Skip to main content

The Perils of Polling

in_polls Rasmussen and Zogby both have polls out that aim to figure out how Americans feel about the climate change legislation travelling through Congress.

If Rasmussen happened to call you, you were in a bad mood:

In late June, Rasmussen Reports surveyed 1000 adults. The poll showed that only 12% of respondents were strongly in favor, while 25% were strongly opposed. And 42% said that the measure would hurt the economy, while only 19% said it would help.

And you were much happier when Zogby caught up with you:

Now comes a competing poll from Zogby, which presents a far different picture. In this poll, a stunning 45% of the 1005 respondents were strongly in favor of the climate bill. Only 19% strongly opposed it.

What does this mean? Well, Business Week’s John Carey thinks that Zogby put the most positive spin possible on their questions while Rasmussen aimed at “objectivity” – good luck on that one! Carey concludes that “the public really doesn’t yet know what to think.”

Well, maybe. But we like the idea that Scott Rasmussen offers – that he was aiming to create a baseline for future polls. That works for both Zogby and Rasmussen. The trick is to see where the numbers go in future polls – especially as people start paying attention after the health care kerfluffle clears out and climate change comes back to the fore.

For ourselves, and only for right now, we’d lend more weight to Zogby because 45 in favor, 19 against (and presumably 36 undecided) seems a more plausible starting point for legislation not quite in the public eye but one about which strong advocates – and the House – have weighed in fairly positively.

A few more polls on the topic (from Gallup and Pew but really anyone) wouldn’t hurt, either.

We expect the polls will get really interesting when the Senate starts fighting over the bill in the Fall. Until then, let’s just say the numbers are all over the map.

Do you favor puppies or kittens? Why, yes, yes I do.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

A Billion Miles Under Nuclear Energy (Updated)

And the winner is…Cassini-Huygens, in triple overtime.

The spaceship conceived in 1982 and launched fifteen years later, will crash into Saturn on September 15, after a mission of 19 years and 355 days, powered by the audacity and technical prowess of scientists and engineers from 17 different countries, and 72 pounds of plutonium.

The mission was so successful that it was extended three times; it was intended to last only until 2008.

Since April, the ship has been continuing to orbit Saturn, swinging through the 1,500-mile gap between the planet and its rings, an area not previously explored. This is a good maneuver for a spaceship nearing the end of its mission, since colliding with a rock could end things early.

Cassini will dive a little deeper and plunge toward Saturn’s surface, where it will transmit data until it burns up in the planet’s atmosphere. The radio signal will arrive here early Friday morning, Eastern time. A NASA video explains.

In the years since Cassini has launc…

Missing the Point about Pennsylvania’s Nuclear Plants

A group that includes oil and gas companies in Pennsylvania released a study on Monday that argues that twenty years ago, planners underestimated the value of nuclear plants in the electricity market. According to the group, that means the state should now let the plants close.

Huh?

The question confronting the state now isn’t what the companies that owned the reactors at the time of de-regulation got or didn’t get. It’s not a question of whether they were profitable in the '80s, '90s and '00s. It’s about now. Business works by looking at the present and making projections about the future.

Is losing the nuclear plants what’s best for the state going forward?

Pennsylvania needs clean air. It needs jobs. And it needs protection against over-reliance on a single fuel source.


What the reactors need is recognition of all the value they provide. The electricity market is depressed, and if electricity is treated as a simple commodity, with no regard for its benefit to clean air o…

Why Nuclear Plant Closures Are a Crisis for Small Town USA

Nuclear plants occupy an unusual spot in the towns where they operate: integral but so much in the background that they may seem almost invisible. But when they close, it can be like the earth shifting underfoot.

Lohud.com, the Gannett newspaper that covers the Lower Hudson Valley in New York, took a look around at the experience of towns where reactors have closed, because the Indian Point reactors in Buchanan are scheduled to be shut down under an agreement with Gov. Mario Cuomo.


From sea to shining sea, it was dismal. It wasn’t just the plant employees who were hurt. The losses of hundreds of jobs, tens of millions of dollars in payrolls and millions in property taxes depressed whole towns and surrounding areas. For example:

Vernon, Vermont, home to Vermont Yankee for more than 40 years, had to cut its municipal budget in half. The town closed its police department and let the county take over; the youth sports teams lost their volunteer coaches, and Vernon Elementary School lost th…