Wednesday, September 19, 2012.docx

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Department
Political Science
Course
POL_SC 1100
Professor
Horner
Semester
Fall

Description
Wednesday, September 19, 2012 Public Opinion (cont.) Romney’s controversial comment • Dismissive comment about the people who support Obama o “47% of Americans that support Obama don’t pay income tax and rely on the government…” • he thought it was in private • it’s a mistake to assume that there’s not at least one person who is recording something Four Problems • Selection o What exactly is a reliable source? o Goes back to an issue in the 1936 presidential election  Literary Digest conducted a poll predicting Alph Landon to beat Teddy Roosevelt • The poll wasn’t conducted in a scientific manner, it was a voluntary survey o Phone books, automobile records, and their own subscribers (wealthy people –  more likely to vote republican) o In order for a survey to have any sort of accuracy, the sample has to be representative and chosen by  random selection  Random Selection – Everyone has an equal chance of participating  Representative – The sample looks like the population o Polls have gotten smaller (usually 500­600 people per poll)  You can still make a reasonable judgment about the sample  All polls have a margin of error  • Margin of Error – Plus or minus 3­5% • A good poll will provide the margin of error  Statistical Dead Heat – It’s a tie • Question  o Wording issues – You can dramatically change the results of a survey by playing with the word  choice
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