Présidentielle américaine: Retour sur les sondages ventriloques (When polls create the reality they’re supposed to reflect)

Media poll barrage

Le fait même de poser une question peut inventer un résultat car elle fait appel à l’imaginaire du sondé qui n’y avait pas encore réfléchi. Alain Garrigou
D’après les journaux, les sondages montrent que la plupart des gens croient les journaux qui déclarent que la plupart des gens croient les sondages qui montrent que la plupart des gens ont lu les journaux qui conviennent que les sondages montrent qu’il va gagner. Mark Steyn
Une fois de plus, les médias ont péché par une couverture triviale des débats et une crédulité manifeste face à la propagande de John McCain. La tactique des républicains consiste à taper sans relâche sur la presse sous prétexte qu’elle pencherait « naturellement » à gauche. Cette stratégie d’intimidation explique l’obséquiosité de certains journalistes face à McCain, même si une petite lueur d’espoir est apparue récemment avec les reportages d’investigation publiés sur Sarah Palin, la colistière du candidat républicain. (…) le journalisme bien compris est un militantisme ! En clarifiant le monde, il construit une image sur laquelle les citoyens pourront agir. Todd Gitlin (ancien gauchiste et professeur de sociologie et journalisme à l’université Columbia)
M. Bradley a été battu parce qu’il était trop libéral, non parce qu’il était trop noir. M. Obama était à la peine dans les sondages jusqu’à ce que les nouvelles économiques détournent l’attention des électeurs de sa radicalité. Si John McCain gagne, on nous ressortira l’effet Bradley comme explication. Néanmoins, ce seront les idées politiques de M. Obama et non sa couleur de peau que les électeurs auront rejetées. Sal Russo
La polarisation sur les sondages est dangereuse. Les sondages ont cet impact insidieux du goutte-à-goutte quotidien. L’effet cumulatif est de créer autant que refléter l’opinion publique. C’est d’ailleurs pour cette raison que certains pays interdisent les sondages dans les deux dernières semaines qui précèdent une élection. (…) Les médias essayent de prouver qu’Obama est tellement en avance que cela l’aide à récolter de l’argent, à obtenir plus de soutiens et démoralise les conservateurs. Ce qui se passe, c’est que les journalistes se servent maintenant des sondages pour conforter leurs articles comme pour dire aux gens: Regardez, 52% du pays votent pour Obama, pourquoi pas vous ? Allez-vous voter contre un homme de couleur ? Allez-vous voter pour un vieux type ? Pourquoi n’êtes-vous pas dans l’air du temps? (…) Ils vous demandent de réagir à une phraséologie bien-pensante au lieu de sonder votre idéologie fondamentale. Ainsi ils posent des questions comme, Etes-vous pour ou contre l’amélioration de la qualité de l’éducation publique ? Etes-vous pour ou contre des soins de santé universels ? Etes-vous pour ou contre la protection de l’environnement? Et vous voyez ces sondages qui indiquent 88 % d’Américains pour la protection de l’environnement. Mais bigre, qui peuvent bien être les 12 autres pour cent ?Autrement dit, qui ne veut pas que tous les enfants aient une éducation de qualité et mangent à leur faim? Et que l’air et l’eau ne soient pas pollués ? Mais alors ces gens-là regardent ces résultats de sondage et disent : vous voyez? Le réchauffement climatique est le problème numéro un. Vous voyez? (…) ACORN et Wright sont des questions plus pertinentes pour les gens qu’Ayers, parce que ACORN, c’est ici et maintenant. Les gens ont vu les images de Wright dénonçant l’Amérique. Les gens seraient incapables de reconnaitre Ayers dans une file de suspects. Les gens n’apprécient pas trop l’idée d’être privés par qui que ce soit de leur droit de vote. La campagne de McCain a gaspillé trois semaines sur Ayers, au lieu de chercher à toucher les électeurs sur l’économie. L’impôt est toujours un gros mot. (…) Joe le plombier et Sarah Palin étaient des moments inattendus et imprévisibles pour la campagne d’Obama. Mais ce que Joe le plombier et Sarah Palin ont en commun, c’est qu’ils ont ce lien intangible avec la plupart des gens qui n’est pas facile à surmonter. Et ils représentent également la classe moyenne qu’Obama dit représenter, mais au sein de laquelle il n’a pas vécu depuis des années. Je crois que cette élection est beaucoup plus serrée que certains dans les médias sont disposés à l’admettre. Les ouvriers blancs, qui tendent à aimer Joe le plombier et Sarah Palin, seront décisifs. Si les conservateurs ne sont pas contents du manque d’équité et d’objectivité de la couverture médiatique, pourquoi regardent-ils ces sondages ? Pourquoi leur permettent-ils de dicter ce qu’ils pensent de l’élection présidentielle avant qu’un seul vote soit déposé dans l’urne? Kellyanne Conway

A l’heure où, à 10 jours de la présidentielle américaine, les médias ont encore renforcé leur matraquage sur la victoire prétendument assurée de leur poulain démocrate …

Retour, avec la spécialiste sondages de nombre de campagnes républicaines Kellyanne Conway, sur ces sondages ventriloques dont les médias usent et abusent et qui, par effet cumulatif ou leurs questions biaisées, finissent à la manière d’une prédiction auto-réalisante par créer pour une bonne part l’opinion publique qu’ils sont censés refléter.

