With our second annual Fake Social Science poll on the GOP White Knights, we tried out a new technique. We used photo montages to quickly orient the poll takers to the 'knight's' face and past foibles. And, of course, we tried to prejudice the viewer as much as possible in the process.
We also used as many biased buzzwords as possible to cue the respondents in selecting their answers. Words like 'mob' and 'clan' and 'bunch' all have similar connotations, but each subtly defines a group. For a long time, the 'mob' led in the polling, but, at the time of this writing, it finished with the Bush Bunch getting the most votes as the 'most hated dynasty'. I suspect some late gaming of that question (it got the most votes of any question in the poll), but we haven't yet been able to figure out how to detect a multiple use poll-taker.
My collaborator and I had pretty much the same goals, but different agendas in this poll. The main thing we agreed on was to use the 'push poll' idea as absurdly as possible to help people learn to recognize when they are being played by pollsters. Where our agendiiii diverge is the why of trashing the "White Knights". "Wally" was doing it to weaken President Obama's eventual rival in November and I was glad to join in because I not only want a "White Knight" nominee for the GOP but I want a certain "White Knight" (holding my breath til I turn blue and prolly will have to vote for Mitt anyway.)
At Jack's request, I will address the mechanics of Question 3. My collaborator formulated the question - I probably would have gone with something more like conservatives 'scoffed at' Jeb's claim to ever having been a conservative, but 'sense of betrayal' does capture the theme nicely. Conservatives are rather skeptical about any claims by the House of Bush to conservatism. Neocons, perhaps, but not conservatives in the sense of limiting government or supporting traditional values. (The responses to one of the Mitch Daniels questions clearly point out George W. Bush's lack of concern about government spending - in particular the tax-dollar gobbling Medicare part D.)
My collaborator had originally drafted a set of mildly worded responses for Question 3 that exactly mirror the published responses. I suggested the more pointed responses in order to blow up that old canard that "Jeb is the Bush brother who should have been President". The whole point of the White Knight effort by the GOP grass roots during this primary season is to block another GOP establishment candidate. Why swap Mitt McCain for Jeb McCain?
It may or may not be clear to those who don't know us (jfxgillis and me) that we come from fairly opposite sides of the political spectrum. While our agendas sometimes overlap, they will just as often clash. Through this tension we hope to come up with Fake Social Science polls that both sides will find interesting. Based on our tentative plans for future polls, I think you can safely expect a strong pushmi-pullyou aspect in our semi-serious attempts to bring you the best in fake social science.
Thanks to all of you who allowed us manipulate the bejeebers out of you. Now, over to my partner (the patisserie catalyzer). ~mymymy
On the one hand, we should be ashamed of ourselves for all the bejeebers belonging to others that we are now in possession of; on the other hand, the Putsch Poll™ was sure fun to write and publish, so we'll be doing it again. Besides, we still have dirty, smearing cheap shots to take at Obama and Romney (and their wives) not to mention the less-likely remaining candidates in the GOP field (although the global supply of Newt and Calista cheap shots may already be exhausted).
I thought it was fascinating that up to near the very end, the "Medicare Part D" answer in the Mitch Daniels question was the only answer out of about 40 that got zero votes. That seemed like the one thing people didn't mind not having been paid for. My larger agenda for that question was to force GOP readers to see George W. Bush's name. The fiscal criminality of the 8 years from 2001 to 2009 seems to have slipped the Republican party's mind.
The main reason I wanted to add my Two Cents™ to this analysis, though, is to say something that would be unseemly for my collaborator to say: I really liked the montages. It seems to me they operated subliminally, and since operating subliminally is what Fake Social Science is all about, I hope she employs that manipulative technique again, no matter how ethically dubious! ~jfxgillis
***The poll above is strictly to massage the fragile egos of the pseudo-scientists at fake soc sci. Please do not disappoint.