I was listening to Larry Kudlow on the radio Saturday when he disclosed a nugget of information that usually indicates when Democrats are secretly manipulating public opinion. Larry was in the Office of Management and Budget while I was there — he as a leader in the OMB hierarchy and me as the senior mathematical statistician (a GS-15 working grunt).
Larry was brilliant in almost every area he touched, but like many economists, most political consultants and almost all judges, he was an amateur statistician. He loved to poke at the details of statistical data (an excellent instinct), but he did not recognize the red flags that the story in the numbers may be false.
Pollsters have to sell their services like any other consultant. They offer polling methodologies that are reliable but expensive, but their clients often opt for cheaper methods that “approximate” the results of more reliable procedures. The problem is that these cheaper methods can be easily manipulated, not necessarily by the takers of the opinion polls, but by the respondents themselves. The cheap alternatives use some variation of QUOTA sampling.
This how it works. The pollster sells the idea that his process has an excellent scheme for balancing the number of men/women, Democrats/Independents/Republicans, or other groups (hispanics, blacks, etc). This scheme involves “quotas.” Federal agencies are not permitted to collect data this way. For years the Democrats have known how to bias this opinion polling system.
When you get a polling call, you give your normal liberal opinions until it comes time to identify your affiliation — then you lie. This accomplishes two things: it gets your liberal views into the poll as an independent or a republican; and it uses up a slot in the quota for the other group and thus prevents an actual independent or republican from entering their true opinions in the poll. A small percentage of liars on the poll can have twice the effect on steering the results their way.
Democrats have been doing this to independents for years. Have you noticed how the left seems to “win over” the independents as the campaign moves along. FRAUD! Fraud generated by Dems posing as independents — It did not happen but Republicans panic and modify their game to win back independents.
Now the left is becoming more brazen. They are inventing a small body of “republicans for Hillary.” It doesn’t take many to pollute the Republican and/or Independent quota in the polls with clever liars and generate doubts about their level of support. Worse yet the apparent trends tend to spread panic among real voters who don’t realize the fraud being spread by the left. This how Cuccinnelli and company lost — the fraudulent polls led to criticism of the campaign and grassroots republicans were convinced they couldn’t win — and stayed home! All the while the Republicans were close or AHEAD.
So what was the nugget Larry saw but did not recognize. He mentioned that Hillary’s “bounce” seemed to come not from Democrats but from “Republicans” in the polls who showed less support of Trump! Sound familiar?
Don’t be fooled by crossover fraud. If a poll is using quotas (most newspapers and consultants), subtract 5 or 10 points from Hillary and add them to Trump as a first order bias correction. And tell your Republican officeholders before they buy into the Democrats’ statistical fraud, get a real statistician on the staff and pay for reliable sampling methods.
Jerry L Coffey, PhD Mathematical Statistics