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FOX using unscientific poll to advance military-votes-Republican meme

Reported by Chrish - October 21, 2008 -

Gmailer Andrew alerted us to the video embedded below, with FOX face Megyn Kelly and correspondent Jennifer Griffin, to add credibility, discussing a recent poll finding from Military Times. The findings are all over the right-wing blogosphere and have landed on FOXNews.com's front page, as they trumpet the results that 68% of those polled, overall, favor John McCain over Barack Obama. Alas for FOX, the poll is useless, based on the Military Times' own admission of methodology and sample.


Note the big headline, "It's McCain!" and the language: "landslide support."

Here's the video from yesterday:

The link to the Military Times data provided in the FOX web article takes you to a page of pie charts graphically showing the results. But later FOX writes that

"The Military Times offered certain caveats for its poll, which was open only to its 80,000 subscribers. Responses were entirely voluntary and were not focused on a representative sample of the public, as scientific polls are. The troops polled were also somewhat older than average enlisted service members and included more officers than is representative of the military as a whole."

and concludes

"Yet judging by the numbers, it appears that the Democratic party has not made many inroads into the traditionally Republican military."

Drilling into the Military Times article for the methodology, we find

"To gather military opinion on this year’s presidential election, Military Times began with a list of more than 80,000 subscribers and former subscribers to Army Times, Navy Times, Marine Corps Times and Air Force Times who gave the papers their e-mail addresses.

Each was e-mailed an invitation to participate through a secure Internet page. Security measures ensured that readers could not submit multiple entries and that only those who received an invitation could respond.

From Sept. 22 to Sept. 29, 2,813 active-duty members, 1,480 members of the National Guard or reserve and 4,411 retirees participated. The figures include only those respondents who indicated they are registered and intend to vote in the election. Chart totals may not equal 100 percent because of the rounding of figures.

Although public opinion pollsters use random selection to survey the general public, the Military Times survey is based on responses from those who chose to participate. That means it is impossible to calculate statistical margins of error commonly reported in opinion surveys, because those calculations depend on random sampling techniques.

The voluntary nature of the survey could affect the results — if supporters of one candidate are more prone to express their opinions, for example. The dependence on e-mail could also affect the results, because e-mail users may have different characteristics than the military population as a whole.

Characteristics of Military Times readers may also affect the results. The group surveyed is significantly older than the military as a whole, and the survey group contains a higher percentage of officers than is present in the military.

Conversely, junior enlisted troops, women and racial and ethnic minorities made up a smaller share of the sample than of the military at large. While it is difficult to predict how those factors affect the results, those groups are generally regarded as more supportive of Democratic candidates."

So essentially FOX is touting a loaded, unscientific poll that supports its agenda and the candidate they want to win - the very definition of propaganda.

This is just another weapon in the election theft arsenal. The Republicans are setting the stage with allegations of voter fraud, forecasts of contested outcomes, and using polls such as this one to raise expectations for a McCain "surprise" win. Meanwhile corrupted machines are already flipping Obama votes to McCain in WV and TN.

That "...the greatest fraud[s] in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy" that John McCain is so worried about is being perpetrated by his own party, on his behalf.

And by the way, first-hand accounts
from those unpolled, younger enlisted military families show majority support for Barack Obama, and donations from military personnel have strongly favored Barack Obama over John McCain.