Tuesday, August 28, 2007

U.S. Americans

There is another angle to the existential answer given by Miss Teen South Carolina the other night.
The question she was answering regarded a "recent poll" showing that "a fifth of Americans can't locate the U.S. on a world map"
Who conducted this study?
Was it a focus group, door to door study, or done over the telephone?
Or, perhaps it was an 800 number on the back of a fast food receipt.
How were the questions worded?
How was the respondent sample chosen?
We are constantly told how stupid we are. Of course, people do accept these studies without question, so maybe some of us are.
I find it difficult to believe that 20% of The United States cannot find our country on a map. As a former interviewer for a market research firm, I know the gimmicks that can be played with survey design. I also know that you can lie with numbers.
Maybe Miss Teen South Carolina gave the correct answer.
Next time they can ask a pint instead of a fifth.


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