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Math Politics

Daily Kos Pollster Made Up Numbers 546

jamie found a story up on Daily Kos revealing that the polling firm they had contracted with for 18 months, Research 2000 or R2K, apparently made up or at least manually tweaked its polling results. The blog published a preliminary report by a team of statistics gurus (Mark Grebner, Michael Weissman, and Jonathan Weissman), and it is an exemplar of clarity and concision. The team reports, "We do not know exactly how the weekly R2K results were created, but we are confident they could not accurately describe random polls." Daily Kos will be filing a lawsuit against its former pollster. "For the past year and a half, Daily Kos has been featuring weekly poll results from the Research 2000 (R2K) organization. These polls were often praised for their 'transparency,' since they included detailed cross-tabs on sub-populations and a clear description of the random dialing technique. However, on June 6, 2010, FiveThirtyEight.com rated R2K as among the least accurate pollsters in predicting election results. Daily Kos then terminated the relationship. One of us (MG) wondered if odd patterns he had noticed in R2K's reports might be connected with R2K's mediocre track record, prompting our investigation of whether the reports could represent proper random polling. ... This posting is a careful initial report of our findings, not intended to be a full formal analysis but rather to alert people not to rely on R2K's results."
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Daily Kos Pollster Made Up Numbers

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