Friday, July 14, 2006

Not Another Post About Globalization!!!

This is the stock photo CNN uses to make it look like the Donkey and the Elephant are going to have a showdown on the roof of the Capitol Building with a giant flat in the sky overhead.

As CowboyLaw pointed out, I was going to make my next post about globalization, but I think it's never a good thing when one falls asleep while writing a post, so I scrapped that one. Instead I wanted to point out this article on, which sounds like a great thing. It makes it sound like the Republicans are in trouble in Congress, which would be fantastic. Not that Democrats have been too fantastic lately either, but when the Senate Majority Leader steps down during an ethics investigation, the economy is in the toilet, and we're debating flag burning while US soldiers are actually on fire in Iraq, we need a change.

Which is the gist of the article. Through a variety of polls, they attempt to make the claim that because 81% of self-described liberals, 56% of self-described moderates, and 24% of self-described conservatives have said they will vote Democratic in the November mid-term Congressional Elections, that the Republicans are doomed.

Unfortunately, this is incredibly tenuous logic. The survey cited in the article has 1000 respondents. Let's give the surveyors the benefit of the doubt and assume that they had at least one respondent from each Congressional District in the United States, which they probably didn't even have. Even if they had this, they are comparing the opinions of voters who will not be voting against each others candidates in mid-term elections.

For example, they call Aunt Martha out in Wyoming, and she is supporting the Democrat in her district. And they call Uncle Vinnie out in New York, and he's supporting the Democrat in his district. And they call Cousin Bodie out in California who will support the Democrat in his district. Wow! That's one hundred percent support for the Democrats. That means that Democrats will win all three races, simply because we got opinions from someone in that district.

Wrong. You see Aunt Martha may be the lone respondent from her district, but everyone else may be supporting Barbara Cubin, the worst Congress person in the history of the universe. It's a logcial fallacy that comparing voters across congressional districts will tell you very much about how the outcome of the election will be in each congressional district, which is the only thing that matters.

So, are Republicans in trouble? I hope so. They've been awfully pompous, considering the state of the nation and how crappy things have been going on their watch, and I think they deserve to be beaten, just on that basis. However, this CNN report is a classic example of overgeneralizing poll numbers, thinking that the polls can tell you more than they really are able.

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