Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Post-Debate SLOPs

A SLOP is a self-selected opinion poll, usually conducted online at some web site, and are excellent examples of crappy polls based on biased samples. The only people who participate are those who frequent a site, and if it's partisan you know the direction they'll lean, and those who bothered enough to take part. A real sample is random, or as close as we can get it, with people having a more-or-less equal chance of being included.

That brings us to last night's first presidential debate and the subsequent polls -- legitimate, and less so -- that quickly emerged.

CNN/ORC is usually first with these snap polls and it showed Clinton "won" the debate. OK, no surprise there to the casual viewer, especially as Trump unraveled a bit at the end. But what also emerged was a reliance by Trump supporters on a host of SLOPs that showed -- shocker -- Trump won. See a tweet below.

Does it shock anyone, for example, that folks who visit Drudge thought that Trump overwhelmingly won? Or Brietbart? Some more legitimate sites like CNBC, Time, and Fortune have it closer, but these are still SLOPs. They may measure enthusiasm, or a fanbase likely to bother voting on such things, but they don't measure by any stretch of the imagination public opinion about who "won" a debate.

Never pay attention to SLOPs. And news orgs should never use them and, if they do for the hell of it, should never report on them as being meaningful.

Was the CNN/ORC poll biased? It does include more Dems than Republicans, but it reflects the population it's trying to describe -- people who reported watching the debate. Maybe more Trump fans were watching NFL football. I dunno. A later poll, using real methodology, also found Clinton won (though not by quite as big a margin). In other words, real polls find Clinton won. Polls with absolutely no methodological rigor find Trump won. You decide which to believe.

1 comment:

Dr Purva Pius said...
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