The Past Week: Recaps & Random Thoughts, October 12-18 (A Fond Farewell; Polls and Polling Methods; Odinga Video; Fitzerald, Clintons, RICO?; Body Language and Obama the Hypnotist; Chicago; Greens!…3-Parter on ‘Independent Thinking’)

~~Posted by InsightAnalytical-GRL

A personal note…

I received sad news this week that a person I had been writing to since 2001 passed away after a long illness. Sharon and I “met” after she wrote to me about something I had written for Buzzflash. Sharon was just about to marry Ian and move to Europe at the time we started corresponding. Over the years she and Ian  became long-distance friends.  Sharon and I both loved cooking, dogs, and politics, and I will miss her frequent, long email letters describing the political situation in the UK and how the U.S. scene was being reported there… To Ian, I extend my deepest condolences and a hope that we will be staying in touch…


Polls, Polls, Polls…

Polls are on everyone’s minds these days and I came across a couple of interesting articles to highlight.

First, here’s a discussion detailing a discussion with a purported internal pollster for Obama: Conversations with an internal pollster for Obama…

From the GOP side, a blogger did a very interesting overview on the polls at “Blogs for John McCain” under the title Obama’s Lead Crumbling, an Electoral Guide, which was posted on Thursday, October 16. Although things might not be crumbling at this point, the analysis is worth a look.

This week we we learned that Gallup is now using a different polling model which Uppity Woman discussed in detail (also posted by No Quarter). A post I wrote in July about polling methods which is now even more relevant.  As a matter of full disclosure, I was a study director at the “original” Gallup before it was sold; George Gallup, Sr., the founder of the company, was still active and Andy Kohut, who now runs Pew Research Center, was the President.  It’s sort of a “primer on polling.”  See: Musings on Pollsters: Confessions of a Former Gallup Study Director…(Updated 2X)


Can’t let the week go by without a mention of Raila Odinga.  For some reason, the posts I wrote about him months ago have been percolating the last couple of weeks.  Here’s a link to a very powerful video which uses news clips to present a graphic portrayal of Odinga, his followers and the violence following the 2007 election, his political roots, and his relationship with Barack Obama. It is definitely something to pass around to as many people as possible.


In case you missed this…from The Wall Street Journal’s “Market Watch” Community…an intriguing post about the Clintons vs. ACORN-Obama.  Is it true? Who knows?…but it IS intriguing…

Clintons File RICO Suit Against Obama – ACORN Stole the Nomination Too!

According to this post, Patrick Fitzgerald on the case.

Our source in federal courts said, “Any crime that involves more than two people and is carried out across state lines qualifies as a corrupt organization. The fact that those “Goodwill” donations were made in Texas and received at Obama headquarters in Chicago or Washington means it qualifies for RICO.”

The “Goodwill donations” referred to above are the $228 million in undocumented, unverified campaign contributions the Obama camp has received — which the McCain campaigned filed a complaint to the FEC on this past Monday.

We’ve also heard that the Clinton campaign filed complaints to the FBI and other federal agencies over Obama’s fraud in the Iowa, Texas and other caucuses: voter intimidation, registration fraud, and other illegal activities.

The last thing we were told tonight in regards to all of this was that “the memo here is a tying together of all these various threads. That’s what you will see in the last weeks of the campaign: all things being tied together”.

If everything rumored here is true, it looks like David Axelrod, Howard Dean, Donna Brazile, Obama himself, and possibly even Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid were all involved, together, in massive RICO violations, and thus federal fraud, if the DNC and party leadership knew what the Obama campaign and ACORN were up to and allowed it to proceed. Knowledge of federal crimes being committed makes all parties accessories to those crimes — and part of the conspiracy to defraud the public.

Boy, wouldn’t that be something if all this were true?


Tonight (Saturday) I’ve seen an ad running on The History Channel from the Republican Congressional Committee and John McCain…a joint ad. Topic?  Taxpayers money going to Rezko, headlines about corrupt Obama ties, Congressional Democrats featuring a lineup of Reid, Pelosi, and Barney Frank, and a parting message about the average guy being taxed so more money gets into the hands of the Democratic Congress. Threads are being connected in this ad.

I watched The History Channel program called “Secrets of Body Language.” The commentators “swooned” over Obama’s voice…a commentor saying he’s so “powerful” a speaker that “the words become irrelevant.” They followed Obama with a segment on McCain, who, they said, speaks in a manner “exactly opposite” — more like a “technician” and with sincerity.  Remember just before the NH primary when Hillary showed emotion? Well, guess what? The experts were split on whether it was real or coached…

And here’s something else to ponder…Obama’s use of hypnosis techniques. I became certified in hypnosis and what’s in this piece sounds entirely plausible to me…


Finally, I caught most of “Chicago” on IFC tonight…a great flick and it was really funny to hear Richard Gere “tapping dancing” on the subject of Chicago corruption. One great line from Gere’s character–“This is Chicago, kid–You can’t beat fresh blood on the wall.” The whole picture seemed so…current.


This week in the fall garden–finally got my arugula, pak choi, and more chard seeds planted. The mustard is growing rapidly.  Haven’t seen a hummingbird for a few days. The nights are getting pretty chilly, so soon I’ll be putting up the plastic “greenhouse.”



