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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Americans High on Obama??

I just finished reading this article:
AP Poll: Americans high on Obama, direction of US

You'll notice this as the opening paragraph:
"For the first time in years, more Americans than not say the country is headed in the right direction, a sign that Barack Obama has used the first 100 days of his presidency to lift the public's mood and inspire hopes for a brighter future."


I don't personally know anyone that would agree with that statement.

Do you ever wonder who actually gets questioned for these polls? Have you? I haven't. There has never been one person that came to my door or phoned me and asked me what I thought. Ever.

Here's the thing - I used to work for the government. (Low-level position; nothing fancy; barely got paid... seriously. My husband still teases me about my paycheck, and I haven't worked there for ten years.)

I was over special projects within state government to make sure workers were getting paid fairly. (And they usually ended up with a raise afterwards. Yes, they got one, and I didn't. So sad.) So, I did my fair share of surveys and interviewing people. I knew that if I didn't take an even percentage of workers from every organization within state government, that my results would not be valid. Sometimes, people refused to cooperate, sometimes organizations refused to cooperate, and sometimes I got the very distinct feeling that people were lying (workers, managers, etc.), but I had to record what they said. Knowing all this, I realize that surveys and numbers like the above article states basically means very little. Unless you poll every voter in the US, and specify the question, and make sure they are being honest (are they lying because their mother-in-law is in the room, and they don't want to anger her?), then you have no way of knowing the true answer.

"A majority of Americans believe the Obama administration is following higher ethical standards than the Bush administration." See above on my response to this one. Seriously. Don't get it.

I wonder how many of those polled felt like this, "Others said their newfound optimism had nothing to do with Obama, but rather with an era of personal responsibility they believe has come with the economic meltdown." Did they take that into account with their "number"?

I just hate polls like this. It means absolutely nothing, and people and the news make the most enormous deal out of it.

Think about it - they polled 1000 people. There are roughly 142,000,000 registered voters in this country. (I had to use the numbers from the 2004 presidential election taken by the US Census.) Unless my math is completely wrong, that means .00000704 of the voting population was polled.

Wow. It must be accurate then.

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