Practical Guide for the Modern Fake Pollster

Because 119.43% of Venezuelans can’t all be wrong!

Dear Fake Pollster,

It’s an unpleasant thing to have to bring up, but we feel we really must have a word: there’s been a marked decline in the quality of the Fake Pollstering y’all have been putting out, and it simply will not do.

In particular, the following points demand urgent attention:

1. It is imperative that you make sure that the percentages in your Voting Intention Pie Charts add up to 100%.  No more, no less. We cannot stress this enough. We’re looking right atcha, Servi Mercadeo: 119.43% of the vote is at least 19% too much.

2. Details matter, folks, so do mind the spelling, ok? We’re fascinated to find out 36.67% of Venezuelans intend to vote for Henrique Capriles Radonzki, but it’d be nice to know how many of them would consider supporting his evil doppleganger, Henrique Capriles Radonski.

3. Every Fake Pollster knows that giving off an air of exacting mathematical precision is crucial to making your Fake Poll believable. Reporting survey results to the second decimal is, naturally, de rigeur. Still, there is such a thing as overdoing this: projecting outcomes down to the specific number of votes each candidate will get four months before an election is trying too hard, ok, Datos Interdata?

(We agree that putting the name of a Real Pollster right in the middle of the name of your Fake Pollster was a nice touch, though…)

4. While we have you on the line, Datos Interdata, we’d like to note that having a FavIcon of SpongeBob SquarePants on your website does not bollster your credibility. The rule of thumb is: no SpongeBob anywhere on your website. Follow it.

5. And one last thing, Datos Interdata. Yes, you get points for Totally Made Up Methodological Precision re: your socio-economic stratification figures. But it is considered good form to at least pretend you have a little bit of a clue what you’re talking about in fabricating such details. To wit: telling us your sample is composed of stratum A (10%), B (20%),  C (30%) and strata  D-E (40%) is not likely to impress readers aware that Strata A-B together make up perhaps 3% of the population, C about 15%, and D and E in the neighborhood of 40% each. Do make a note of it for future reference.

6. Oh, and a word about websites. This goes for all of you, actually. It’s the 21st Century, folks: a Fake Pollster really can’t do without a minimally credible Fake Website. And no, a static front page and a “Sitio en Construcción” notice is not minimally credible, Predicmatica.  Listen, I know it costs 20 or so precious CADIVI dollars, but trust me, having a top-level Domain Name really is necessary. http://datosinterdata-opinion.webnode.com.ve/ does not cut it.

But I’m especially unhappy with you two, International Consulting Services and Servi Mercadeo: you didn’t even get that far. It’s as though you didn’t take the trouble to put up a fake website at all.  Shocking!

This is serious, folks. Frankly, a number of you seem to be just phoning it in at this point and, in the process, bringing Fake Pollsters everywhere into disrepute.

Fake polling is a calling; an art. You gotta put some heart into it. We can do better than this! Because, frankly, my own studies show that 103.739972% of Venezuelans think you’re doing a piss poor job of it.

52 thoughts on “Practical Guide for the Modern Fake Pollster

  1. Actually, that Servi Mercadeo press conference was surreal enough to make me suspect a government dirty trick. Our own guys can’t be THAT incompetent, can they?

    • Well, VTV was at the press conference. Just sayin’.

      I saw it live. Just the mega-high number of undecided told me everything about that poll. That and the person they chose as spokesman.

  2. Jajajaja….!!!! How you say in English “Mas claro no canta un gallo”? Very good for you, lousy for the fake pollsters!!!!!

  3. It’s imperative that you get your percentages right! Strata A-B together make up perhaps 3% of the population, C about 15%, and D and E in the neighborhood of 40% each. This only adds up to 98%. Remember: what’s sauce for the nit is sauce for the nit-picker. Anyhow, your comments are a real eye-opener.

    • hee hee – touché…

      This is actually a long and complicated debate, made worse by the little-appreciated fact that different pollsters actually use slightly different definitions of each stratum! (The results they get are close, but not exactly congruent.)

      In my defense, writing “in the neighborhood of 41% each” for strata D and E seemed ridiculously pedantic.