Mais qui pourraient aussi, dans le secret de l’isoloir, avoir l’effet inverse et pousser vers le sénateur arizonien des électeurs excédés de se voir dicter leur vote par des élites condescendantes …

Pollster: Media Polls Biased Against Republicans
Ronald Kessler
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Newsmax.com
Political polls conducted for most media organizations often are biased against Republicans, says Kellyanne Conway, one of the most respected GOP pollsters. As a result, Barack Obama’s lead over John McCain probably is exaggerated and is contributing unfairly to his momentum, says Conway, president and founder of the Polling Company.

Rather than slant the questions, pollsters distort the results by weighting tallies with more responses from people who are likely to vote for Democrats than is warranted, Conway tells Newsmax. For example, they wrongly assume that huge numbers of groups who favor Democrats will show up to vote.

To be sure, “Barack Obama has energized a critical mass of younger people and new voters to actually show up to the polls,” Conway says.

But in some cases, pollsters assume that those who cast votes will be as much as 40 percent Democrats, versus 25 percent Republicans.

“The country’s just not configured that way,” Conway says.

Conway draws an analogy to the way some news organizations endorse Obama, in effect, with their selection of stories and angles to pursue. In the same way, they endorse him through polls by oversampling respondents who are Democrats, Conway says.

“What is the incentive of the major media to have scientific, artfully constructed polling?” Conway says.

By creating the impression that McCain will lose, many media polls are creating a self-fulfilling prophecy, Conway says. Because of the attention their polls receive, they depress the turnout for McCain — not to mention cutting into his contributions, endorsements, and support.

“To me it’s a different kind of voter suppression, to constantly try to make people feel like the election is over before it’s even begun,” she says. “Before a single vote has been cast, they’re basically saying, about John McCain, he can’t win. What are the three most fatal words in politics? You can’t win.”

Looking back at polls over the years, “The errors in media polling rarely benefit a Republican,” Conway notes. “It wasn’t like anybody said, ‘Oh, Ronald Reagan will have a landslide in 1980.’ In fact you look back at the Dukakis numbers, the Perot numbers, there was always this presumption that the Republican was going to lose. Not just that the Democrat would win, but that the Republican was going to lose. There was a news report that concluded polls showed Kerry leading Bush 53 percent to 43 percent in 15 swing states.”

Exit polls also tend to favor Democrats unfairly, Conway says.

“Remember the exit polls in the last election all favored John Kerry,” Conway says. “And I had to shoot off a quick memo to people saying that exit polls are more illustrative and anecdotal, more qualitative than quantitative and scientific in nature, because it’s a self-selected population of people who actually reveal to a total stranger how they just voted.”

That is different from revealing in a telephone poll who might get your vote.

“To be confronted as you exit the polling place is really a matter of: if you have the time, if you have the inclination to speak to a stranger, and if you want to divulge what is a very sacred, private matter — the way that you just voted,” Conway says. “So imagine if somebody confronts you as an exit pollster and they’re asking you how you just voted, and they have on this moveon.org T-shirt and multiple body piercing and tattoos. Do you think the mom with five children is going to talk to that person? Plus a lot of exit polling is done in urban areas, which is heavily Democratic in their voting patterns, and many of the people doing it tend to be young. Young people want to talk to young people.”

Conway began her polling career with the Withlin Group, which did polling for Reagan. Back then, “Polls were mentioned in a tiny little parenthetical. In the middle of a two-page story, you’d see one poll number cited. Now the poll is the headline. It leads the entire coverage,” she says.

The emphasis on polls is dangerous, Conway says. “Polls have this insidious drip-by-drip daily impact,” she says. “The cumulative effect of those polls is to create public opinion as much as it is to reflect it. For that reason, some countries ban polls within 14 days of the election.”

Right now, she says, “News organizations are trying to show that Obama is so far in the lead that it helps him raise money, helps him get more endorsements, and it demoralizes conservatives.”

In fact, “What happens is, these folks in the media are now using the polls to pepper their stories as a way to tell people: Look, 52 percent of the country’s voting for Obama, why not you? Are you going to vote against a black man? Are you going to vote for an old guy? Why aren’t you part of the zeitgeist here?’ ”

Broader questions about the direction of the country, whether people want change, and whether they approve of the president run into further issues of interpretation and how the questions are worded.

