Mike the Mad Biologist

Push ‘Focus-Grouping’?

You might have heard of push polling. But is there now ‘push focus grouping’? Push polling is where you call up voters, and ask faux-poll questions that are actually designed to smear a particular candidate. For instance: “If Candidate X were to have had sex with farm animals, would you be more or less inclined to vote for him?” A bit over the top (not by much), but you get the idea. Other push polls are designed to push a political agenda in the same way.

Onto focus groups. In focus groups, you recruit people and ask them questions, the goal being to elicit detailed, longer answers that aren’t constrained by the telephone poll format. For example, if you conducted a focus group of twenty Mad Biologists, you would learn that most of us are willing to tolerate assholes for a couple of hours for fifty dollars and all the donuts we can eat. So, as you can see, focus groups are very useful.

There’s a new twist to the focus group: televising them. Now there’s nothing wrong with that per se. Teevee machine hosts often interview groups of people. But there’s a problem if your ‘random’ sample (or random subset of a demographic group, such as Mad Biologists) keeps having the same people showing up , particularly when it is aired on the teevee machine:

we must admit, that nowhere did luntz or any faux news personnel state that the people involved in the two focus groups were different people. after all, both debates took place in new hampshire, and it is a small state. maybe there are only 29 registered repubbblicans who want to live free or die.

but, one would think that an organ that declares itself to be “fair and balanced” would at least present a caveat or some sort of disclosure pointing out that the opinions you hear tonight are the same tired opinions you heard 4 months ago from the same guy….

however, unlike what the video purports, let us be clear: both debates, and both focus groups, were held in the same state, new hampshire. also, there is no evidence (at least none we’ve seen) that the bald guy in question is a paid actor.

now, that doesn’t mean the bald guy isn’t a weasel, helping luntz spread the pro-gop establishment meme. but all things being equal, we have no proof that the guy is anything more than a gop operative (actually, “actor” would be about 5 rungs higher on the evolutionary scale than “gop operative”).

This isn’t a focus group, it’s propaganda.