Survey research is a wonderful tool for understanding what's on the mind of voters, but it can become a dangerous instrument of self-delusion if not conducted in a way that is an open-minded and honest search for facts. Just ask Hillary Clinton. Her polling experts assured her that there no way she could lose. It was not "if" but "by how much." Oh well, lesson learned... but apparently not by the leftist enclave that runs the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll.
Rutgers just produced a sales document, cleverly disguised as a piece of science-based survey research. It reminds us a lot of that carefully crafted polling from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business groups that popped up after the 2012 presidential election that assured us that "the voters" were clamoring for immigration reform and that no Republican could hope for a future without climbing on board NOW! Yep, climb aboard they did... Senator Marco Rubio read those polls and proceeded to screw his presidential ambitions, Governor Jeb Bush screwed any future he had in politics... one after another screwed themselves, aided and abetted by survey research with the imprimaturs of some of the nation's "most respected" academic and commercial polling firms. And the cherry on top was the candidacy of Donald Trump -- who did exactly the opposite of what all those polls said to do.
On June 14, 2017, members of the New Jersey Legislature received a memo from Christine Sadovy, the Legislative and Political Director of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey:
From: Christine Sadovy [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Wednesday, June 14, 2017 10:24 AM
Subject: 78% of NJ Voters Support State Family Planning Funding
A new Rutgers-Eagleton poll shows that 78% of New Jersey voters support state funding for family planning services. An overwhelming majority of Democrats (95%) and Independents (76%) support state family planning funding as well as 46% of Republicans. State funding for family planning provides low-income women and men with access to cancer screenings, birth control and STD testing and treatment. New Jersey women and families rely on Planned Parenthood for these services.
The poll was conducted by Rutgers-Eagleton in conjunction with the NJ Health Care Quality Institute and follows a series of 20 separate nationwide polls that show strong favorability for Planned Parnethood. This latest poll shows what we already know: it’s time to restore funding for preventive reproductive health care services and override the Governor’s veto.
We all should understand by now that Planned Parenthood is no more synonymous with "women's health services" than is aspirin with "pain relief." Planned Parenthood is merely one provider, albeit one that seeks greater market share and indeed, monopoly, through the use of a marketing arm carefully disguised as a political action committee. Planned Parenthood is no more a "cause" than are Ford automobiles. Planned Parenthood lobbies for government funding to its corporation to strengthen its brand and use taxpayer money to improve its bottom line in the way that all corporate cronyism does.
For Rutgers to involve itself in such a scam is surprising. Then again, it could be argued that Rutgers itself is involved in an on-going scam to extract more and more money from taxpayers -- often for projects of a dubious nature.
The Rutgers Poll was conducted May 18-23, 2017, and used samples from just 605 registered voters in New Jersey. They used data provided by L2 for said sample.
The demographic breakdowns offered in the memorandum on the poll prepared by Rutgers is missing a great deal of important information. When asked, in writing, for information that would assist in clarifying the poll's results, Rutgers was very reticent in cooperating and provided very little information at all. It was a good thing that L2 is so transparent.
With information from L2, we could easily see a few red flags. Take the age of the voters polled by Rutgers, for instance.
18-29 years 17%
30-49 years 31%
50-64 years 31%
65+ years 21%
The data provided by L2 is markedly different (this is for all registered voters):
18-24 years 8%
25-34 years 16%
35-44 years 15%
45-59 years 29%
60+ years 32%
But the above data is for all registered voters, among those likely to vote, the numbers are skewed further towards older voters:
(for voters who made it to 2 of the last 4 elections)
18-24 years 3%
25-34 years 8%
35-44 years 11%
45-59 years 31%
60+ years 47%
(for voters who made it to 3 of the last 4 elections)
18-24 years 1%
25-34 years 5%
35-44 years 8%
45-59 years 29%
60+ years 56%
You get the picture. Among those most likely to show up at the polls (4 of the last 4 elections) 69% are 60 years old or older. If a campaign professional used a turnout model that over-sampled younger voters and under-sampled older voters the way the Rutgers poll does, he would be accused of having done crack cocaine.
Then there is the voter registration sample used: Among the 605 registered voters overall, 42% identified as Democrats, 37% identified as Independents, and 20% identified Republicans. Wow!
This sort of thing has been written about, in depth, in a book called "Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media." We will let Wikipedia take it from here:
Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (1988), by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky, proposes that the mass communication media of the U.S. "are effective and powerful ideological institutions that carry out a system-supportive propaganda function, by reliance on market forces, internalized assumptions, and self-censorship, and without overt coercion", by means of the propaganda model of communication.
We will be writing more on this later.