[Marxism] Fwd: Trump approval rebounds to 45%, surges among Hispanics, union homes, men

Joaquin Bustelo jbustelo at gmail.com
Fri Aug 11 22:03:57 MDT 2017

On 8/11/2017 1:15 PM, Erik Toren via Marxism wrote:

> Hispanic is a big category. I wonder which subgroup of Hispanics has
> surged.
> Erik

Public opinion surveys claiming things about Latinos generally would not 
be worth the paper they're printed on if someone printed them. But the 
entire field of public opinion polling is in crisis, for the techniques 
that worked in the 20th Century no longer do. Most of all, people aren't 
cooperating with surveys

But apart from that, Zogby surveys are systematically biased (in a 
statistical sense) due to their design. It is a self-selected population 
skewed towards heavier internet and especially email usage.

Zogby says they're surveying "Likely voters". Likely voters in what 
election? You may say, well, the next one is November 2018 but that is 
wrong. My county board of elections had 12 elections scheduled for the 
current year, one a month. In reality, from among the self-selected 
participants, Zogby is deciding who merits being counted and whose 
answers should be discarded as coming from a member of the great unwashed.

The traditional screens for "likely voter" include questions like do you 
know where your voting place is? Who is running in this election? When 
did you register to vote? Those really only become significant when the 
election is very close.

Zogby did not detail its methodology for this survey, but we know they 
survey by email invitation. A greater proportion of Latinos are Internet 
users but a higher percentage (than among the general population) have 
access mostly or exclusively through smartphone, so they use email less.

Although "Hispanic" is now the largest racial/ethnic minority (that the 
government counts), surveys rarely break out numbers for Latinos, even 
though they do so for Blacks. That's because they have so few Latinos 
that actually respond. The response rate among Latinos is lower than for 
anglos and Blacks even in bilingual phone surveys.

But the truth is the OVERALL response rate is now so low for the 
population as a whole as to call into question the validity of polling, 
period. That's why the largest and most prestigious polling 
organization, Gallup, has stopped doing election polls.

When I first became involved in the field at CNN in 1990, the response 
rate for phone polls was close to 50%. For the last few years it has 
been under 10%, according to Pew. For email-invitation surveys, the 
response rate is even lower.

Zogby says they had 1300 people in their new poll. They do these 
presidential approval surveys frequently and in July they had 856 and in 
June, 1031 and at the end of April 876. This raises the obvious 
question: did the methodology change? Were different numbers of 
invitations to participate sent out? Or did the response rate vary 
wildly, so that half again as many people responded now as three or four 
weeks ago? If so, THAT is probably a more significant data point worth 
exploring than what they think of Trump.

But we don't know because Zogby only says they send out "thousands" of 
emails. Nor do they publish a detailed, question-by-question breakdown 
of results like reputable pollsters do.

And then consider the Latino sub-sample. If they actually got the same 
percentage as among the 2016 voters (10%) that would have been 130 of 
the 1300 total respondents. But my experience tells me it was about 
2/3rds that number, let's say 90. The MoE with that sample is more than 
10%, which means the numbers this survey gives for Latinos are 
meaningless. Even at 130 they're junk (MoE=8.7%). And the previous 
surveys that the new Hispanic number is being compared to was 856, so 
there was no way you could have gotten meaningful percents out of that 

BTW under representation of a huge problem because it is not just 
Latinos. Experience shows polling respondents systematically under 
represent young people, minorities, and people without a college 
education. So you take your raw results, and then you look at the 
demographics you SHOULD have had, based on, for example, census bureau 
numbers, and weigh the results accordingly. So if you should have had 
120 Blacks but actually only had 100 Blacks respondents, you give a 
"weight" of 1.2 to each Black respondent.

But when it comes to "likely" voters, you define what the target 
universe looks like, how many Blacks, how many high school graduates. 
So, are the demographics those of the 2016 presidential or the 2014 
off-year electorate? If we're talking about the 2020 electorate, who is 
the Democrat? Clinton gives you one electorate, Bernie, a very different 

(This was the big reason Gallup abandoned polling the presidential race. 
The results depended on the weighing of the various segments of the 
population, but this was determined not by hard, objective data but a 
subjective judgment of who would vote. But that in itself is a statement 
about who is likely to win. )

This cock-and-bull story about Trump support especially among Latinos is 
typical Zogby. The survey mechanism is junk and not described in detail. 
The actual complete results are not made available. And then the result 
numbers are cherry picked, squeezed and massaged, to fit a political 
and/or business agenda.

Zero transparency and not much more scientific rigor.

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