needless to say, the Sykes crowd and other suburban whiners were quick to say that "no one" supports the train now that more is known about it, and therefore it shouldn't be done.

That does appear to be the case, until you check item 1 in the crosstabs. The respondents disproportionately come from Waukesha and Washington Counties (i.e. Teabag Central in Wisconsin), while Milwaukee County and especially African-Americans are not polled (and to the PPF's credit, they admit as much). Using the most recent Census figures released last week, let's compare who was asked the questions vs. the actual 4-county population.

Milwaukee Co. - 52.3% of poll (-9.2% vs. reality)
Ozaukee Co. - 4.7% of poll (-0.8% vs. reality)
Waukesha Co. - 27.7% of poll (+3.1% vs. reality)
Washington Co. - 15.3% of poll (+6.9% vs. reality)

Gee, with that kind of bias, what direction do you think this poll might lean?

Strangely, the PPF gives a lot of crosstabs on other questions by County, but conveniently ignores it for this one. So I'll use the responses relating to the downtown street car (listed at 42%) as a proxy for support for the rail line. Adjusting those percentages to fit the actual population of the real 4-county area, we now get the following levels of suport for the train:

Milwaukee Co. - 53% support at 61.5% of population = 32.6% of respondents
Waukesha Co. - 37% support at 24.6% of population = 9.1%
Washington Co. - 36% support at 8.4% of popualtion = 3.0%
Ozaukee Co. - 23% support at 5.5% of popualtion = 1.3%

Total support = 46.0%. Lot closer to even than 41%, isn't it?

And to go further, Washington, Waukesha, and Ozaukee County are way out of step with the rest of Wisconsin when it comes to voting and political attitudes. So it is safe to say that when the angry-man radio crowd says "the people of Wisconsin don't want this," they are as wrong about that statement as they are about most others.

What angers me about this is that Larry Sandler in the JS reported this poll as an indication of the feelings of the entire metro area without doing his homework and looking at the biased crosstabs. This gives creedence to the biased poll and allows the Republicans to run with this fake public support as a way to get support from the unsuspecting public. We need to be shouting the truth about these polls before the false story of "Conservative resurgence" starts to seem like reality to people, and becomes an Astroturf bandwagon that does not currently exist in the real world.

Or we need to form our own bullshit polling group and feeding the media with our doctored numbers like those assholes do, since we know the media doesn't have the brains or balls to question it. One or the other.

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