“There’s a herd instinct,” Conway says. “For all the people in this country who say I want change, I love change, I want to join a revolution, they still go to McDonald’s every night in the minivan and order Number 3. America has a love affair with change that they don’t necessarily demonstrate.”

As examples, Conway cites the fact that most people want to get out of debt, get out of a bad relationship, find a job they love, and lose those last 12 pounds, but most of them never do.

“They ask you to respond to feel good phraseology, rather than probing your underlying ideology,” Conway says. “So they ask questions like, do you support or oppose improving the quality of public education? Do you support or oppose universal healthcare? Do you support or oppose protecting the environment. And you see these polls that say 88 percent of Americans support protecting the environment. Well who the hell are the other 12 percent? In other words, who doesn’t want all kids to have a quality education and be fed? And the air and the water to be unpolluted? But then people look at that poll result and say, See? Global warming’s the number one issue. See this?”

As noted in the Sept. 22 Newsmax story, “GOP Strategist: McCain Will Win,” Conway said she believed McCain was going to win. In the past, Conway’s predictions have been eerily accurate. In the 2004 presidential race, she won the Washington Post’s Crystal Ball Award. Nine days before the election, she predicted the precise outcome in the popular vote: 51 percent for George Bush and 48 percent for John Kerry.

Now that the stock market is crashing and the economy is sinking, is she still sticking with her prediction?

“McCain could still win, but he needs a different campaign right now,” she says.

Instead of focusing on Obama’s relationship with domestic terrorist William Ayers, she says, McCain should push the issue of Obama’s relationship for 20 years with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and his ties to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) and the allegations of voter registration fraud surrounding it.

“ACORN and Wright are more relevant to people than Ayers, because ACORN is here and now,” she says. “People saw the clips of Wright denouncing America. People couldn’t pick out Ayers from a lineup. People don’t like to think that someone else is going to deprive them of their right to vote. The McCain campaign has wasted three weeks on Ayers, instead of trying to connect with voters on the economy. Tax is still a four-letter word.”

At the same time, Conway says, “Joe the plumber and Sarah Palin were unexpected, unpredictable moments for the Obama campaign. But what Joe the plumber and Sarah Palin have in common is, they have this intangible connection with most people that’s not easy to overcome. And they also represent the middle class that Obama says he represents, but that he hasn’t lived in in years.”

That’s why McCain is still in the running, Conway says. “I believe this race is much closer than some in the media are willing to admit,” she says.

In the end, white working men, who tend to like Joe the plumber and Sarah Palin, will decide the election, she says.

In the meantime, Conway’s advice to Republicans is to ignore the polls.

“If conservatives are upset about the lack of fairness and objective news media coverage, why do they look at these polls?” Conway says. “Why do they allow these polls to dictate how they feel about the presidential election before a single vote is cast?”

Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com.

Voir aussi:

Point of No Return

Will we vote for the same soothing siren song as our enervated allies?

Across the electric wires, the hum is ceaseless: Give it up, loser. Don’t go down with the ship when it’s swept away by the Obama tsunami. According to newspaper reports, polls show that most people believe newspaper reports claiming that most people believe polls showing that most people have read newspaper reports agreeing that polls show he’s going to win.

In the words of Publishers’ Clearing House, he may already have won! The battleground states have all turned blue, the reddest of red states are rapidly purpling. Don’t you know, little fool? You never can win. Use your mentality, wake up to reality. Why be the last right-wing pundit to sign up with Small-Government Conservatives For The Liberal Supermajority? We still need pages for the coronation, and there’s a pair of velvet knickerbockers with your name on it.

#ad#Yes, technically, this is still a two-party state, but one of the parties is like Elton John’s post-Oscar bash and the other is a church social in Wasilla. As David Sedaris put it in The New Yorker:

“I think of being on an airplane. The flight attendant comes down the aisle with her food cart and, eventually, parks it beside my seat. ‘Can I interest you in the chicken?’ she asks. ‘Or would you prefer the platter of s–t with bits of broken glass in it?’

“To be undecided in this election is to pause for a moment and then ask how the chicken is cooked.”

Well, to be honest, I’ve never much cared for chicken.

