PoliticalPolling13 - What it is Why it is done How it is...

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What it is Why it is done How it is done Your Assignment
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BIG DATA!
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Want to know things about some population of people What they think How they are going to vote What they do “Do you approve or disapprove of the way the president is handling his job?” Approve Disapprove Don’t know “Do you think the federal government should spend more money or less money on education?” More money Keep the same level of spending Less money
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Want to know about vote on election day, but it’s not election day. Want to know everyone’s answer who will vote that day, but don’t know who that is and can’t afford to ask them all if we did.
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Use Science: Sampling Survey Design and Research Statistics
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1936: Alf Landon v. Theodore Roosevelt Literary Digest wanted to predict the election Conducted a mail poll Mailed postcards to 10M people Where did they get the list of addresses? Motor vehicle registration roles & phone books Predicted a huge Republican (Landon) victory They got it wrong, (obviously) Why ?
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They asked the wrong people
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Telephone subscribers and car owners More likely to be Republicans Tail end of the worst economic depression in HISTORY… Excluded the poor (and the poor voted for the New Deal)
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One man got It right, George Gallup He didn’t do a mail survey He used quota sampling Picked respondents to mirror proportions in the population (using Census data) He got it right in 36,40, and 44
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Dewey v. Truman
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In 1948, Gallup (and all other pollsters) get it wrong Truman actually won “Dewey Snatches Defeat from the Jaws of Victory . . .” What happened? Why did all the pollsters miss this election outcome?
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They asked the wrong people It’s time to bring the SCIENCE
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Random Samples are representative of the population from which they are drawn The single, most important principle driving a random sample is that every member of the population has an equal chance of being chosen into the sample
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Flip a coin How many outcomes? What are chances of each? Roll a die How many outcomes? What are chances of each?
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  • Spring '13
  • DECKER
  • Simple random sample, course web page, Cross tabulation

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