AR-04: Where Have You Gone Self-Selection Bias? Our Nation Turns Its Lonely Eyes To You… wooo wooo wooo

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    I know that candidates frequently promote questionable polls to “prove” that they are viable candidates, but this takes the cake.

    Gallas Stomps Ross in Straw Poll

    A report issued by Arkansas Matters lists that Conservative Republican Glenn Gallas, a candidate vying for the fourth congressional seat currently held by incumbent Democrat Mike Ross, soundly defeated Congressman Ross in a Straw Poll conducted during TEA Party rallies in Little Rock, Jonesboro, and Benton on tax day, April 15. Gallas received 48% of the vote compared to only 4% for Congressman Ross. The Straw Poll was conducted by Secure Arkansas.

    Jeez…let’s count all the ways Glenn’s post is stupid.

    1. It was a poll AT A TEA PARTY RALLY, meaning the people there were not exactly a representative sample of anything except Tea Partiers.  And, though they can deny it all they like, Tea Partiers are overwhelmingly inclined to vote GOP (the numbers in the straw poll bear this out, too, unless you really believe things like Jim Keet is favored 94-6 over Mike Beebe for AR-Gov, or Tim Griffin and Scott Wallace really will get 99% of the vote in AR-02).
    2. Speaking of the results of the poll, the approve/disapprove scores of various state officials suggest that the form of the questions — which we are NOT shown — might have influenced the answers a bit.  95% disapprove of Dustin McDaniel?  87% disapprove of Martha Shoffner?  (I bet 87% didn’t know who Martha Shoffner was until they were asked the question and told that she was the state treasurer…and a Democrat.)
    3. I’m no rocket scientist, but it seems to me that 48 + 4 = 52.  100 – 52 = 48.  Meaning that the third choice, Republican candidate Beth Anne Rankin, also pulled 48%.  Meaning that Tea Partiers really didn’t care too much one way or the other about Gallas; they simply wanted to vote Republican.
    4. A whopping 31 people voted in the poll regarding AR-04.  Sample size, people.  Sample size.

    Oh, hey!  I just took a straw poll of all the people sitting at my desk, and 100% of those polled think Glenn Gallas is a fool! It’s got a percentage, so it must be science!  And not that hokey voodoo fake science like “evolution” and “global warming,” right, Glenn??