McCain vs Obama is not the choice many of us would have liked in an ideal world. But then it’s not an “ideal world”, and the belief that it can be made so is one of the things that separates those who think Obama will “heal the planet” and those of us who support McCain faute de mieux. I agree with Thomas Sowell that an Obama-Pelosi supermajority will mark what he calls “a point of no return”. It would not be, as some naysayers scoff, “Jimmy Carter’s second term”, but something far more transformative. The new president would front the fourth great wave of liberal annexation – the first being FDR’s New Deal, the second LBJ’s Great Society, and the third the incremental but remorseless cultural advance when Reagan conservatives began winning victories at the ballot box and liberals turned their attention to the other levers of the society, from grade school up. The terrorist educator William Ayers, Obama’s patron in Chicago, is an exemplar of the last model: forty years ago, he was in favor of blowing up public buildings; then he figured out it was easier to get inside and undermine them from within.

All three liberal waves have transformed American expectations of the state. The spirit of the age is: Ask not what your country can do for you, demand it. Why can’t the government sort out my health care? Why can’t they pick up my mortgage?

In his first inaugural address, Calvin Coolidge said: “I favor the policy of economy, not because I wish to save money, but because I wish to save people.” That’s true in a more profound sense than he could have foreseen. In Europe, lavish social-democratic government has transformed citizens into eternal wards of the nanny state: the bureaucracy’s assumption of every adult responsibility has severed Continentals from the most basic survival impulse, to the point where unaffordable entitlements on shriveled birth rates have put a question mark over some of the oldest nation states on earth. A vote for an Obama-Pelosi-Barney Frank-ACORN supermajority is a vote for a Europeanized domestic policy that is, as the eco-types like to say, “unsustainable”.

#page#More to the point, the only reason why Belgium has gotten away with being Belgium and Sweden Sweden and Germany Germany this long is because America’s America. The soft comfortable cocoon in which western Europe has dozed this last half-century is girded by cold hard American power. What happens when the last serious western nation votes for the same soothing beguiling siren song as its enervated allies?

“People of the world,” declared Senator Obama sonorously at his self-worship service in Germany, “look at Berlin, where a wall came down, a continent came together, and history proved that there is no challenge too great for a world that stands as one.”

#ad#No, sorry. History proved no such thing. In the Cold War, the world did not stand as one. One half of Europe was a prison, and in the other half far too many people – the Barack Obamas of the day – were happy to go along with that division in perpetuity. And the wall came down not because “the world stood as one” but because a few courageous people stood against the conventional wisdom of the day. Had Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan been like Helmut Schmidt and Francois Mitterand and Pierre Trudeau and Jimmy Carter, the Soviet empire (notwithstanding its own incompetence) would have survived and the wall would still be standing. Senator Obama’s feeble passivity will get you a big round of applause precisely because it’s the easy option: Do nothing but hold hands and sing the easy listening anthems of one-worldism, and the planet will heal.

To govern is to choose. And sometimes the choices are tough ones. When has Barack Obama chosen to take a stand? When he got along to get along with the Chicago machine? When he sat for 20 years in the pews of an ugly neo-segregationist race-baiting grievance-monger? When he voted to deny the surviving “fetuses” of botched abortions medical treatment? When in his short time in national politics he racked up the most liberal – ie, the most doctrinaire, the most orthodox, the most reflex – voting record in the Senate? Or when, on those many occasions the questions got complex and required a choice, he dodged it and voted merely “present”?

The world rarely stands as one. You can, as Reagan and Thatcher did, stand up. Or, like Obama voting “present”, you can stand down.

Nobody denies that, in promoting himself from “community organizer” to the world’s President-designate in nothing flat, he has shown an amazing and impressively ruthless single-mindedness. But the path of personal glory has been, in terms of policy and philosophy, the path of least resistance.

Peggy Noonan thinks a President Obama will be like the dog who chases the car and finally catches it: Now what? I think Obama will be content to be King Barack the Benign, Spreader of Wealth and Healer of Planets. His rise is, in many ways, testament to the persistence of the monarchical urge even in a two-century old republic. So the “Now what?” questions will be answered by others, beginning with the liberal supermajority in Congress. And as he has done all his life he will take the path of least resistance. An Obama Administration will pitch America toward EU domestic policy and UN foreign policy. Thomas Sowell is right: It would be a “point of no return”, the most explicit repudiation of the animating principles of America. For a vigilant republic of limited government and self-reliant citizens, it would be a Declaration of Dependence.

If a majority of Americans want that, we holdouts must respect their choice. But, if you don’t want it, vote accordingly.

2 Responses to Présidentielle américaine: Retour sur les sondages ventriloques (When polls create the reality they’re supposed to reflect)

  1. […] que l’Europe et le monde, dictateurs en tête, se réjouissent déjà de la victoire annoncée (sondages ventriloques à l’appui!) du munichois préféré de ces dames […]

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  2. […] D’après les journaux, les sondages montrent que la plupart des gens croient les journaux qui déclarent que la plupart des gens croient les sondages qui montrent que la plupart des gens ont lu les journaux qui conviennent que les sondages montrent qu’il va gagner. Mark Steyn […]

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