Thursday, May 14, 2009

Survey Pulls Out Fishy Results

What Do Americans Want? Legal Pot, White House Online Survey Reports | 44 |

Strange news this one, first time it I hear of it.

Apparently there was some survey, that seems to bear the Obama or White House official stamp, to determine what are the political priorities for the administration to address.

You ought to ponder about the result of such survey, that basically comes up with the top priority being Online Poker!

That the survey led to "results that clearly do not align with recent scientific polling", as the above-referred to Washington Post article puts it, is clear.

Another source draws attention to "the names on the comments. It seems like many of them are the same. One blogger at War is My Concern got 10 mentions in the Citizens Briefing Book. It seems that some citizens are more equal than others …" - pointing to a possible manipulation of the result by groups like Anonymous who in the past managed to manipulate Google results through loads of votes coming from seemingly different persons whereas they only came from a small minority of technical savvy people with a petty and biased agenda. For example, see here, here, and here.

No doubt this piece of news is going to make headlines among critics who are going to pound on it relentlessly, using its semblance of Obama-esque legitimacy to further their cause.

Clearly, though, online poker and Scientology tax ones are in no way comparable to legitimate issues such as the Bush administration tactics in the "war on terror" and other deadly serious issues. So, I'll say something does not sound quite right with that survey.

Link to the "Citizen Briefing" from the White House web site:

More info:

National Journal Online -- Under The Influence -- Poker Players Alliance Shows A Winning Hand: " received more than 44,000 ideas and people cast more than 1.4 million votes on them. Policy ideas received 10 points for each positive vote and were ranked accordingly. "


Here are the Top Ten issues overall:

  • Ending Marijuana Prohibition - 92,970 points
  • Commit to Becoming the "Greenest" Country in the World - 70,470
  • Stop Using Federal Resources to Undermine States' Medicinal Marijuana Laws - 66,170
  • End the Government Sponsored Abstinence Education to be Replaced by an Introduction of Age Appropriate Sex Education - 65,350
  • Bullet Trains & Light Rail - 65,100
  • Permanent Closure of all Torture Facilities - 61,250
  • Revoke the George W. Bush Tax Cuts for the Top 1 percent - 57,080
  • Get Insurance Companies Out of Health Care - 55,080
  • Revoke the Tax Exempt Status of the Church of Scientology - 52,470
  • Bring Back the Constitution - 50,160
Note: boosting America's economy with legal online poker rung in with nearly 47,000 points, so is not part of the top ten. However, this is the issue that has been picked up for headlines by virtually all the newspapers reporting on the briefing, which is why it gets to be named the top priority.

Note2: If each each vote counted as 10 points, does this mean that 5,247 only voted for the CoS Tax idea? Divided by 1.4 million votes, that would represent 0.4%. These results continue to be puzzling and not making much sense.

Note3: Why are the newspapers picking up the Poker issue when it does not even make it to the top ten? In fact, it appears that the Marijuana issue is the clear winner. Not only does it come to number one, but it reasonably could be cumulated with the nbr 3 spot, and in total would make for 159,140, leaving the nbr 2 spot far far behind...