Ron Paul’s Campaign and the Polls

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Writes Michel Accad: “LRC is a fantastic site and a wealth of resources. From among the different shades of libertarianisms people identify today (ref. Mother Jones article) I bet historians of the future will talk about ‘LRC libertarians’ as the dominant or defining movement of the RP revolution.

“Two comments: 1) The grassroots RP supporters get most of the attention these days, and deservedly so, but I must say that I find the official campaign to be doing an absolutely brilliant job as well. Take for example the phone call from Carol and the Season’s Greetings video. I can’t think of any better way to answer the ‘fringe lunatic’ smears. The 30-minute infomercial to be shown in Iowa is also spot on in every aspect. Kudos to the campiagn staff.

“2) If the polling companies would only publish their response rates, even tossing out the non-working or business numbers dialed randomly, people would quickly recognize the worthlessness of the data. I bet nowadays the rate doesn’t even reach 10%, which completely annihilates the external validity (or generalizability) of the poll, even if it maintains some internal validity (eg. at +/- 4% margin of error).

“What is most amusing is to read the polling industry’s cover up of the issue. They acknowledge that response rates may have declined “precipitously” but claim that it is not a big problem and that their research (undoubtedly more surveys…) show that ‘the relationship between response rates and survey quality has become much less clear.’

“John Zogby is a little more realistic in this piece from 2004 stating that sooner or later the decline in response rates will put traditional telephone polling out of business (is this the year?…).”

10:54 pm on December 18, 2007