Monday, December 28, 2015

Polling for Dummies

I don't know what the sense is in asking a poll question like that when it isn't clear what the terrorists "winning" the war on terror even means, or who specifically "the terrorists" are. Maybe some of the respondents think that ISIS is on its way to establishing Caliphate of Des Moines, but I best the vast majority of them would agree that there is no realistic chance that is going to happen. I suspect what they are really saying when they say the terrorist are "winning" is that they are not happy with how the country is currently dealing with whoever they think "the terrorists" are.

Maybe the respondents want the U.S. to kill more people in Syria, maybe they want the U.S. to be meaner to refugees, maybe they don't like the nuclear deal with Iran, or maybe they want the U.S. to be more pro-hawkish Israeli in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Those are each distinct matters, but I suspect in a lot of Americans' minds they are all tied together in a general category of "terrorism." The "are the terrorist winning?" question doesn't illicit a response that can clarify any of the real issues.

Why not ask about each one separately if you really want to know where the public is on actual issues? The fact that the pollster asked the question at all, just shows that the pollster's thinking is as muddled as the public's.

I also have no idea what it means for 57% to say the U.S. is in a "military conflict rather than a war" with ISIS whereas 40% say it is a "war." Isn't every war a military conflict? Seriously, who writes these stupid questions?

(via Memeorandum)