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Daily Kos and the Chicago Teachers Union need to get their messages straight because they’re directly contradicting each other regarding the polling company that just conducted research about the teachers strike. In doing so, they reveal just how hypocritical the Left is when data doesn’t support their claims.

The Chicago Teachers Union is touting a new poll from “We Ask America” that shows a majority of the Chicago public supports their strike. According to the poll, which was commissioned by Rich Miller of local website “Capitol Fax,” 55% of Chicago voting households support the strike. 66% of Chicago households with children in the public schools support the strike.

However, back in May, DailyKos excoriated We Ask America’s methodology for its use of automated polls when it showed Milwaukee’s Mayor Tom Barrett losing to Governor Walker in the recall election. Daily Kos implied that the poll was laughable and conducted by a partisan organization that cannot be trusted, saying “it always pays to check background and methodology”:

On the value of automated polls, WAA says they “can have a huge number of responses (we’ve conducted polls of up to 70,000 responses!), and cost about one-tenth the price of interview polls.” Why then, does 1,219 work so well for Wisconsin? I guess the summary neglected to call Wisconsin a “cheap” poll date, too….

Though We Ask America challenges the reader to check their record with The American Research Group, who “keeps tabs on the accuracy of pollsters, including We Ask America”, the only reference available there was for the 2012 Wisconsin Republican Primary. WAA’s accuracy rating for polling that narrow demographic was the same as Marquette’s.

…Thanks WAA, for having the automation to get more in touch with my state than I am with a meager 61 years of personal experience here.

I had lots of questions to ask at the WAA website, but the 0 comments displayed will likely remain so, given there’s no functional commenting system there. (And I so wanted to comment on the Mid-America Melee poll!) I must admit, however, that’s a great (and cheap) way to leave an impression of unquestioned accuracy.

But, the Chicago Teachers Union is busy promoting the poll. They sent out a press release Thursday saying  it “proves [the] majority of parents and taxpayers approve of [a] fair contract fight” and promoted it on their social media:

As far as the validity of the poll, while it is not available to non-subscribers, it appears that We Ask America has used a more than robust sample size for its well accepted methodology of automated polling. As Rich Miller, the man for whom the poll was conducted, says:

Parents and the community almost always rally around school teachers at the beginning of a strike, almost no matter where it is. People have strong connections to their teachers, and they tend to back the teachers at the start of job actions. That wears off as strikes wear on, but it should be no surprise that parents (and the Chicago public at large, for that matter) currently support the strike.

It seems that the Left will bash a pollster’s methodology if they don’t agree, but tout that same methodology if they do agree with the results. Surprised?

3 Responses

  1. rich miller

    Um, it turns out We Ask America was pretty darned spot-on about the Wisconsin race. Walker won by 7 points. Your post neglected to mention that.

  2. George Kocan

    So, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the other day that the strike was “technically illegal.” As the chief law enforcement officer of Chicago, what is he going to do? Enforce the law? Ha! If he were serious about the law, he would de-certify the union, that is, refuse its recognition as the sole bargaining agent for the teachers; fire all the teachers; hire anyone with a BS or BA degree to fill in. If the public school system were doing its job, anyone with a high school diploma could do the job. But, the State of Illinois, which has jurisdiction over education, recognizes that the very people who go through the public education system are too incompetent to actally teach in that same system. Will the public in Chicago and Illinois rise up and demand change? What? How can the happend when the public in Chicago and Illinois is itself a product of the public school system. The purpose of the public school system is not to produce an educated and competent citizenry (obviously!). It is to produce reliable Democrat voters.

  3. Yehoshua

    Well, his critique of their methodology is a pretty bad one. He’s basically saying they should have had a bigger sample size, like he knows something about statistics. In the poll above, he criticizes them for ONLY having 1219 respondents, which yields an overall margin of error of 2.8%. This MOE is the norm for almost every political poll.


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