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Bad Pollster!

Thursday, October 02, 2008
In the midst of all my joy in seeing McCain's poll numbers collapse, I noted the following question from CBS:

When the candidates make decisions, do they....? Act too quickly, Not quickly enough, Don't know.

The results were Obama "act too quickly" 23%, "not quickly enough" 41%. For McCain "act too quickly" 45%, "not quickly enough" 29%.

CBS did report those respondents who said that the candidates made decisions at the "right speed", but only if the respondent volunteered that answer.

I've been doing a lot of reading about polling lately, and I can say this is a very bad question. There's is no prompt for a middle of the road answer, so you're forcing respondents to choose between dichotomous decisions that they may not really have. Perhaps the polling firm was concerned that people would over-load onto the middle position (which respondents do have a tendency to do), but still - I think this is a very poorly constructed question.
Posted by Arbitrista @ 8:32 AM
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