December 28, 2004


It's common knowledge around here that I completely don't trust polls. Even ones that say things I want to hear. I certainly put no stock whatsoever in polls that say there's a 51-49% split, but I'm tempted to at least check out polls that report 60, 66, or 87% findings. I'll check them out, but they're still worth a grain of salt, because I think that people say what they think others want to hear and they consistently choose "fair" or "agree" as the default (I do this all the time when I have no strong feelings either way). So with skepticism in mind, I checked out the Military Times Poll (via Power Line).

Sixty-three percent of respondents approve of the way President Bush is handling the war, and 60 percent remain convinced it is a war worth fighting. And support for the war is even greater among those who have served longest in the combat zone: Two-thirds of combat vets say the war is worth fighting.

The soldier I spent Christmas with -- who just re-enlisted -- said that when he first deployed, he thought going to Iraq was a pretty dumb idea. After being there, he says he now sees why it is important.

In addition, despite the pressures of a wartime military, 87 percent said they’re satisfied with their jobs and, given the choice today, only 25 percent said they would leave the service.

The only soldier I know who might get out wants to do so because he's like an athlete who quits after Olympic gold: after being in Fallujah, there's nothing that could keep him satisfied. I'll give you one guess which lovable thrillseeker I'm talking about.

I know this poll has received arched eyebrows because it was mostly answered by career military, but they are the people I am most concerned about. To be honest, the views of the guy who only joined for the college benefits don't matter to me nearly as much as the ones who plan to stick around and see this fight through. I care about the 58% of those who said they're re-enlisting/extending because of "patriotism". They're the ones who are going to make sure the war in Iraq is a success.

(The last time I wrote about a poll, vitriolic nutjobs came out of the woodwork to defend the poll's findings and call me hateful names because I said that a poll with 1230 respondents and a margin of error +/- 3% might not be accurate of the population. (Which I said because the questions were ridiculously loaded, and as it turns out, the poll skewed heavily Democrat.) Let's see if those same people -- those who liked the results of that poll -- come back to tell me that I should indeed listen to the results of this poll with 1,423 respondents, +/- 2.6%. I won't hold my breath.)

Posted by Sarah at December 28, 2004 10:41 AM

Sarah - I didn't realize drinking an entire bottle of hot sauce was an Olympic event. Hmm. But I guess if ping-pong could make it in - anything else can.

Posted by: Kathleen A at December 28, 2004 12:38 PM

Reprising that previous polling post, when the Atrios trolls invaded, I get a smug feeling post-election.

Posted by: John at December 28, 2004 01:35 PM

because I said that a poll with 1230 respondents and a margin of error +/- 3% might not be accurate of the population

That's a pretty generous summary, to say the least.

Posted by: Sadly, No! at December 28, 2004 09:31 PM

I just read the comments to the other post, holy crap!

Ok, I have a math degree (woohoo now the liberals know I am as smarty pants as they are) and even I can understand bias.

The sample size and rate of error means nothing if you are not randomly sampling people. How do we know who Gallup is calling? Many people criticize them and their polling methods, as well as others, saying they are not choosing a random sample, especially when it came to their polls of Iraqis.

For instance, even just the use of land line phone numbers skews the sample, since I don't know a single person under 30 that has a land line phone as their main phone, I know many that don't even have a land line at all.

Sample size also means nothing when you're asking loaded questions. You don't need to know anything to figure that out.

The controversy over the Kerry question, it obvously was NOT to say "did Kerry say this", it was meant as you said it, and it would be used as you said it, even though that's not what it said (it didn't actually say 'we need help, we need a new leader' but that's what people would make it out to be, and please, 3 part questions that you have to read twice to figure out, answered over the phone?)

Anyway like your site.

News Satire that's right for you

Posted by: PlutosDad at December 29, 2004 10:30 PM

whoops, I meant "you don't need to know anything about statistics to figure that out"


Posted by: PlutosDad at December 29, 2004 10:32 PM