Farah’s Dishonest Handling of Polling Data

Over the last couple years, the Worldnutdaily has contracted with Wenzel Strategies to do polling, as many conservative groups do. And now he’s promoting a new poll by Wenzel that purports to show what Muslim-Americans really believe — naturally, it’s what Farah thinks they believe. But he wants to establish the poll’s credibility by emphasizing that it’s “scientific.”

Before the presidential election, I got the idea to commission a scientific poll to find out what Muslim-Americans really think – and how it might affect their votes.

The results were eye-opening and alarming. They should be to every American who believes in the U.S. Constitution and Judeo-Christian morality.

And he calls Fritz Wenzel a “respected pollster.” Well let’s check the track record. Wenzel is a Republican polling company. Now that doesn’t necessarily mean his results are bad, but we can easily find out by comparing their polls to actual results. And they aren’t even close. For example, when all the other polling companies were showing Todd Akin being down by as much as ten points, Wenzel’s poll had him up by as much as five points, and showed him with a consistent lead.

Wenzel also was about the only company that showed Romney with a three point lead in Ohio just days before the election (Obama won by 2), and even had him pulling very close in Wisconsin (Obama won by 7). They also had Romney winning in Virginia just prior to the election (Obama won by 3). They were just as inaccurate in the Senate races, and all tilted toward the Republicans. They had Josh Mandel leading Sherrod Brown by five points and Tommy Thompson leading Tammy Baldwin by two points.

And Wenzel was one of the many conservatives arguing before the election that all the other pollsters were getting it wrong because they were oversampling Democrats. Here’s Fritz Wenzel in September explaining why his polls are accurate and all the others were wrong:

There’s a lot of noice out there right now regarding the polling of the race for President of the United States. Some polls show Democrat Barack Obama up by a few points, while others show it is a really close race. Almost no polls show Republican Mitt Romney with a meaningful lead. That does not necessarily reflect what is really going on.

The reasoon Obama seems to enjoy a lead over Romney is straight-forward, and by now, well-explained: it is because the survey sample includes more Democrats than Republicans.

Simple enough.

Yep, simple enough. And absolutely wrong. So once he was proven wrong on this, did he admit that his sample was wrong? Nope. He blamed it on stupid people who just didn’t realize that Obama was evil and Romney was better:

Pollsters and consultants across the country whose interpretations of the polling numbers were off the mark were expecting voters to be smarter than they apparently are. They expected voters to look at Romney’s weaknesses and strengths, and judge them against Obama’s weaknesses and strengths…

It was H.L. Mencken who once said that “nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public,” and this appears to have been the guiding principle to the Obama re-election campaign.

It worked.

It wasn’t his fault! It was all those dumb people who voted for Obama! He just has to put more dumb people into his polling sample! Alex Koppelman pointed out back in 2009, when Wenzel was putting out polls supporting the Worldnutdaily’s obsession with the birther issue, the kind of tactics they use in framing questions to reach a desired result:

Getting a result that favored WND’s position on the issue of whether Obama should release a long-form birth certificate (despite the fact that he’s already released a copy of his birth certificate and Hawaiian officials have said he was born there) involved a little sleight of hand.

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