Friday, February 24, 2012

"Comedy Nation This Week" - February 24, 2012

Here's today's podcast with me, Laurie Buckley, Dave Plunkett and host Bill Bronner:

The panel discuss the GOP debate, the "War on Women" and more.

Trippitorial: Polls

Recent polls suggest that 23% of pollsters don’t believe in polls. This is shocking and I called up several people to talk about it.

A sampling of this group did not know they were being sampled as part of a group. I point this out because polls have indicated that responders behave differently depending on whether they are alone or part of a group. Some polls show that once people have been told they are part of a group, they act like the group, even if they are physically separated from the group.

One pollster was so fascinated by the statistics of these results that he decided to identify a random sampling of people that he designated as a group, but only behind their backs. The people in the group were isolated during questioning and never met any of the other members in the group. At no point were they told they were part of the group. Even so, the results of asking the same questions from the original survey produced similar results. What can we deduce from this? I’m not a statistician. And besides, I’m making this up anyway.

This brings up the troubling point that sometimes pollsters just make the answers up. This can lead to some interesting surveys and we should probably take a poll to find out what happens when people believe a made up poll.

I have the results here. Sixty seven percent of people polled believed that the made up poll was real. Eighty-two percent of those polled believed the previous statistic.

Interestingly, one of the respondents from the isolated group survey suffered for years from separation anxiety that doctors could not identify. Perhaps we should ask them some questions to see if it is a reasonable hypothesis to conclude that being separated from a group that you do not know you are part of can cause the symptoms that were displayed. But I digress, and I see that we are out of time.

No comments: