L.A. Times Poll Scandal?
Plus: Recall Wreck Roundup
Field Poll Blasts Times Poll: The people who run the Field Poll not only think the L.A. Times poll (showing Davis on the verge of beating the recall) is full of it, they think the L.A. Times' defensive explanation for why its poll is different is also full of it! And they make a powerful case.
The LAT's David Lauter had attempted to explain the difference by noting that Field had more "moderates" while the Times poll had more self-identified "liberals" and "conservatives." But Field notes that you can't compare these two numbers--the polls use different questions to classify people ideologically, and if you'd asked the Field questions to the Times' sample you might well have gotten lots of moderates too. ...
The real difference, Field argues, is that the LAT for some reason seems to have wildly oversampled non-white non-Latinos--i.e. blacks and Asians. Blacks are the most reliable recall opponents, and they seem to have driven the poll resulst in Davis' favor. The Times hides this flaw by failing to even report the black and Asian subgroups separately.
Why did the size of the unreported racial/ethnic subgroups in the latest Times Poll amount to 18%, when according to its own exit poll, blacks and Asian voters combined comprised just 10% of all voters in the last general election? Did the Times Poll sample include a proportionate number of black/African-Americans or a disproportionately large number whose inclusion, due to their strong opposition to the recall, could have skewed their poll results?
It's probably not the Asians who were lopsidedly pro-recall, Field notes, since they "historically tend to be more divided in their voting preferences on partisan matters."
This is a pretty convincing indictment. It resonates with the suspicion--hard to believe, but always present with the PC Times--that the results were somehow intentionally skewed. I would think the LAT would have to respond. ... While they are at it, they might reveal to their readers Mystery Questions 3 and 4--the questions, right before the crucial recall question, that the Times pollsters for some reason skips over in their published report. Maybe these are harmless "likely voter" screens--but why shouldn't Times readers learn about them too? You've got to be transparent if people are suspicious of you, no?
The beauty part is that many recall opponents--including perhaps the Times own editorial board--seem to have actually believed the polls suggestion that Davis was about to beat the recall, and as a result they are hostile to the Ninth Circuit's postponement of the election. So the Ninth Circuit faces opposition from both recall proponents, who think they were about to win, and opponents, who (foolishly believing the LAT poll) think they were about to win. Both groups can't be right, of course--it's a zero-sum game. But their mutually-contradictory confidence can make it very uncomfortable for any Ninth Circuit 11-judge "en banc" panel that reconsiders the decision to postpone the election. ... P.S.: If you don't think appellate courts pay attention to editorials and other indicators of the public mood, you haven't clerked on an appellate court. ... 1:23 P.M.
There's an obvious potential solution to the California election crisis, a voting technology that's easy to use, leaves a permanent record, and can be deployed quickly in all counties. ... Paper ballots! ... They work in the United Kingdom. ... So they take a while to count. It's better than having a nightmarish campaign until March. ... [Thanks to reader J.B.] 3:30 P.M.
The Ninth Circuit three-judge appeals panel has delayed the recall election. ... We knew that! ... Appeals to the entire Ninth Circuit en banc and to the U.S. Supreme Court, are presumably to come. ... For background on the issues, here's a good Recorder account of the appellate arguments, and here is pro-delay expert Rick Hasen's blog (and here's his amicus brief). Here's an anti-delay op-ed by Debra Saunders. ... Here's an anecdote from the Recorder's account that pretty much captures the seemingly condescending, museum-quality paleoliberal mindset of at least one of the three judges on the appelate panel:
[Judge Harry] Pregerson then playfully pointed out that education [in how to avoid punch card errors] might not work on tired workers, or workers harried by trying to find their polling place. Then he said those problems might be more of a concern to minority candidates who may have more reason to be tired at the end of the day than whites.
"In L.A., if you look around, see who's working and who isn't," Pregerson said, drawing laughter from the near-capacity courtroom.