POLLSTERS AGREE, MAYOR'S RACE IS CLOSE : INTERPRETING RESULTS CAN BE TRICKY, AS LATEST SURVEY SHOWS Series: POST-DISPATCH POLL ST. LOUIS THE RACE FOR THE MAYOR OF ST. LOUIS Second of Three in A Series

By Jo Mannies And Harry Levins Of The Post-Dispatch Tim O'Neil Of The Post-Dispatch Contributed Information For This Story. | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), February 4, 1997 | Go to article overview

POLLSTERS AGREE, MAYOR'S RACE IS CLOSE : INTERPRETING RESULTS CAN BE TRICKY, AS LATEST SURVEY SHOWS Series: POST-DISPATCH POLL ST. LOUIS THE RACE FOR THE MAYOR OF ST. LOUIS Second of Three in A Series


Jo Mannies And Harry Levins Of The Post-Dispatch Tim O'Neil Of The Post-Dispatch Contributed Information For This Story., St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


Pollsters and politicians agree on one thing in the contest between Mayor Freeman Bosley Jr. and former Police Chief Clarence Harmon:

It's a close race.

How close depends on who's interpreting the polls. Take, for example, the Post-Dispatch's latest poll, published Monday. Terry Tomazic, professor of research methodology at St. Louis University, said, "If I looked at the numbers from this poll, I'd probably say that Harmon is leading at this point by a small margin - a very small margin." Esther Thorson, who supervised the poll, said Monday that she interpreted the Harmon-Bosley results a tad differently: "They are neck and neck," she said. Thorson is director of the Center for Advanced Social Research of the School of Journalism, University of Missouri at Columbia. The center conducted its poll of 412 city residents Jan. 23-31. Monday's story said "former Police Chief Clarence Harmon holds a lead of more than 5 percentage points over Mayor Freeman Bosley Jr." Maybe. Maybe not. The story failed to make clear that the poll's margin of error of 5 percentage points made many head-to-head scenarios possible, including: Harmon leading by as much as 16 percentage points. Bosley and Harmon tied. Bosley leading by as much as 4 percentage points. Such is the uncertain world of polls, particularly so-called "horse race" polls that pit candidates against each other. Post-Dispatch Editor Cole C. Campbell said, "I think the paper's presentation was accurate and misleading at the same time." Tomazic says that although the Post-Dispatch's poll was accurate in its math, the paper's words may have overstated the poll's numbers. The headline over the story read, "Harmon Ahead of Bosley." As an expert in polls, would Tomazic have used those words? "Not quite," he said. "I might have said, `Harmon Leads Bosley.' To me, `Ahead' connotes that he's winning - as opposed to leading at this point." Complicating everything is the big slab of undecided voters - 15 percent. "That's a large bloc," Tomazic said. "Even part of that bloc is enough to sway the election - especially when you figure in the 6 percent who declined to answer." Thorson agreed. But she emphasized that she stood by the poll's general findings, as reported, particularly those indicating that the candidates' supporters are split along racial lines. Of those polled, Monday's story said, "about seven of every 10 whites favored Harmon while about seven of every 10 blacks supported Bosley. Just one of every 10 whites planned to vote for Bosley, while about one in 10 blacks preferred Harmon." "That's statistically significant," Thorson said. "The very least you can say is that blacks support Bosley much more than whites support Bosley, and vice versa for Harmon." A poll's margin of error depends largely on the sample size: the more people polled, the smaller the margin of error. A margin of error of 5 percentage points requires a polling sample of at least 400 people. The margin of error is slightly higher in the portions of the Post-Dispatch poll that examine how white and black poll participants view the contest. The margin of error is 7 percentage points for each group, Thorson said. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

POLLSTERS AGREE, MAYOR'S RACE IS CLOSE : INTERPRETING RESULTS CAN BE TRICKY, AS LATEST SURVEY SHOWS Series: POST-DISPATCH POLL ST. LOUIS THE RACE FOR THE MAYOR OF ST. LOUIS Second of Three in A Series
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.