The Learning Curve

New tricks for an old dog.

Asking the Right Question

Question: Would you hit a woman with a baby?

Answer: No, I’d hit her with a brick.

This issue came to mind last evening when a local TV station newscast reported their website survey results. The survey, in general, asked about sending additional troops to Iraq. Specifically, the survey question was, “Do you think President George W. Bush should increase the number of U.S. troops fighting in Iraq?”

You can see the survey here: WLKY TV

The news anchor indicated that about two-thirds of those who responded to the survey were opposed to sending additional troops. Out of curiosity, I checked out the survey myself, and found the numbers were quite different from those reported on-air. See Results.

In fact, of the 51,292 responses to the opinion poll, 31,049, or about 61% were in favor of sending additional troops. The talking TV heads blatantly misrepresented the poll results on-air.

Reason: unknown.

Today, several national news organizatons released poll results that show about two-thirds of those surveyed were opposed to President Bush’s plan to “surge” more troops in Iraq. I looked closely at the CNN poll only. Specifically, CNN asked, “Do you favor or oppose President Bush’s plan to send about 20,000 more U.S. troops to Iraq?” See CNN poll PDF.

I hope you can see that these are two very different questions. “Do you favor or oppose President Bush’s plan to send about 20,000 more U.S. troops to Iraq?” will elicit a very different response from the question, “Do you think President George W. Bush should increase the number of U.S. troops fighting in Iraq?,” IF you believe that 20,000 troops are not enough troops for the job.

This isn’t about honesty in the media or in polling, it is about marketing.

I frequently ask myself “Why don’t more people visit my website?”

Maybe I should ask myself, “Why should ANYONE visit my website?”

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Written by Tom Fox

01/12/2007 at 10:02 pm

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