Sunday, July 4, 2010

A Useless Gallup Poll

I noticed a news story regarding a Gallup poll on patriotism. Although patriotism is a good Fourth of July topic, the poll itself is almost totally useless. It measures vague levels of self-described patriotism, and arrives at the unsurprising conclusion that "Republicans, conservatives, and seniors" are the most likely to call themselves "extremely patriotic." Given that a minority of the left is actively anti-American, and even many mainstream liberals are embarrassed by open displays of patriotism, associating it with jingoistic nationalism, it's pretty easy to predict what categories of people might identify as extremely patriotic. Gallup tries valiantly to pretend that its survey results have any actual meaning, but fails miserably.

Gallup asked respondents to identify their personal level of patriotism. The choices were: "extremely patriotic," "very patriotic," "somewhat patriotic," and "not especially patriotic." What's the difference between extremely & very? Gallup doesn't know.

The difference between "extremely" and "very" patriotic is left to respondents to interpret.
It's always a sign of quality polling when your questions are so vague that respondents have to figure out what they mean for themselves -- a lazy, meaningless poll by Gallup.

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