[Marxism] Pew Center's credibility gap

Joaquín Bustelo jbustelo at bellsouth.net
Fri Jul 30 16:01:12 MDT 2010

On 7/30/2010 11:14 AM, Louis Proyect wrote:
> by Former Gallup pollster, David W. Moore
> "When the Pew Research Center, one of the world’s most respected
> sources for public opinion polls and analysis, is discovered
> engaging in some shaky polling methodology, the situation warrants
> more than a private email admitting error. And it certainly
> warrants more than an undisclosed correction on their web site
> that they did not know was accurate for 34 days...

I'm not sure what Moore's problem is. I saw the original poll and 
understood *exactly* what it represented ... a quite significant 
cross-section of "news" media executives even if not a "scientific 

Getting the opinions of 350 or so news executives, which is what the 
PEW-sponsored survey did, is a *significant* achievement, for here we 
are dealing with a tight-knit social layer, a "fraternity," so to speak, 
and, yes, it is "frater" or as close to as makes no difference.

"This isn't scientifically projectable to any larger population," cry 
the brain dead critics. Because they're used to dealing with poll 
results in the same way you deal with data on the number of yeast cells 
in a given volume of sugar water over time in a high school biology 
"experiment" (although it is really more like a "demonstration" than a 
real experiment, but let that pass).

What the objection to the PEW-sponsored survey is based on is the 
bullshit American ideology that everyone is an atomized "individual." 
But what the Pew survey was predicated on was an understanding that we 
are dealing here with a sociological phenomenon, a cohesive social 
layer, which, of course, is the vilest of heresies in the Ayn Randist 
religion of American pollsters, where all motion is Brownian and the 
only deviations are statistical.

That there could be "groupthink" among a layer of old white men who 
occupy each others jobs and sleep with each others wives --and 
daughters-- and whose entire world and world view has been collapsing 
for a decade or two in a process that only the willfully blind could be 
oblivious to -- this sort of understanding is anathema to American 
pollsters, as would be shown by the kind of survey they hate conducted 
among them.

At any rate, seeing as how Gallup feels free to make medicine on polls 
conducted only in English, a language not preferred by a majority of the 
adult Latino population, and not understood or spoken with any degree of 
fluency by perhaps a third or more of adult Latinos, a poll critic whose 
claim to fame is having worked in that apartheid poll shop and failed to 
even notice what was going on is hardly convincing, or even worth taking 


More information about the Marxism mailing list