Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I received a call last night asking if I wanted to take a survey.  I usually say no, but I was in a good mood and the lady taking the survey said it wouldn't take long.

She asked questions about nuclear energy and the problems in Japan.  It became clear, almost immediately, that this was a poll from an advocacy group.  It wasn't seeking the truth, it was trying to get certain answers.  For instance, when they asked if the latest news made me more or less likely to support nuclear energy, the middle choice of no effect was not offered.  Worse, most questions came with prefaces explaining how evil and unregulated the corporations that run U.S. nuclear energy are, and how clean and hopeful solar and other green energy is.

So all I can say is be on the lookout for some anti-nuclear or pro-solar group to come out with the shocking results of a new poll proving Americans are on their side.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is standard in the industry. It's called a push poll.

Most polling is not really valid. If it were, the results would leave you with a useless, "Hmm." Wouldn't help headlines or talking points at all.

Code word: deceps, which of course is commonly used in the industry, e.g., "How did last night's deceps come in?"

4:29 AM, March 16, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know but this has made me a believer in the Blue Oyster Cult. History has shown again how nature points up the folly of man.

I now fear Joan Crawford will rise from the grave too.

Code word: painiac

6:04 AM, March 16, 2011  
Anonymous Denver Guy said...

I participate in Zogby and YouGov internet polls. Both of these organizations have a stable of self-identified citizens with a range of political, cultural and economic characteristics. They send polls to a selection of participants, choosing participants to mimic the political, cultural and economic characteristics of the community they wish to poll. I suppose they use Census data and other such sources to find out what are the relevant demographics.

Zogby is often criticized as message driven, but YouGov had among the best poll results of any polling organization in the 2010 elections. True, they are only polling the self-selected group of people willing to answer internet polls. But traditional polling firms only poll people willing to answer telephone polls (or fill out forms at shopping malls).

verification word = "werse" (could it be?)

8:07 AM, March 16, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That has to be the best series of code words ever.

Or maybe the same people writing polls are now writing code words.

code word: potand

(Do you agree or disagree with the following statement, "I think the run of fabulous code words ended at three?" Reponse: "Yes.")

9:56 AM, March 16, 2011  
Anonymous Lawrence King said...

Jonah Goldberg had a good column about the nuclear implications of the earthquake and disaster. Paraphrasing his point: Nuclear plants are expected to fail in 9.0 earthquakes, just as your automobile is expected to be totalled in a 120-mph head-on collision. 9.0 earthquakes are incredibly rare (this may be the fourth-largest earthquake ever recorded anywhere, and the largest in Japan) -- much more rare than 120-mph collisions.

Now, if I was in a head-on collision at 120 mph (relative to the other car) and survived, I would most certainly buy the same kind of car again! To boycott this make and model because the car was totalled at that speed would be irrational.

And so far, no human beings have been harmed by the nuclear disaster in Japan. Indeed, as Goldberg points out, there have been more fatalities in the windpower industry in the past decade than in the nuclear power industry.

Yes, our best engineers should analyze what happened to the Japanese reactors and decide what (if anything) can be improved about the design of nuclear reactors. But if a 9.0 earthquake creates financial damage but no damage to human beings, I think we can feel pretty good about the current designs!

3:36 PM, March 16, 2011  
Blogger LAGuy said...

I agree this is the worst-case scenario, short of sabotage. The trouble is the dangers of nuclear power creep people out, and bother them aesthetically, while the damage and body count related to other power is more hidden while the positive side is more picturesque.

Perhaps Three Mile Island and The China Syndrome frightened Americans more than they should have, but that's sometimes how public policy is made.

By the way, good to hear from LK again.

4:03 PM, March 16, 2011  

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