Friday, November 17, 2006

Zogby's poll of US soldiers in Iraq discredited

Here is just one example of several criticisms of Zogby's opaque poll of US soldiers in Iraq based on objective analysis of what was revealed about the polling and not based on political stance:

"Despite the wide range of opinions and loud voices about America's role in Iraq, there's a real hunger for authenticity that only the troops on the ground can provide. As a veteran, I have been hoping that a pollster would take the obvious step of asking our troops for their opinions, and I think Zogby International deserves credit for making the effort.

But as an economist, my appreciation eroded sharply when I took a closer look.

The survey contains 24 questions. It was given secretly during late January and early February to an unknown number of American troops serving in Iraq, although we are told that 944 respondents were included. If all the guidelines for random sampling were met (they weren't), the reported margin of error would be plus or minus 3.3 percent.

The unforgivable flaw in Zogby's survey is the biased phrasing of its questions and answers. Two of the most provocative results are based on questions with no middle ground. It's like a multiple-choice test with no right answers."

Here a liberal blogger interviewed Zogby directly about the poll of US soldiers in Iraq:

As you can see, when pressed about the lack of transparency in the methodology used, his response was:

'I asked Zogby what advice he would offer data consumers who find this all puzzling. In this case, he said, "you have to trust me."'

In addition, it turns out the sponsor for the poll was:

'In our conversation Zogby indicated that an "anti-war" sponsor paid for the survey but played no role in conducting interviews or gathering the data. I wrongly assumed he meant the Center for Peace and Global Security, whose faculty according to a story in yesterday's Syracuse Post Standard, did help "develop and word the poll's questions." In fact, the funder was "a wealthy war opponent who [Zogby] would not name."'

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