April 20, 2006

How to Rig an Immigration Poll, Part 2

In an email, the insightful Audacious Epigone pointed out that in my recent VDARE.com assault on rigged questions about immigration, I had flat-out missed the worst survey research sin committed by the contrivers of the April 13th LA Times poll. I overlooked the LAT's biggest feat of sleight-of-hand because I concentrated too much on the biased wording of the individual proposals, rather than on the bigger picture.

The LAT offered respondents the following "three proposals" and asked whether they supported or opposed each one (in other words, the proposals were not mutually exclusive). See if you can spot how they contrived the grouping of the questions to artificially lower the amount of immigration restrictionist support.

1. "Create a guest-worker program that would give a temporary visa to noncitizens who want to legally work in the U.S."

2. "Allow undocumented immigrants who have been living and working in the U.S. for a number of years, with no criminal record, to start a path to citizenship."

3. "Fence off hundreds of miles of the border between the U.S. and Mexico and make it a felony to enter illegally."

Yet, are there really just three proposals here?

No, there are four:

1. Guest-worker program
2. Amnesty
3A. Fence
3B. Felony

The two pro-immigration proposals were made independent of each other, while the two anti-immigration proposals were linked together with the logical operator "and." The word "and" is the opposite of "or" -- you're only supposed to answer "Support" for #3 if you favor both the fence and the felony.

Thus, if you supported the guest-worker program but not the amnesty, or vice-versa, you'd still be counted by the LAT as supporting one of the first two proposals for increased immigration. But if you supported the fence but not the felony, or vice-versa, you'd be logically forced to answer "oppose" to the combined proposal.


Also, In Slate.com, Mickey Kaus comments on my original VDARE.com article on the poll here (page up once you get there).

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

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