  4. No sera que…?? (Wouldn’t be…)?
    36,67 + 34 + 25,56 + 2,2 = 98,43.
    That that 21% should be in fact 1% to be exact 1,57%? (to add to 100,00%)
    Following the decrease from up to down.
    Anyways, I don’t believe this one. but could It actually be a typo or that they played with the numbers so bad, they forgot all reason. (assuming there were numbers)

    • I can’t believe I’m spending time analyzing this, but…

      The thing that jumped out at me was the weird inconsistency in the decimals. HCR gets 36.67% but Chavez gets 34.00%! How often do you see that?!

    • My guess was that the numbers for the candidates were the percentages among those who DID respond to the poll (aka, the 79% of the total) not the percentage of the total people polled, so they weren’t supposed to be added to the 21% to get to 100%.

      Still an amateur mistake not to specify what percentages go with what other percentages, but I’ve seen Datanalisis do just as bad in that regard (by putting non-comparable percentages next to each other).

      • Nah, if you watch the video, it’s pretty clear he meant the 25.5% and the 21% can be added together.

  5. A 119 percent turnout could happen. Obama’s home town, Chicago, has a large group of deceased citizens that regularly make it to the polls. Residency requirements state that they must be buried within the city limits.

    Seriously, only pollsters that have a proven track record; unbiased sampling, collection, and summarization methods; and independence from the candidates should be considered.

  6. On point 5, by the way, the strata are not necessarily wrong. Precisely because A-B are only around 3%, a larger portion of those polled should be from A-B to meet the sample size requirements. The portions would then get adjusted to match the real percentages. Similarly, with E-D being such a large percentage of the population, not such a large portion of them need be polled, only enough to meet the required statistical sample sizes.

  7. Quico,

    You went all out on Spongebob Sqarepants when in actual fact I have no ‘vela en este entierro’, so to speak. The favicon is webnode.es default icon and I expect a full apology to clear my good name.

  8. I know this is totally OT but do take a look at this

    http://alt1040.com/2012/06/todos-contamos-elecciones-mexico

    Its about how in mexico their oppo is implementing a system for monitoring irregularities during the campaign and elections by allowing the users to submit fotos, videos and reports about what they witness as part of a defiende-el-voto kind of way

    It looks interesting, they set it up in 3 days with an estimated budget of 5k USD and if someone happens to be part of or know someone from the MUD, please forward this to them

  9. Quico,

    Classic satire! It is just sad that the objects of your ridicule probably won’t understand it.

    If Chavismo needs 119% of the vote to win, they will probably have it. Besides, mathematical rigor is an invention of the Empire created to oppress and enslave the poor countries of the world.

    • haha, the 11th, todo 11…
      probably that told a lot about his condition. Interesting to see how comes the paracaidista there.

      • The announcement means that Chavez wants publicity for the event on June 11. What is his backup if he cannot make it? Will cameras be allowed to record him walking? etc.

        • Well, AVN confirm that with the tents:
          “Para este proceso de postulación, trabajadores del CNE instalaron una carpa -de 18 metros de ancho y 10 de largo- a unos pasos de la entrada del CNE, con el objeto de disponer de mejores condiciones para los actos de postulación.
          La estructura consta de una carpa principal y dos aledañas. En la central, se instalará para la comisión de postulaciones y los aspirantes que deben consignar los requisitos.
          Anteriormente las postulaciones se realizaban en el auditorio del CNE” http://www.avn.info.ve/contenido/rectores-van-este-jueves-directorio-para-definir-reglamento-electoral
          He will be coming by car or maybe helicopter? And lot of people around to cover him I would guess.

  10. Quico, this pollster is taking into account the phantom voters that exist in the REP. What he got wrong is that these phantoms are undecided. Also, since they are boliburgueses, they are A class. All in all, the guy is right.

    Orden en la pea!!

  11. Congrats Toro you made something trivial and easy to rebute a big deal… as usual…

    there you said what you wanted to say, are you happy now?

  12. Yeah, a regular Katrina in clam shell, an unworthy subject, a mere trifle. This Toro guy should tighten up and wrestle with deh big shit.

    No…. wait….

  13. Yeah, but it seems that having a consultancy with an english name doesn’t mean that you don’t belong to the fake polsters… Take a good look at your numbers, there is not so much diference between you and GIS XXI!! I ‘m sorry , no offense.

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