Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Adventures In Method Journalism: Letting Drunks Design A Reader Poll On Liquor Board

Publications' (and politicians') attempts to gauge and rely on public opinion with respect to most issues are mostly dopey -- the collection and reporting methods are generally slanted, and the value of the average American's opinion on nuclear nonproliferation treaty details seems slight -- but a vote-for-one-and-one-only reader poll from today's Post-Gazette establishes an impressive high in low-quality polling:
What is your perception of the state Liquor Control Board?

A.It serves the public's good by limiting its access to wine and spirits
B.It's an effective generator of state taxes and revenue.
C.It's outdated and is no longer useful or relevant.
D.I don't understand why it is needed.
Most persons -- and in particular those with even a meager understanding of the relevant issues -- would find it difficult to respond sensibly by selecting a single letter. The most likely explanation for this circumstance is that the poll's designer could not identify, let alone explain, the relevant issues at gunpoint. It would be impossible for this poll to generate useful data.

Cue Tom Corbett, the Post-Gazette and others relying on this poll to advance their muddled "positions" on the Liquor Control Board.

Infinonytune: What's Made Milwaukee Famous Has Made A Loser Out Of Me, Jerry Lee Lewis


MH said...

Choice 'A' contradicts itself unless you have a strangely narrow definition of "public."

I don't think Corbett is lacking real polling data on this issue. But, the poll is more muddled in favor of keeping the state stores. Having a state liquor control board and having a state liquor control board that sells liquor are two very different things.

If they want to keep the state stores, that's fine as long as I can buy wine in the grocery store. And beer without a huge mark-up in the grocery store. The state can still tax this stuff, just like everywhere else.

Maybe we should legalize pot to give everybody who worries about this kind of thing something new to do with their lives.

MH said...

Also, Ke$ha is coming to Oakland on a Sunday. Do you want to have to tell her she needs to go all the way to East Liberty just to get what she needs to brush her teeth?