Where polls fail

TownHall has an article crowing about how, in the United States, conservatives outnumber liberals 2-to-1. Their evidence? When asked, more people say so.

Political ideology in the U.S. held steady in 2011, with 40% of Americans continuing to describe their views as conservative, 35% as moderate, and 21% as liberal. This marks the third straight year that conservatives have outnumbered moderates, after more than a decade in which moderates mainly tied or outnumbered conservatives.

I shouldn’t need to point out why this is a stupid poll clung to by stupid people, but I will anyway. When you ask people what they identify as, you’ll get skewed results because, frankly, the word “conservative” in the United States in the 21st century is always uttered with an air of class and maturity, while “liberal” has been demonized as a term so badly that it’s been changed to “progressive”. The problem is, if you ask about issues rather than self-identification, the numbers flip flop.

Issue by issue, poll by poll, the message is clear: Americans are liberal. But if you ask them, they shy away from the term. It’s similar to how people are more willing to say they’re “not religious” or “don’t believe in God” than say “I’m atheist”. Terminology makes a big difference.

So… yeah. Shut up, TownHall.


One response to “Where polls fail

  1. Polls fail because most pollsters will not approach Blacks.

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