Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Cruz tries Canadian Political Tradition: Shoveling Manure

Political Crap seems to be Cruz' Canadian birthright
Canada native Ted Cruz seems to be incorporating some old traditions of the late Canadian PM Pierre Trudeau:  when things aren't going your way, cook up numbers that work for you.

Ted Cruz's supporters were crowing yesterday about a poll purporting to show first-time candidate Cruz in a dead heat with well-known Lt. Governor David Dewhurst. It didn't pass the smell test with me so I did some digging. The "poll" was conducted by an outfit calling itself Azimuth Research Group -- an organization unknown in Texas politics to the best of my knowledge. I checked out the Azimuth website but didn't learn a lot more -- there are no names of the firm's principals, no prior clients, no evidence of any kind of track record. The website did boast a statement that "All of our public polls are conducted as much as possible in accordance with the standards and practices of the American Association for Public Opinion Researchers."

As much as possible?

Why wouldn't a reputable polling firm follow acceptable scientific research standards every time? (Read it for yourself here: http://www.fontcraft.com/azimuth/?page_id=2)  That statement was probably supposed to inspire confidence, but it raised more questions and so I dug a little deeper and discovered that Azimuth's principal is an Austin libertarian activist named Dave Nalle. The only previous Nalle/Azimuth poll mentioned anywhere the internet was a presidential poll in the summer purporting to show Ron Paul preferred by more Texans than Rick Perry. That poll came under criticism because Nalle didn't follow the traditional scientific principles of random sampling, designed to ensure a result that mirrors the electorate at large. Instead, Nalle apparently used the peculiar method of send email surveys to Republican activists involved in a select group of Republican clubs -- a method that would be dismissed with laughter by any legitimate pollster. 

These polls numbers are just like this guy: p-yew!
Even Nalle himself admitted that his methodology can produce a pronounced regional bias. (check it out here: http://www.nolanchart.com/article8814-azimuth-admits-regional-variations-in-response-rate-may-have-influenced-poll.html).  Several other Texas blogs -- and a few MSM reporters -- have swallowed Nalle's unreliable data whole. But we know our readers expect more than spoon-feeding.

When you look behind these numbers, you see fiction far more than fact. Ted Cruz -- and Tom Leppert for that matter -- may turn out to be real challengers to Dewhurst in this Senate race. But all reliable evidence that exists today indicates that this race is far from close today. It's no wonder Cruz's people touted this phony poll -- they don't have a scientific survey to use in its place.

And just like fellow his Canadian, poor old Pierre Trudeau (you know, like when his economic policies were crashing or he couldn't keep his wife from bar hopping), Canada Cruz is gonna find that cooking the numbers leads to a quiet life NOT in public office.

Remember Rafael, cooked poll numbers are NOT like manure - they do no good when you spread them around.