Visit the Gallup Presidential Approval Center to provide context for your estimate of Presidential Obama’s approval rating. Look at the tab entitled Historical Trend. How does Obama compare to the other Presidents? Write 250 words.
Instead of using just one poll, there is a movement to use multiple polls and average the results. In addition, even more complex methods have been developed that takes into account data beyond national polls. There is some reason to believe that averaging and some of the more complex methods could be more accurate than an individual poll, however, it is dependent on the quality of the polls that are used to construct the average. There is some controversy.
Read the following article by Nate Silver formerly of the New York Times. He has a website that is called 538. His methods are based on his work with baseball Sabermetrics. Ignore the datedness of the article and read it for the methodology. (He also has an excellent book that just came out called – The Signal and the Noise – if you are looking for a good read.) You may have to set up an account in the New York Times. You should be able to get this article for free.
What methods and data does he use in addition to national polls. Write a 200 word analysis summarizing his methods.
In addition, visit the website RealClearPolitics and investigate their methods. They are a poll aggregator or averager. The person who runs this website is a “conservative.”
Write a 250 word analysis summarizing their methods. You may have to dig further.
Do you think we can trust 538 since it is housed in a “liberal” newspaper like the New York Times? Why or why not? Can you trust Realclearpolitics since it is run by a “conservative?” Why or why not? Construct an argument (which was referenced at the University of Chicago website on the difference between High School and College Writing) about the trustworthiness of these two entities. (Compare and contrast.) Write a 250 word analysis. Remember – College Writing!!
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