How Valid Is Gallup Poll On Pro-life Sentiment?

This entry was posted by Sunday, 17 May, 2009
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Just as the country seems to be sliding away from conservative political ideas, according to a new Gallup Poll, 51% are now “pro-life”. Could that be? Why now?
These are questions which Science Ain’t So Bad leaves to other, more political, blogs.  But a poll is a particular type of scientific study. And, like scientists everywhere, pollsters do what they can to adjust for confounding variables. They want their work to be right. Nobody’s looking for embarrassment.
One objection often raised to telephone-based surveys: as mobile phones proliferate, the way that phone numbers are compiled concentrates polling into those homes that still have landline phones.  Does this skew the results? Maybe. Maybe not. on this very issue.
As I have said before, science is a PROCESS.  Do the study. Report the results. Let others validate the work or show it to be wrong. A single study – especially a small one (1015 households in the survey) – is only a PART of the process.
Gallup’s conclusions may be right. If so, it’s fascinating. But other pollsters are, no doubt,  looking at the same question right now.
Stay tuned.

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