In the survey conducted by Peter Gries, director of the University of Oklahoma’s Institute for US-China Issues, Ma’s support rate was 34 percent, while Tsai was on 26 percent.I think, if you've been paying attention to the zillion election surveys I've posted so far, you can see that this one is an outlier. Looks like a typical case of academic not knowing the lay of the land, parachuting in, and reporting to us poor benighted people on the ground here that he has found the Holy Grail [CORRECTION: Gries says he is a visiting scholar. See his comments below]. The 8 point spread in this survey exceeds almost any of the recent surveys of even the most shamelessly pro-KMT papers (when was the last time you saw a local survey of this election that generated a 30% "don't know"?).
Support for People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) was at 10 percent, while undecided voters accounted for 30 percent, the survey showed.
The survey, conducted between Nov. 17 and Monday with a sample size of 500 people and a 6.5 percent margin of error, used an Internet survey methodology to avoid biases associated with telephone and face-to-face polls, he said.
Tip: Gries advertised his survey as "non-partisan." When something Taiwanish advertises itself as neutral or non-partisan, it is almost always going to wind up pro-KMT. When I saw the term "non-partisan" I just started laughing, knowing what the poll would say.
The major problem here was that the Taipei Times should have ignored this or trashed it. It was wrong to give this any credence whatsoever.
Above are two slides from Friday's presentation. Gries used an internet survey methodology whose innate biases he attempted to correct using a method called sample matching. The purpose of sample matching is to overcome the fact that different modes of survey (phone, face-to-face, internet) are answered differently by different people. Scholars who use such methods argue that sample matching enables them to overcome the self-selection bias -- the people who take internet polls are different from people who do not, and they choose to take the poll, they are not cold called as in a phone survey. For a look at this kind of methodology in political surveys, see this 2007 paper. Fundamentally, it is quite true that an internet survey avoids the biases associated with phone surveys. It does this by introducing different biases.....
Because the number of respondents with education was low, Gries had to give them greater weight in the poll. Based on what?
Note further that YouGov is a private firm and its claims about its methodology should be taken with the skepticism appropriate to any corporate advertisement.
Of course, Gries does not know WHO took the internet survey in Taiwan. So this is a survey of ghosts.
Finally, Peter Enav of AP, at Friday's presentation, wisely asked Gries if this was a survey of likely voters. Gries responded that the number of people who responded as likely voters is so low that he didn't dare say it was a survey of likely voters.
So, basically, Gries
So what was the purpose of a "non-partisan" survey that shows Ma up by 8 using a for-profit platform? I think the question answers itself.
The other fascinating survey that came out this week was even more bogus. This was the widely circulated AP story on a poll which claimed that Taiwanese youth were losing their appetite to fight China. Zounds!
A survey published this week by Taiwan's Commonwealth Magazine appears to confirm that Taiwan's process of demilitarization is rapidly gaining steam. Based on a sample of students aged 12 to 17, it found only 38.7 percent would be ready to see either themselves or a family member fight if a new war broke out, while 44.3 percent would not. The remainder had no opinion.This one is also a stinker. The numbers are absurd. First, it is a survey of 12 to 17 yr olds. A 12 yr old isn't capable of forming a meaningful opinion on a complex moral question of this nature. But second, the numbers are ridiculous. 5054 surveys mailed out and 74% mailed back within two weeks? For crying out loud! I want these guys' addresses for my own surveys! Seriously, in a typical mail survey months are necessary, not weeks and the researcher usually sends out follow up surveys or requests because the initial response rate is in the teens or twenties (for example). Perhaps there is some key bit of missing/misunderstood information not in the piece (they were handing out a free Porsche with each returned survey, it wasn't a mail survey, etc).
The Defense Ministry declined to comment on the survey, saying it had no information on the way it was conducted. Commonwealth said it was carried out by mail between Oct. 17 and Nov. 4 and that the 3,715 responses represented a 74 percent return on the 5,054 questionnaires it sent.
Commonwealth hosts an English version of the story here and the whole thing appears to be typical media bullshit slanted hyping. The item appears in a survey of teens. Here's the actual quote:
"Would you be willing to see yourself or family members head to battle if the country went to war with another country?" 39 percent answered they were "willing" or "very willing," but even more (44 percent) said they were unwilling. (See Tables 1-4)Follow the link to the Table if you like. The question did not ask the students if THEY THEMSELVES would be willing to fight but included "family members." Raise your hand if you think a question that asks about Dear Old Dad going off to fight the PLA is the same in the students' minds as themselves going off to fight to protect Mom, Dad, and Sis. Nor did it ask anything specific -- "If China attacked Taiwan...." "If China attacked Taiwan and the US and Japan backed Taiwan...." "If the Philippines and Taiwan clashed over the Spratlys...."
The AP article says the students were losing their appetite for fighting China. The question does not even ask about China!!!!!
The sad part is, that this is an important issue and should be explored, especially with the growing China threat. But this isn't the right peg to hang this story on.
Of course, it is all meaningless anyway. People say one thing when there is no threat, and quite another when it materializes. As a wise observer pointed out to me, in 1933 the Oxford Union held a famous debate in which it resolved that "this house will not fight for King and country." There was no shortage of recruits from that house when WWII in Europe began six years later.....
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