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Thursday, September 13, 2007
NewsBusters' Boyd Mindlessly Attacks Poll
Topic: NewsBusters

In a Sept. 12 NewsBusters post, Robin Boyd makes a strange attempt to discredit an ABC/BBC/NHK poll of Iraqi citizens that demonstrates she knows little about how polling works. Boyd stires:

First of all - the sample size. The number of Iraqis questioned for the poll was approximately 2100 people. 2100 people in a country with an estimated population of 27,499,638 according to the CIA Factbook. That means the poll results were from 1/1000 of the population. How can a sample size that small even be considered partially representative of the population?

Boyd offers no evidence that the poll's sample size deviates from standard polling practice. In fact, sample sizes for national polls in the U.S. typically cover 1,000 to 1,500 respondents. Using a sample size larger than that for a country with 1/10th the population of the U.S. would seem to make the Iraqi poll more accurate than a U.S. poll, would it not?

(Boyd also fails to note that the CIA Factbook population is off by a couple million due to all the war refugees.)

Boyd continues:

Next - the polling companies. The polls were managed by D3 Systems of Vienna, VA and KA Research Ltd of Istanbul. Both polling companies work with an all-Iraqi staff from in-country. I have no way of knowing the ulterior motives of the Iraqi staff members but recalling the number of "in-country" media stringers who have been involved with insurgents makes one wonder. Both companies have performed similar surveys for ABC and BBC prior to this one.

Here, Boyd is making a sloppy stab at guilt by association that she knows she has no evidence to back up.

Boyd went on to cite allegedly positive poll results that that weren't reported because "the media reports the poll results that make America look bad and ignore the results that point to progress. Typical." Josh Marshall, meanwhile, does his own analysis and finds even more troubling numbers than have been reported by anyone, including Boyd.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:46 PM EDT

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