Oversample: ABC's weird poll on Florida's sex-ed bill

Do six in ten Americans really oppose a law prohibiting the teaching of sexual orientation and “gender identity” to elementary-age children in schools? We won’t know until we see a proper poll on the question.

After reading ABC’s methodology, this one ain’t it (via Twitchy):

More than 6 in 10 Americans oppose legislation that would prohibit classroom lessons about sexual orientation or gender identity in elementary school, a new ABC News/Ipsos poll finds.

The ABC News/Ipsos poll, which was conducted by Ipsos in partnership with ABC News using Ipsos’ KnowledgePanel, found that 62% of Americans oppose such legislation, while 37% support it.

Sounds scientific-y and everything. Who wouldn’t trust a “Knowledge Panel,” anyway? No one who read to this paragraph, emphasis mine:

Not surprisingly, respondents who identify as LGBTQ overwhelmingly oppose this type of legislation, at 87%. The ABC News/Ipsos poll oversampled people who identify as LGBTQ, with their responses then weighted to match their correct proportion in the general population. Among those who do not identify as LGBTQ, a majority (59%) also oppose the legislation.

That raises so many questions that it’s difficult to list them all. In the first place, just how did this panel manage to oversample LGBTQ respondents? That is not a demographic that typically gets oversampled in polls. Are we to believe that it’s a coincidence that ABC/Ipsos just so happened to oversample this community on a polling question that directly relates to them?

Especially given the smaller sample size for a national poll (622 adults, not registered voters), it would appear that the pollster focused on specific localities where one would normally find a greater-than-usual percentage of LGBTQ respondents. If the calls were made mostly in urban areas, and perhaps especially in urban areas known for a more robust LGBTQ culture, then it would not only explain the oversample but also the results from non-LGBTQ-identifying adult respondents.

In short, we have a too-small sample of adults rather than registered voters, with an admitted oversampling of the interested demographic without any explanation of how it happened.  ABC/Ipsos then promises that they weighted out that demo to get these results, but doesn’t give us the actual unweighted results nor their specific areas/cities polled. There’s nothing about this poll that establishes credibility except the term “Knowledge Panel,” and every indication that it’s a manipulated survey intended to produce a desired result.

When we get a reliable national survey of registered voters on this question, without oversamples of the interested demo and with the raw figures that provide accountability for the process, then perhaps we can calculate the politics of these bills. If media companies fear that so much that they’re cooking up surveys like this, the purpose is to push a narrative rather than measure it.

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Beege Welborn 9:21 PM on June 08, 2023