Driven to Dispersion

Over on YVPolis, Iñaki Sararzazu has a last word on Venezuelan public opinion research in 2012, and that word is: appolling!

Getting beyond the ulcer-inducing guessing game about which one is right and which one is wrong, Iñaki gets at the bigger problem: pollsters just don’t release enough information for us to make an educated guess about the source of the problem.

Until Venezuelan pollsters start to be forthcoming about exactly their samples are constructed and weighted, how exactly their questions are phrased and sequenced and the exact percentage of respondences to each individual question in their questionnaire (including a per-question NS/NC number) we’re going to be in the dark.

What’s clear is that normal statistical variation cannot account for the crazy dispersion of the polling data we’ve been fed this time. Someone is seriously screwing this up. And we don’t have the information we’d need to figure out who it is.

In such a weird setting, it’s foolhardy to place too much faith on any one poll.

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