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C O M M E N T A R Y!

Saturday, February 06, 1999
For Immediate Release:
Sent via facsimile and email.
For interviews or information contact Robert Colaco.

By Robert Colaco, National Chairman of Citizens For A Better America ® with national headquarters in Van Nuys, California.



America’s voters are represented by these “polls”.


Now, that we have finally seen witnesses, albeit strictly by video tape, we can count on seeing more of those incredible “polls” about the massive support that the President continues to enjoy. It seems that every time an event like this occurs we see more of those “polls”. And now as we enter the home stretch the media will once again want to reinforce the President’s popularity.

It is time to take a hard look at how “the popular mainstream media” comes up with those polling results. But that is easier said than done. After calling ABC News, NBC News, The Wall Street Journal, CBS News, New York Times, Washington Post, Cable News Network (CNN), and Gallup, only two organizations CBS and ABC had any information for the public regarding their polling methods.

The very surprising part to me was that only CBS News actually had a written policy regarding their polling methods. The next “best” was ABC News where Gary E. Langer head of polling was at least willing to tell me what their policy was. Everyone else was just “too busy” or annoyed I was even asking.

While the policies as explained by the two networks do have differences they are fundamentally the same. When asked, “Who do you talk to?” CBS writes, “Most CBS News/New York Times surveys are done by telephone. Anyone 18 years or older living in the continental United States is eligible to participate in our surveys.” They go on to say that, “In a nutshell, we choose the people we interview completely at random. We do not choose our respondents based on their age, race, political philosophy, or any other characteristic.”

When examined further we find that both organizations used a computer to choose the telephone numbers of the people they call. CBS calls this “random-digit dialing.” In this process CBS states, “We tell the computer the area code and the exchanges of every telephone in the United States. First the computer chooses a group of area codes and exchanges at random.” At ABC they narrow it down by regions and then dial random numbers within the region. The regions are based on population.

Now as CBS says, “Once we pick a telephone number and call it, our random selection procedure is not finished. The last step is to decide which individual in the household we want to talk to.” They explain that they asked two questions, one is “how many people live there” and the other is “how many are women.” They then use this information in a formula which they say changes every time they make a call. It is this formula that determines who they will speak with.

After the data is collected comes a process called “weighting.” In this process CBS says, “we make sure that our final figures match U.S. Census Bureau breakdowns on age, sex, race, education, and region of the country. (We also ‘weight’ to adjust for the fact that people who share a phone with others have less chance to be contacted than people who live alone and have their own phone.)”

It is important to note here that these respondents are not necessarily registered voters. If you do the math only about 50% of the respondents would be registered voters because that is the national average. But there is no way to break out how the voters would have answered. Also, neither CBS nor ABC said they verified U.S. residency or citizenship. So, it is reasonable to wonder if some respondents could be tourists, illegal immigrants, or even prison inmates who have lost their privilege to vote.

As Senators will most likely be deliberating next week on the verdict on the impeachment trial of William Jefferson Clinton they must remember that it is only about 25% of the voters being represented in these polls.

Morality and values based Americans must remember to keep calling those Senators at (202)224-3121 to let them know your opinion, they really need to hear from you.


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This has been authorized, paid for and published by Citizens For A Better America ®. This is not authorized by any candidate or candidate committee.

© copyright 1999 Citizens For A Better America ® (CFABA.org)

Publisher of the Have You Been Lied To? ™ Flyer

Robert Colaco, National Chairman, Founder.

F.E.C. ID #C00278333

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