Thursday, April 2, 2009

Bad Social Science: Exibit A

I am an online-registered Republican and Democrat (along with a few other parties: Ron Paul's Campaign for Liberty, Greens, Libertarians, Socialists and Chuck Norris), so, needless to say, I get a lot of mindless propaganda.

Now, at the heart of it they usually want money, but I was surprised in the latest mailing from my most frequent e-party, the GOP, when they wanted me to fill out a survey--and then give them some money. For the record, I have never given a cent of money to any party, but I was willing to try and give them some honest feedback. Unfortunately, their survey is a complete joke, but not entirely without its lessons: Namely, that most surveys in social science are smarter versions of this anyway, so, we should ignore or treat like the funnies page most "studies" and "findings" from our dear friends the social scientists.

Here is an edited (for space and format) version of the survey. If you want to see it for yourself, click here.

Part I. The Republican Party

1. Why did Republicans lose the White House and Congressional seats in the 2008 elections? Check all that apply.

- Iraq War
- Poor Economy
- Government's Response to Katrina
- Republican Scandals
- Republicans acted like Democrats
- President Bush's policies
- Liberal Media

2. What are the key strengths and beliefs of the Republican Party that we can build on? Check all that apply.

- Social Issues
- Family Values
- Ethics
- Free Markets
- National Security
- Fiscal Discipline
- Limited Government
- Personal Responsibility
- Pro-Life

3. What are the weaknesses of the Republican Party? Check all that apply.

- Bad Messaging
- Poor Response to Democrats
- Republicans who don't vote like Republicans
- Standing Up for Principles
- Need to Lead in Congress

4. What is the best way to encourage and register new voters in your community? Check all that apply.

- Door-to-Door visits
- Online Social Networking
- E-mail
- Personal Appearances by Republican Leaders in Your Area
- Radio Ads
- Interaction at Community Events
- Online Advertising

5. What technology would you like to see the RNC make better use of to grow our Party? Check all that apply.

- More Aggressive E-mail Campaigns
- More Aggressive Text Messages
- More Aggressive use of Twitter
- More Social Networking Sites like Facebook and MyGOP
- No Opinion

6. What can the Republican Party do to earn and maintain your trust?

Part II. Domestic and Social Issues

1. A recent national poll reported that nearly 25% of Americans want the government to pass more socialism. Do you agree or disagree?

- Agree
- Disagree
- Undecided

2. Which do you believe creates more jobs for the American economy: Government Programs and Spending or The American Free Enterprise System?

- Government Programs and Spending
- The American Free Enterprise System
- Undecided

3. The Obama Administration has proposed spending as much as $1.5 trillion to bail out the banking industry. Do you agree or disagree with this proposal?

4. Do you oppose so-called "card-check" legislation, which eliminates secret ballot elections during unionization drives and puts workers at risk of intimidation by labor bosses?

5. Should Republicans unite to block new federal government bureaucracy and red tape that will crush future economic growth?

6. Should Republicans in Congress oppose the new wasteful government spending programs passed in the recent "stimulus" bill by the Pelosi-Reid Democrats designed to "spread the wealth"?

7. Do you agree that we must secure our borders to stop illegal immigration?

8. Should we do everything we can to block Democrats who are trying to shut down conservative talk radio with the so-called "fairness doctrine"?

9. Should we resist Barack Obama's proposal to spend billions of federal taxpayer dollars to pay "volunteers" who perform his chosen tasks?

10. Should Republicans unite in opposition to judicial nominees who bring a personal, left-wing agenda on social issues to their jobs as judges?
11. Should bureaucrats in Washington, DC be in charge of making your health care choices instead of you and your doctor?

Part III. Homeland Security and Defense Issues

1. If Barack Obama tries to gut the USA PATRIOT Act and other important laws that promote the safety and security of all Americans, should Republicans in Congress fight back?

2. Should we stop Democrat leaders from cutting funding from our intelligence agencies or bringing back Clinton-era restrictions on inter-agency communications?

3. Do you support the use of air strikes against any country that offers safe harbor or aid to individuals or organizations committed to further attacks on America?

4. Should Republicans unite in support of full funding for border and port security when Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid try to make cuts in these areas?

5. Do you think U.S. troops should have to serve under United Nations' commanders?

6. Do you agree that our top military priority should be fighting terrorists?

7. Should we fight military-cutting efforts in Congress, such as the proposal from liberal Barney Frank to slash the Pentagon budget by 25%?

8. Even though Barack Obama pledged to meet personally with the likes of Raul Castro, Hugo Chavez and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, should Republicans continue to focus on supporting democratic movements in oppressive states like Cuba, Venezuela and Iran?


joshuax said...

This isn't social science! This is bad pollstering and political hackery. But not social science.

samrocha said...

Thanks for the definition. I always thought it was that too.