08 April 2008

Polls


A new CNN.com poll shows that 58% of people don't believe General David Petraeus when he says things are improving in Iraq.

This man LIVES in Iraq. He eats, sleeps, drinks, and breathes Iraq. There's no way he can be mistaken here; either he's telling the truth or he's flat-out lying.

And apparently there are a lot of people out there who think he's lying.

Now, I don't trust polls. Ever since I took a college-level Statistics class in high school, I've come to the understanding that the only way to get a 100% accurate poll is by somehow reading minds.

People lie. People forget things. People misunderstand questions.

If there was a way to extract information from the minds of individuals, then we can talk about accurate polls.

But if we take this poll at face value, there are a lot of people who don't trust General Petraeus.

Why not? What reason do they have to think they know more about the situation on the ground in Iraq than he does?

Boggles my mind.

5 comments:

Jessie said...

I'm going with the "people only vote when they're really passionate about a subject" line I learned from stats, which leads to the answers being skewed. And why is it that the most passionate people are so often the most ignorant? I'd guess they voted before even bothering to figure out who the guy is they're disagreeing with.

This kind of stuff is enough to make a person crazy.

Anna Marie said...

I trust no stats anywhere. Even in scholarly articles there is rarely enough information to know if they did things correctly. I can only trust stats if there is explicit methodological documentation about why their results are valid. Stats...sheesh you'd think I'd taken graduate level stats or something. I love stats!

BTW, I'm with you on the "people who live in Iraq know better than U.S. politicians or citizens about what's working in Iraq"

Becky said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Becky said...

83% of all statistics are made up on the spot, including this one.

Amy said...

I totally agree with you. I just finished reading "Every Man a Tiger," which is kind of a biography on a guy who basically led Operation Desert Storm. He'd also been to Vietnam and was frustrated with the lack of support from the public, because they were basically being led to war by Washington and they were choosing the targets clear across the world. I think that's where the whole distrust of the military is coming from -- but I think it's bogus. Let them do their job.