Saturday, August 16, 2008

What did SAM mean by "Normal People"?...


It appears SAM was not very happy with the results of a recent SurveyUSA poll showing Congressman Bob Goodlatte holds a 2 to 1 edge over SAM with adults in the sixth district… NewsVirginian article

It seems SAM has a problem with the poll’s methodology. Now obviously no single poll technique is 100% accurate as many of the past elections have shown, but it’s the way SAM phrased his objections to this poll are in ??Question??…

“If you do look at the methodology, even the way polls are done right now, I think it’s a little bit archaic in the sense that normal people do not have phones, in other words, landlines,” Rasoul said.

Now maybe SAM slipped here a bit and could have phrased it differently, but what does he mean by “normal people”? Those people who still own actual hard wired “Landline” phones in their houses are not “normal“?

“They have cellular phones, so those people, of course, tend to be more working-class individuals and tend to be more Democratic, to generalize. Younger people do not generally have landlines. I’m just speaking in broad generalizations.

So lets look at some of the facts that I got off the internet, which I have the old style version of “hard wired” connection as compared to the “Wireless” version that I guess the “normal” people have…

“Among all adults, 9.6 percent had only a mobile phone in the first half of 2006, compared with 7.7 percent in the preceding six months. The overall number without landlines _ 13.2 percent _ includes those who have no phone at all.”

The CEO of the SurveyUSA poll even mentions the percentage of people who only have cell phones only in their homes… But what did SAM mean by “They have cellular phones, so those people, of course, tend to be more working-class individuals and tend to be more Democratic,” Is there data out there on the internet, only available to those with “wireless” connections(?), that shows if you only have a cell phone you are a “working class” person and “more” Democratic then those who have landlines in their houses?

Now maybe SAM would like the opportunity to “re-phrase” his statements but the more important question is what does SAM consider a “normal” person? Is it a person with a cell phone that is obviously a working class person and is generally more “Democratic”? Would SAM lead in the poll or win the election if we only contact those without “landlines” and from the “working class”? If so how would SAM represent ALL of the people of the sixth district if he was elected as the Virginia State Representative to Congress?

Maybe the guy from the polling service said it best: “The content is not close,” Leve said. “The Republican candidate leads decisively. … What it sounds like to me is that the Democrat is making noise about our method because he is losing.”


Anonymous said...

Poor wording choice, to be sure, but from a factual standpoint, he's got a good point.

First, those numbers aren't the freshest. The Centers for Disease Control actually is the source for the best data on this; their most recent report is that the percentage of households with only wireless phones, as of the end of 2007, was up to 15.8%.

If you read far enough in there, you'll see there are some significant demographic differences among the wireless-only population; they definitely trend toward renters, minorities, lower income, and of course younger, as well as testing more liberally on a lot of questions. There's (dated) coverage about that issue here.

On the other hand, there's research showing that including cell phone respondents, despite these demographic issues, makes little difference in poll results.

One reason for that: the demographics of the cell phone only population tends to match up pretty well with the demographics of the non-voting population. If you include the cell-phone only households in a poll, you end up including relatively few of them, because they're just not, traditionally, a big part of the electorate. To the extend those voters are exceptionally well-motivated in 2008, it could actually be a factor in understating some candidates' support.

But not by enough to overcome a 2:1 advantage, not by a long shot.

RightsideVA said...

Agreed and thanks for the "fresh" data. I was only able to find the data I had from a quick search but yes the numbers are still a small percentage of the voters out there.

Poor wording yes, but my question is how does SAM associate those with cell phones only as the "more working class" people and thus more "Democratic"? I found it interesting how he identifies and targets this group of people and if elected, will he only represent these types of groups?

I also find it interesting the data on "Cell only" people and their status in society as you noted. At work I see many who are new to the labor force or in the lower pay scale who are quick to condemn their economic status as unfair or the likes but yet they have top of the line cell phones with all of the bells and whistles....


Anonymous said...

"tend to be more working-class individuals"

Go work 20 years and pay taxes and watch how your "Democratic" party takes our hard earned money only to give it to those who "will not" do for themselves as they should. Maybe if they did not spend their income on cell phones with mp players, cameras, internet, games, and ultra-text message features, they would take care of themselves instead of looking for somebody like Sam to promise them more handouts!