Monday, January 03, 2005

Fun with Surveys (part 6)

Tolles makes hay out of the fact that 44% supported some restriction on Muslims civil liberties. Quick question for Tolles: what is your stand on the FBI infiltrating the KKK? Is it acceptable for undercover g-men to pose as white supremacists to gather information? It is a fair question, I think. I come down mildly on the side that it is OK, but there should be pretty strong safeguards in place. One of the four questions that leads Tolles to be physically ill at the creeping fascism in America deals with a similar infiltration of muslim groups.

In fact, part of the trick to getting a number like 44% is simply to ask enough questions. If they had asked 100 questions instead of four they might have been able to say 95% of all Americans supported some restrictions on Muslims civil liberties, especially if the questions are as poorly thought out as some of the ones in this survey.

Finally, on the methodological side, they reported that they weighted for race, but then didn’t report any of the results by race. Wonder why not? Final page.

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