*By Grail Guardian

**By  kenosha Marge

***By American Lassie

*Part 3-Independent Thinking: STRANGE BEDFELLOWS


**Part 1–Independent Thinking: PARTISAN NO MORE

2001 Article from Chicago’s Community News Project (Funded by Woods Fund) Mentions Obama under “Organizing and Islam” Section

***Shakespeare, Warlocks and Barack Obama…(UPDATE 1X)

*Announcing the End of the “PC” ERA

The Past Week: Recaps & Random Thoughts, October 5-11 (Cloward-Piven, Mortgage Connections w/Charts; ACORN ad; Uh-Oh-Ohio; Musings on Middle Names; Slaughtering Sarah; Feeling Prickly)

I Survived “The Blog Bunker”…Apologies to PUMAs (Never Got to Mention Us)

Well, the time went by really quickly which helped me survive my interview on “The Blog Bunker” show a short while ago (Friday, July 11)!

First, I was really surprised that they called me only a couple of minutes before I went on. I was happy that the contact, a young woman, talked as fast I talk…but then again, the show is produced in NYC and I’m a native of the Metro NY area, so I shouldn’t have been surprised. But it was comforting, nonetheless. I had the brainpower to ask what it would be about and was told that it was about “polling.”

And so it was. The host, Joe Salzone, seemed to be interested in doing an interview on the basics of opinion polling. His questions were fine and I think I answered them so that the average listener, who is probably a lot younger than I am, could get a good, basic overview of how polling works and the problems that are inherent in any polling.

After I got off the phone, I took the dogs out for a walk, about 2 hours earlier than usual, which I haven’t been doing because it’s so hot. I think I was just anxious to get moving and work off the pent-up stress!

While walking I started to think of things I could have said. But I was following the interviewer, who calls himself a Libertarian. I listened to the show the day before and I got the feeling there was no interest in Clinton or how PUMAs may be affecting Obama at all. Since I had written about Zogby, the host could have brought him up and stirred up a bit of controversy about why his polling was way off in predicting big Clinton losses in states she won handily. During the discussion I started on bias in polling, the host could have brought up the fact that Zogby’s brother is active in the Democratic Party while being a “Senior Analyst” for Zogby International. If I had been quicker thinking and not so worried about what could be coming at me next, I probably could have injected some sort of PUMA concerns into the conversation. But, the interviewer was guiding the segment very tightly and I just couldn’t get it done.

The result was that I never got to mention PUMA. RATS!!

The only part of the segment that got me a bit nervous was when the host wanted me to come up with “fair and balanced” poll questions on a few topics, Iraq, Obama, “scandals” like the Jesse Jackson comments or Jeremiah Wright, and McCain’s age, which of course, was almost impossible to do on the fly, since it’s hard enough to do with a lot of thought. Instead, I focused on how questions might be framed within some sort of “historical context” or with some background to ensure the respondent knows what the question is about, or how a series of specific questions could break down opinion into more useful insights.

Overall, the whole thing went better than I expected, and the host and screener told me I was “excellent.” I’m just sorry I didn’t get a plug in for PUMA. But, the host obviously wasn’t interested in leading the conversation that way…and I wasn’t a quick enough puma to work things my way.

My apologies to fellow PUMAs but at least I informed a young audience about the perils of polling…

Musings on Pollsters: Confessions of a Former Gallup Study Director…(Updated 2X)

Scroll down for the latest update on Gallup’s new polling methods…


I’m SO HAPPY (snark) to report that the Zogby Interactive Survey has now re-appeared in my inbox! I am always curious about what’s being surveyed and how, because I have a “pollster past.” Over the last few months, they had mysteriously disappeared. But now, with Obama the presumtive nominee, the folks at Zogby have decided to pay attention to me again. Perhaps they didn’t bother with me for months because I was one of those older women who weren’t coveted for their sampling.

Of course, “Interactive Phone Surveys” are subject to a big dose of suspicion. Signing up to participate is open to anyone and is ongoing. Zogby picks respondents from this pool. A few times before the primaries began I was contacted and occasionally told I wasn’t suitable for the survey after being asked a few screening questions. This is a normal part of polling as clients sometimes need to focus on certain demographics. Which is why I noticed when at the height of primary season I wasn’t getting polled anymore. Was it my age, sex, and the fact that I sometimes had answered that I was a moderate instead of a progressive or liberal? I never knew exactly how to answer that question because the terms were not defined as part of the question.

And therein lies one of the flaws of polling, whether respondent selection is deliberately skewed or not. Or, if a poll is online or even a supposedly “more reliable” telephone poll. If questions are poorly worded, unclear, or leave a lot of leeway for interpretation by the respondent, how accurate can the poll be?

Another problem area that I’ve found with Zogby’s Interactive Survey is the omission of questions that related to a respondent’s experience with market research. Some polls ask right at the beginning whether a respondent has ever worked in a particular industry to eliminate any bias which might impact a particular client’s survey. Many pollsters ask right upfront if a respondent has ever worked in the market research field. Every time I receive a Zogby poll I’m interested in seeing if they ask if I, as a respondent, have ever worked in market research. Even though I left the field ages ago, I still know a few tricks of the trade and can see where a survey is going and can guess what type of client is polling and what emphasis they are looking for in the result.

So, am I capable of skewing a poll beyond just answering questions with choices that don’t really reflect my opinion? Sure I am. Especially when the interactive poll like Zogby’s allows you to go back and change answers once you’ve guessed who’s polling or the type of responses the poll is fishing for (and even allows the poll to be copied)! [I’ve done it for another piece I wrote on a related topic. I literally copied and saved the survey for later reference…see Pundits, Pollsters and Should We Be Getting Ready for the Next Play of the Race Card? (Clues in the latest Zogby survey I received?) (Updated 1X)]

Do I do this? Not deliberately. But if there’s poorly worded question or a questions whose answers don’t allow me to REALLY GIVE my opinion, then I’m in the same box every respondent to that poll is in…trying to do an honest job, but being led along by the pollster. Continue reading