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We find no difference in the average accuracy of IVR and traditional human polls, but IVR polls conducted prior to human polls do significantly worse than traditional human polls even after controlling for characteristics of the states, polls, and electoral environment. These findings provide suggestive evidence that pollsters may take cues from one another given the stakes involved. If so, reported polls should not be assumed to be independent of one another and so-­‐called “poll-­‐of-­‐polls” will therefore be misleadingly precise.
Robo-polls: Taking Cues from Traditional Sources?

Remember a certain GOS suing Research 2000 for adjusting the poll results to match "expectations"? And winning?

IVR means "Interactive Voice Recognition", a.k.a. "Computer calls not human calls". Based on this Vanderbilt University study, the whole IVR industry is doing something akin to that. More below the Orange Squiggle of Power.

The study looked at states where there were only IVR polls, and then at states where there were both IVR and human polls. In both types of states, poll results tended to converge on the actual results as the election date drew near. This is to be expected. But ...

In states with no human polls to use as benchmarks, the IVR polls did much worse on the average. In other words, IVR pollsters must be improving their results using the human poll results; they adjust what is reported to match the better polls.

For Nate Silver, this poses an interesting mathematical problem, not easily resolved unless you know exactly how much lying the various IVR firms are doing.

For the people who paid for these IVR polls, you may wish to contact Markos about the name of his lawyer.

IIRC, the justifiably infamous Rassmussen uses IVR techniques. And therefore the "Rasmussen is way out there and then starts reporting results similar to everyone else" effect may very well represent Rassmussen adjusting their adjustment to bring themselves inline with everyone else.

Looking at the TPM poll tracker for likely voters, using automatic and telephone polls gives Obama 48.7, Romney 44.3. Removing the automatic polls gives EXACTLY the same results.

Sometimes a difference which makes no difference suggests a difference.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I've read... (9+ / 0-)

    As far as Rasmussen is concerned - it's not just the IVR calling - it's the method of calling.  Rasmussen does his polling in 4 hours or less.  As soon as the number of satisfactory responses is counted, the poll is over.  The program does NOT call back if there is no answer, it just moves on to the next number.  This means that the called parties that are MOST likely to pick up the call are people who do not have call ID and are conditioned to pick up the phone no matter what.  That skews dramatically towards older 'FOX NEWS' watching voters.

    Why is Mitt Rmoney so happy that an American embassy was attacked? Why does he hate America?

    by RichM on Wed Sep 26, 2012 at 10:21:43 AM PDT

  •  Hmm, I Received a Number of Robo Polls Here In (5+ / 0-)

    Ohio this season, 1 definitely from a firm I verified that advertises information services to conservatives.

    All but one of the polls I got were ramrod straight. They only asked for candidate preference and enthusiasm for POTUS and Senate, plus an assortment of demographic background checks. No adjectives, no leading hypotheticals and really no opinion material at all.

    At least in our area, pollsters so far have seemed very intent on finding out exactly what we're thinking, even the robo pollsters.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed Sep 26, 2012 at 10:22:58 AM PDT

    •  But there are methodological objections (6+ / 0-)

      to IVR polling (see link; see Nate). Human call polls are regarded as superior; and, in fact, in states where there are no human call polls, IVR results become less accurate.

      Since a robo call poll can't become more accurate because some other poll took place, the high likelihood is that robo poll firms are looking at the human polls and adjusting their results to match.

      That's fraud.

      Romney economics: Feed our seed corn to the fattest pigs and trust them to poop out jobs.

      by blue aardvark on Wed Sep 26, 2012 at 10:26:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  With IVR polling you lack the human assessment (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blue aardvark

        of the call recipient.  So whomever or whatever answers the phone can answer as if an eligible voter, human of any age or lacking eligibility, dog, cat, or perhaps whatever IVR response system I might be prototyping at home...a political Elisa maybe.

        Interesting that the IVR polls in OH seemed to be focused using best practice surveying.  Someone very concerned about the RNC's future and internal polls must be funding a survey to get a sound basis reading...maybe a wealthy group deciding whether or not to keep funding the R/R railroad or cut losses before the train wreck.

        I think a fair percentage of people realize these IVR polls are often designed to 'push' by encouraging an answer 'pattern' to the question, and link 'better' sounding answers to pressing '1' versus '2', and start off with reasonable sounding questions and answer options but switch to increasingly leading questions and slanted answers to try to shake people's beliefs.  I tend to believe a fair percentage of people realize these are manipulative and may answer them wrong just to 'mess' with the polling results.  Or am I the only one who likes to do that? :)

        Today I've gotten multiple RNC sourced robo-calls urging me to get absentee vote application and vote early (I reside in a red/purple suburb ringing a blue WI city).  The 'Private Name/Private Number' calls retry if you don't listen to the full message.  There is no reason political calling should be allowed to legally mask their origination source in the Caller ID, but I guess the RNC really needs that.  My guess is RNC is becoming desperate to harvest whatever votes they can get this week before support melts away further for Romney/Ryan and especially to sustain enthusiasm for down-ticket RNC candidates.  Clearly, they're not really waiting for the debates and already fear there'll be no 'bump' for R/R.  Next stage of desperation will likely be the fraudulant Robo-calls purporting to be from a democratic party source but be very irritating in tone and content to repress D voters.

        When life gives you wingnuts, make wingnut butter!

        by antirove on Wed Sep 26, 2012 at 11:08:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  So PPP uses robo calling, that's your point? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blue aardvark, tle

    And therefore they may be guilty of indexing their methodology (or results??) to approach the more accurate manual call outfits they poll along side of?  

    Help me out here.  Have their results been as divergent as the aggregate robo callers in the study, between their IVR-only and IVR/human poll states?  

    Also you state:

    In both types of states, poll results tended to converge on the actual results as the election date drew near. This is to be expected.
    Are you saying both sets of polls get closer to the election results as voting approaches - to the same degree?   And whatever you mean by that, why is that "to be expected?"

    "Well, yeah, the Constitution is worth it if you succeed." - Nancy Pelosi // Question: "succeed" at what?

    by nailbender on Wed Sep 26, 2012 at 10:41:14 AM PDT

  •  Rasmussen...PPP....SurveyUSA are all robocalling (4+ / 0-)

    Others are Fox, Gravis Marketing, Purple Strategies, Magellan, We Ask America.

    Some of those are good, some of them are lousy Some are a complete joke.

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