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Eugen Tarnow

 

      Changing the survey question, getting a different result but no correction issued by Quinnipiac University

      Eugen G Tarnow  August 29 2015 11:17:16 AM
      By Eugen Tarnow, Ph.D.
      Avalon Business Systems, Inc.
      http://AvalonAnalytics.com

      We are survey experts and once in a while we notice disturbing survey results.

      These are the results in question:

      April 27, 2015 - American Voters Back Iran Deal By Wide Margin, Quinnipiac University National Poll Finds


      and

      August 3, 2015 - American Voters Oppose Iran Deal 2-1, Quinnipiac University National Poll Finds


      Really?  How is it possible that American voters changed their minds so quickly and fundamentally?  

      It turns out they may not have, but the questions asked were different.  In particular, the question asked in the April poll was a leading question:

      "55. As you may know a preliminary agreement was reached in which the United States and other countries would lift major economic sanctions against Iran, in exchange for Iran restricting its nuclear program in a way that makes it harder for it to produce nuclear weapons. Do you support or oppose this agreement?"

      The meaning of the Iran deal was laid out tor the voters, instead of letting the voters decide what it meant.

      In the August poll the question was neutral:

      "67. Do you support or oppose the nuclear deal with Iran?"

      Quinnipiac University did not issue a retraction of the earlier survey, nor did they discuss how they changed the question for the August survey.  

      A similarly leading question on Iran was used in a poll commissioned from Social Science Research Solutions by the LA Jewish Journal.  They asked:

      "As you know, an agreement was reached in which the United States and other countries would lift major economic sanctions against Iran, in exchange for Iran restricting its nuclear program in a way that makes it harder for it to produce nuclear weapons. Do you support or oppose this agreement, or don’t know enough to say?"

      They got a result very similar to the April Quinnipiac poll.  There has been no retraction or discussion of the question in the Jewish Journal.

      And the bias pattern repeats with the poll of the Cato Institute.  They asked:

      "Do you favor or oppose an agreement in which the United States and other countries that would ease oil and economic sanctions on Iran for 10-15 years in return for Iran agreeing to stop its nuclear program over that period?"

      Their poll took place July 14-16 and they got the same result as the Qunnipiac April poll.  No correction has been issued in light of the Quinnipiac August poll results.

      We at Avalon can assist with your statistics needs.  We use SPSS Modeler, Python and R to get the results.

      Call us at 646 9825 9080  x1114 to get a quote.

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